There are many attributes of God. Some of these attributes we share with him—those being his communicable attributes such as love, personality, wisdom, etc. There are some that we don’t share with him—those incommunicable attributes such as being all knowing, all powerful, etc. There’s another attribute that is both shared and unshared—holiness. Holy means to be set apart. In terms of transcendence, we will never be set apart from creation the way God is, but in terms of morality, because of Christ, we can, in part, begin to share in God’s moral character. Yet, ironically, this process begins by recognizing our unholiness.
We see this in the prophet Isaiah. In the first few verses of Isaiah 6, Isaiah is brought into the heavenly throne room of God. He immediately becomes undone at the sight of God in his holy presence. God’s glory is so immense that the train of his robe fills the entire heavenly temple. The very foundation of the temple shakes at the sound of God’s voice. This prompted Isaiah to say, “Woe is me, for I am lost.” Then something amazing happened. Burning coals are touched to Isaiah’s lips, and in the presence of God, his guilt is taken away as he goes through the painful process of sanctification—the process of being set apart in character and conduct—the process of being made holy. This teaches us that we cannot purify our own lives. Yet, “what is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 18:27). Jesus bridges the gap between God’s holiness and our unholiness so that by faith in him we might “be holy as God is holy” (1 Peter 1:16).
As we go through the week, let us look in awe once again at the finished work of Christ on the cross and rejoice in how his holy life and holy sacrifice is able to make us holy as well. One day we will share in God’s perfect moral holiness, but until that day, let us boldly approach the throne of grace, so that like Isaiah, we too might be progressively set apart.