In R.C Sproul’s book The Holiness of God, God’s Holiness is described in detail. We learn of holy fear, holy love, and holy anger, all attributes that are found either within him or us, as creatures made in his image. However, holiness is not something that can be literally defined. While the Greek word for holy can be translated to “set apart”, even this does not describe the word effectively. Holiness is a term that can’t be described nor fully understood, comparable to eternity- we partially understand it, and know enough to define it, but we can’t really wrap our minds around its concept. The reason for this is found within the Fall; when Adam sinned, he created within us Original Sin, a doctrinal belief that all children are born with sin. This doctrine is one of the few that is rarely contested by Bible scholars or evolutionists alike. Original Sin creates within us a fully natural sinful state. We, as humans, do not know what it means to not sin, since we can’t imagine a world without sin. Sin’s evil has so fully penetrated us and, through us, the world, it has become a part of humanity.
Because of this, we can’t imagine what holiness truly means. It’s something foreign, alien, a term that, while tangible, can neither be described nor touched. The holiness of God is like a gulf separating Him and man. He is perfect, untouchable, and in this perfection, we see his true holiness. This holiness is so true, so real, that without the sacrifice of Jesus, He would not allow us into his presence.
To describe this imagery (and pardon the disgusting comparison): if your dog came into your house and laid a massive pile of stinking poop on your bed (or pillow), what would you do? Well, you’d punish the dog, to start. Then you’d get that poop into a bag and throw it as far away from you as is possible. While this comparison is a disgusting analogy to the holy Wrath of God, it still rings true. God, in a similar way, removes all sin from his presence and punishes its creator. However, as Christians we know that Jesus took the full wrath of God, thus allowing us into his presence without punishment. This is the true burden that Jesus bore- His Father’s wrath for unrighteousness in the presence of a Holy God.
Now that we understand the holiness of God and His divine wrath, we can delve into His attributes. God’s name is the most important piece to this puzzle. His name is not just a name, it’s also a description of His character. For example, when some versions of the Bible call God “Elohim”, they mean “creator”. This name describes His power and majesty as creator of the earth- a description. However, in some areas, He is the name he is called. Because God is love, we could call him simply that- love. God is the literal manifestation of love. He defines, inhabits, and makes up all true, real love. This also applies to the word “holy”. God is the full manifestation of holiness, and thus God is Holy. Holy is God, God is Holy. Holy is more than a name for God, it is God.
Jesus, also translated as “jeshua”, translates to “God is savior”, or something similar depending on the Biblical text. This name fully describes God’s power and love as savior. This encompasses all his love, power, and authority in exercising eternal grace and choosing to save some here on Earth. Not only is God holy, but His names are holy, for they describe His holiness and attributes therein.
Before we conclude, we must have an accurate understanding of humanity. To refer to the dog feces analogy- humanity is not the dog, we are the poop. We are literally the most disgusting, horrible things in the universe, and if it weren’t for God’s plan of redemption through Christ Jesus, He would have destroyed us the instant sin was born into man. Now, when we look at Isaiah, we see that he, when confronted with the presence of God, reacts in a surprising way. He sees holiness and he is confronted with it. One would think that the first thing he would do is attempt to commit suicide or leave God’s presence. Instead, he cries, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips” (English Standard Version, Isaiah 6.5). The first thing he cries out about is his lips. Why? The answer is found in the New Testament, which says, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life and set on fire by hell” (James 3.6). Truly, the tongue is humanity’s greatest weapon, capable of razing cities and rebuilding them again in a day. Even today, in the world of social media, we are only beginning to realize the true power of the tongue.
The tongue is as corrupted as humanity. As an outflow of humanity’s sin, it could be (again, I apologize for the comparison but this is a serious subject) compared to a dog’s rear end, the source of foul objects. It literally is the propulsion and creation of more than 75% of all hurt and grief. This is the real reason that Isaiah comments on his tongue- it is the first thing he is confronted with. Because of this, when we use the tongue, an evil, dirty, disgusting channel, to speak badly of the name of God, something so holy, so perfect, and so amazing that even the Jews dared not speak it nor write it, we not only spit in the face of God but we defecate on his holiness and risk bringing down His wrath upon us. While curse words are still bad, nothing is worse than using the name of God as a way of emphasizing a point.
When we use the tongue, an evil, dirty, disgusting channel, to speak badly of the name of God, something so holy, so perfect, and so amazing that even the Jews dared not speak it nor write it, we not only spit in the face of God but we defecate on his holiness and risk bringing down His wrath upon usTweet
When I first began studying this subject, I had no opinion on using the name of God as a curse word. Then, after reading only a few chapters of Sproul’s book, I truly realized what it meant to take the name of the Lord in vain. Terrified, I swore to never do this again. Now, looking back, I realize that while the terror was valid, it was unnecessary. The only people that should fear God are those that misuse His name on a regular basis. If that is you, I hope you will change your mind after reading this.
Alright, that’s all for today. Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, make sure to click that Follow button below (or to the side), so as to not miss out on more posts like this. Thanks again, and I hope you have a fantastic day.
Note: This post was requested by Claire VanTol. Thanks, Claire!
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