January 28: Only a Holy God
In our first devotional on Only a Holy God, we focused on God’s sovereignty, beauty, and power. In our second devotional—for kids too!—we were encouraged to get “up close and personal” to God, to see his character in focus. Today, I’d like put this into practice by looking a bit more closely at these three attributes of God’s, in the hope that we will respond with a renewed passion for worshipping our holy God.
In the first verse of “Only a Holy God,” we proclaim God’s sovereignty over creation, political rulers and situations, and darkness of all kinds—physical, emotional, and spiritual. To some, the idea of God’s sovereignty and control negates personal responsibility or threatens autonomy. But the Bible is clear that we will give an account to God for our individual actions (Romans 14:12). Instead, God’s sovereignty—his vision to direct and his power to execute his plans—should bring us great comfort. When we see God acting in Scripture for his glory and the good of his people, we are given confidence that God will complete the work he began (Philippians 1:6, Hebrews 10:23)—in us and in the world. C.H. Spurgeon said, “The sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which the child of God rests his head.” Do you believe that God is in control? Does this truth comfort you?
As we sing the second verse of “Only a Holy God,” we praise God for his beauty, with lyrics like splendor, majesty, and justice. Scripture is full of glimpses into God’s beauty (I think of the story of Christ’s transfiguration in Matthew 17), and we also see reflections of God’s beauty in everything he has created—including the bodies and faces of people made in his image. But now we see only incomplete images; how wonderful it will be to one day see him face to face! King David, in Psalm 27:4, expresses his longing to seek God and gaze on his beauty. And Corinthians 3:18 says that we who “contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory.” Do you take the time to contemplate and gaze on God’s beauty? Does God’s beauty amaze you?
In the third verse of “Only a Holy God,” we sing of God’s power, glory, and triumph. Christ’s power to rise from the dead is the basis of our faith and the reason for our hope. I’m reminded of the apostle Paul’s argument that, “if Christ has not been raised, [our] faith is futile; [we] are still in [our] sins” (1 Corinthians 15:18). If Christ did not rise from the dead, conquering death and sin, we have hope only for this life. “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead!” (vs. 20), giving us hope that we too will live forever with him. Do you believe that Jesus rose from the dead? Does this truth fill you with hope?
In the fourth verse of “Only a Holy God” we respond to God’s sovereignty, beauty, and power with praise. Only a God who is sovereign—working out a plan for our salvation—could rescue us from our failing. Only a God who is beautiful would offer his only son to give us beauty instead of ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair (Isaiah 61:3). Only a God who is powerful to conquer death, could invite us to worship him for eternity. Do you know this holy God? Do you worship him?
For reflection: Read Psalm 96. Ask God to give you comfort, amazement, and hope in his sovereignty, beauty, and power expressed in the Psalm. Worship God in the splendor of holiness.