“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” Revelation 4:8.
The first step that anyone takes in walking in newness of life is the step of learning how to think about God in a right way. To think about God in a right way, we must first understand that God is holy. In saying that God is holy, we mean that God is “set-apart”, “distinct”, “different”, and “other” in every way (http://biblehub.com/greek/40.htm). God is distinct, different, and other, from everything and everyone else that now exists, that ever has existed, or that ever will exist. In other words, God is set apart unto Himself; He is in a class of His own. For example, God is set apart unto Himself in that He is self-existent. This means that God exists and sustains His existence by His own power. God is truly the only Autonomous Being who has ever or will ever exist. Contrary to the thinking of many people, God did not evolve, appear, develop, or find His birthplace in the heart’s imagination of man. Neither is God a force, or a vague mystical power. He is the Eternal Spirit who never had a beginning and whom will never end (Job 26:36; Isaiah 46:10; John 4:24). God is a real Personal Being that has always and will always self-exist.
God is also holy in that He has a divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Saying that God has a divine nature means that the essence of who God is, the features and the qualities that make God who He is, are divine and beyond human understanding (Isaiah 40:28; Romans 11:33). For, God thinks divine thoughts; He thinks in a way that only God thinks (Isaiah 55:8; Romans 11:33-36). God feels divine feelings; God feels in a way that only God feels (Genesis 6:6; Mark 3:5). And, God wills (determines, intends) divine plans; God wills and purposes in a way that only God can choose and plan (Ephesians 1:5-9, 3:1-11). In all of this, God thinks, feels, and wills with perfect understanding, perfect knowledge, and absolute purity. Every trait of God is both perfect and unchanging in its perfection. For, God is God and no-one else is God. God alone is perfectly holy in His divine nature; therefore, God is the only being who is set apart from all others in every way. That is why, God says about Himself, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me…” (Isaiah 46:8-11).
When we say that God is holy we also mean that God is perfectly morally pure, sinless, upright, and containing nothing exceptionable (http:// biblehub.com/greek/40.htm). Therefore, God has never sinned in thought, word, or deed. God never does anything wrong, nor is He ever the author of any evil temptation. The Bible says, “…God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone…” (James 1:13b). God is morally perfect- He always has been, and He always will be. He is clean, pure, sinless, upright, righteous, good, kind, long-suffering, patient, merciful, full of grace, compassionate, peaceful, sincere, truthful, and in every other way possible way: God is morally perfect. For, God is never dishonest. He never lies, cheats, or sneaks. He is never unfaithful, never un-wise, never unwilling or incapable of doing what is right. And, since God is unchanging; He will never not be perfectly morally upright. That is why the Bible says, “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is He.” And, in another place the Word says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Deuteronomy 32:4; Hebrews 13:8).
One of the main ways that God is set-apart unto Himself (holy) is that God alone is sovereign. To be sovereign is to be unrestricted in power and absolute domination, confessing no limitations or restraints (http://biblehub.com/ greek/1203.htm). In layman’s terms this means that God is in control, totally and completely in control of everything, everywhere, all the time. As the Bible says, “…He does according to his will among the hosts of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:35). Unlike all created entities (angels, humans, animals, everything but God), God is not dependent upon any outside source for anything at all. God never has to ask permission. God never needs help, aid, council, approval, or affirmation: He does what He wants to do, when He wants to do it, how He wants to do it, and He does it despite how people may feel about it. Only God is sovereign; because only God has absolute and unrestricted, unlimited power and domination. For this reason, King David prayed, “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all” (1 Chronicles 29:11).
Since God is holy in every way possible; God is glorious in the most possible way. To say that God is glorious means that God is worthy of fame and admiration; that God has striking beauty and splendor that evokes feelings of delighted admiration in us. God’s glory is the overflowing radiance and the brilliance of the holiness of God (i.e., the set-apart-ness of God) which calls forth our worship, admiration, and praise of God[i]. God’s glory is generated by the surpassing magnificence, beauty, and value of Who God is in all of His perfect characteristics. His perfect love, His sovereignty, His patience, His kindness, His wisdom, His loveliness, and all of His other perfections make God desirable, delightful, pleasing, admirable, and glorious. That is why in God’s throne room, the great seraphim cry out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”(Isaiah 6:3).[ii]
God created everything that exists in order to manifest (or to make known) His glory. All matter was created to give us a small glimpse, a physical picture, of the incomprehensible greatness of who God is. Do you think that fruit is sweet? God is sweeter than the sweetest of fruit. Do you think that the sun is dazzlingly brilliant? God is dazzlingly brighter still. Do you think cool water is refreshing on a hot summer’s day? God is more refreshing than a thousand thirst-quenching mountain springs. Do you think that the ocean is vast? The vastness of God is greater still. Do you think that the universe is large? It is nothing in comparison to the greatness of God. So you see, matter matters because of what it shows us about God.
