Hágios – different (unlike), other (“otherness“)
Holiness is something we attribute to God. It carries the idea of reverence, perfection, divine.
He is different, unlike anything else in the universe. Trillions of stars, planets, molecules, atoms, cells, living creatures but there is only one God. It is, in my opinion, the greatest evidence of His loving nature. Paintings and popular culture would show a holy god as someone who would look down on all those beneath him, condemnation exuding from his icy stare. But the reality is not the same.
His holiness can’t be assuaged, it can not be circumvented. You can not call Him God without an understanding of His complete holiness. But to see Him as something other than perfect love, misses the depth of His holiness. Man’s idea, my own ideas, of perfection carry feelings of hatred, of disgust, of alienation and abandonment. But these realities, the reality of Hell, was not birthed from God’s holiness but from rebellion, our rejection of Him as God. Condemnation is a creation of our sin, and the pride that says, “I will set myself up as God.”
True holiness is coupled with the idea that we are not something “other”, not “different.” We are created in His image but not Him. Therefore, that holiness is complete only in capturing, training, redeeming what is unholy.
Maybe you are thinking that I’ve lost my mind or that this is some intellectual discussion that doesn’t matter to everyday life.
God called us to “be holy as I am holy. Be “other” just like Me.” And we scoff at this knowing full well that we can never be perfect. We can’t get it right so why even try. But I think we miss life, miss His love, miss His joy by adopting that attitude.
In my prayers today, I want to take the attitude that I CAN enter in to His holiness. I can find His “otherness” by entering into His presence. I can be like Him as I give myself to Him. I can experience life by laying my life down on His cross.