GOD IS LOVE: GOD IS HOLY

BY:  JOHN R. GAVAZZONI

JUNE 14, 2015

 

Because God is love, He is holy, and conversely, because God is Holy, He is love. Much that misrepresents the nature of God would be cleared up if folks would understand that simple truth. Twice, John in his first epistle, affirms with the exact same words, "God is love." And within the context of the law, that context, hiding its essential meaning, the Lord said to Israel, "Ye shall be holy unto me, for I, the Lord, am holy." What God IS will ultimately determine the quality of being that WILL BE enjoyed by all creation. Hidden within the apparent moral requirement of the law ("apparent" being the operative word) is a divine promise, prophecy, and statement of destiny, all rolled into one. We SHALL be holy, FOR He, the Lord, is holy.

 

It is God's love that makes Him holy. The essence of holiness is love. Being love means that God is holy. Sadly, the word "holy," especially when used in reference to God, conjures up in many folks' mind, at the worst, a relational posture of unbending moral demand, a revulsion toward anyone failing to live up to His "holy" standard, and a vindictively compulsive need to exact retaliatory vengeance upon those who have offended His "holiness." Not understanding that the anger of God, since God IS love, is His love passionately aroused, their first thought at being confronted by their sinfulness, is that God is angry with them in the sense of how anger applies to fallen humanity.

 

At best, there are those with a somewhat less defiled conscience, whose feeling at the thought that God is holy, is simply that He's just not comfortable being around them. In other words, God is seen to be very much unlike Jesus, His Son, who always gravitated toward sinners, exhibiting a comforting friendliness in their presence. Interesting, eh? ...since Jesus is the exact image of the invisible God! With a mix of confused thoughts and feelings, and trying to sort out what it means that God loves us but is also disgusted with us, it is not at all surprising that we all, apart from being brought to really know through His Son what God is really like, are not inclined to be seekers after God.

 

>From the Greek word, translated as "holy," we also get "saint," and "sanctified," including their various forms. And interestingly, in the New Testament, these words are used to describe people, more often than God, describing most often how God knows and reckons us in Christ. The "saints" are "holy ones" and enjoy an essential ontological barrier of separateness from all that is not of love. The underlying thought is that of separation, of being set-apart. God has separated us in Christ; set us apart from "the world, the flesh, and the devil." With Christ, as our life, sharing His nature, our New Man is not existentially ISOLATED from all that is unloving, but it is INSULATED. That's the sense of our sanctification, our separateness. This applies also to God. 

 

In what sense is God holy? Does He, in His holiness, stand aloof from us sinners, holding us at arm's length lest He be defiled by our very presence? No. He, as the Source of all holiness, by nature is uncorrupted and incorruptible by anything sinful, i.e., unloving. His love, being the very essence of His holiness, is such that His divine impulse is to be with us (think the incarnation), deeply moved by our need to be healed of our unlovingness, while, though, for a time, so identified with us, that He became sin for us, the quality of His separateness from the unlovingness of sin, remains eternally inviolable.    

 

How is it that much conventional Christian theology has set God's holiness against His love, rather than seeing that they are one in the same? How is it that we have come to believe that God had an anger-management problem that only the blood of Christ could resolve? How could we have missed the fact that it’s we who have a problem with anger. In the depths of the collective unconscious of mankind, is a seething anger against God, due to the blindness and ignorance of our hearts. It's we who needed a confrontation with perfect love that refused to retaliate in kind in the face of us crucifying Him, so that by that confrontation, in Christ, we were reconciled to God. He broke our angry hearts, and then healed them by His holiness. Yes, He healed our hearts by His holiness.

 

GOD IS LOVE; GOD IS HOLY [John R. Gavazzoni] 06-14-15          1

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