In like manner, man-kind was created with the unique abilities of thought, emotion, and expression through language; for the purpose of having the capacities necessary for knowing, loving, and worshipping God. In other words, we (human beings) have been given everything that we need to glorify God. God created humans with all of the mental and emotional abilities that are necessary for recognizing the indescribable worth of God in His holiness, and responding to His indescribable worth and glory in loving adoration and worship of Him. For, God created people with the specific intent that of all the creatures in the universe, man would most clearly and intentionally glorify God, by reflecting, revealing, and making known His glory.
The new life that Christians are given in Christ is a life of knowing God, loving God, worshiping God, and thus, glorifying God. Walking in newness of life is all about glorifying God. The new life that Christ died to give His people is a life of knowing God, enjoying God, and being changed by God so that we become increasingly set apart (holy) to God. For God has said to His people, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).
Our new life in Christ is exactly that: it is a new life. As we draw near to God and seek to know Him better, love Him more, serve Him more, and glory in Him only; He will change us- He will set us apart (make us holy) unto Himself, for His glory; for His purposes. He will do this by His own divine and sovereign power. He will accomplish all that He has set out to accomplish in and through us. For, the Bible tells us “In love, he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved…” And “…having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will… …we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:4-11).
Therefore, since walking in newness of life is about glorifying God and becoming holy; walking in newness of life is about walking in the conscious reality of the awesome holiness of God, worshipping God, and being changed by the glorious reality of who God is. For, Christianity is all about God making people holy by drawing near to them in the person of Christ and changing them into His Holy image; by allowing them to see the holiness of God in the person of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:18). By walking (living life) in the conscious, worshipful awareness of the most holy, all-powerful, perfectly moral, exceedingly excellent, resplendent and glorious Divine Being- our Creator God and the Sustainer of our lives- we will naturally begin to live our lives in a different way than we do now. We will become set-apart (holy) in all of our thinking, speaking, and behavior. Christianity is about divine-transformation, not self-reformation.
In closing, the first step that anyone takes in walking in newness of life is a step of learning how to think about God in the right way. Today, we have begun to do this. We have considered the truth that God is holy (set-apart) in His moral perfections; His self-existence, His sovereignty, and in all of His other manifold perfect features. We have learned that God’s holiness makes Him glorious; deserving of our praise, adoration, and esteem. We have also learned that God created people with the intent that they would bring glory to Him. We have learned that God has provided us (humans) with everything that is needful for recognizing the glory of God in all of His many perfections, and thus, appropriately responding to Him in worship. We have also learned that by walking in the conscious, worshipful reality of God, He will begin to change us- by His own sovereign power and prerogative, and for His glory. We learned that Christianity is about divine transformation, not self-imposed acts of self-reformation.
So, if you want your life to change and you want to start walking in newness of life; all you have to do is meditate on who God is and think about the perfect moral nature of God (think about His holiness). Spend time thinking about what it means that God is eternal, having no beginning and no end. Ask yourself, “What does it mean that God is ‘the LORD’ and ‘there is no other God’?” (Isaiah 45:5). Think about the fact that God is unrestricted and unlimited in His authority, dominion, and power (http://biblehub.com/greek/1203.htm). Consider what it means that God is holy, that God is perfectly good, that God is glorious and that God created you with the unique abilities and capacities necessary for knowing God, loving God, worshiping God, and glorifying God. If you want to start walking in newness of life, remind yourself that even in this very moment, as you read these words, in heaven there are great and awesome- terrifyingly beautiful and powerful creatures crying out, day and night, one to another, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”
[ii] Piper, John.2012. Soli Deo Gloria. November 1. http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/soli-deo-gloria/. April 19, 2014.