Welcome to my blog! I hope to be a resource to help you in your walk with God. Now more than ever we need to get back to the basic fundamentals of moral living and take a stand for what is right and truthful with God as our ultimate authority. His Word is reliable and preserved and can be trusted, so that is the basis for my advice and teaching. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or topics you would like me to cover. I look forward to sharing what God has placed on my heart. See my website at http://www.dawnfoss.tateauthor.com and http://www.dawnfoss.com/ for books and music I have written that will enrich your life!

Ezekiel 22:30: "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none." Let's stand in the gap together!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The holiness of God - #5 of 6

This is a transcript I wrote up of Dr. R.C. Sproul's 5th part of his six part series on the Holiness of God. His entire series is free on his website to listen to, and is a classic series that will never grow old.  I love this part on "The Meaning of Holiness."  I often thought of it as "set apart" or "pure", but the meaning is deeper than that.  He does a phenomenal job at giving us a more thorough understanding of what holiness means, and how we should treat the name of God.  We can apply this meaning to how we conduct our lives in business, family, the music and entertainment we choose, etc. 

#5 – The meaning of holiness

The word "holy" seems to be a synonym for moral purity or for righteousness. There are two major meanings of the term "holy" in Scripture.  The secondary meaning is personal righteousness and purity. But the primary meaning is separate or theological apartite. That which is “holy” is that which is “other” or different from anything else.  

God’s transcendence and magnificence is higher and superior to anything else in the creaturely realm.  That which is holy is that which is different. Holy vessels, holy moments, Holy Spirit, Holy one of Israel, holy ground, etc.  All people have some sense of holy time and holy space. Your room, under a favorite tree, a fort, a place that has a special significance to you is considered holy space.  Holy time would be your birthday, something you celebrate as a moment in time that has special importance to you.  Holidays = a holy day. A day that is different from the ordinary days, special, set apart for remembrance.  Sacred time, space, things.  

What makes something so special? Why are we drawn to the holy? The touch of God can take something common and make it extraordinary and sacred and holy.  When He touches you, you become uncommon.  

Phobias – cats, crowded spaces, death, etc.  #1 fear of American people: standing in front of a group and giving a talk. Xenophobia – the fear of strangers or foreigners.  We have a tendency to be frightened of people whose customs are different from ours.  We have a fear of the living God because He is so different from us, high and exalted.  Fascinating study: a little but important book written in the early 20th century by a German theologian and anthropologist Rudolph Otto entitled: “The Idea of the Holy.”  He examined people from different cultures and tried to find out what they regarded as holy or sacred In their culture. Studied to see what the normal human reaction is to the holy.  Inventing phrases to describe what is the holy? The answer he gave was the holy is the mysterium tremendum.  The experience we have of the holy is an experience of something very strange and impossible to penetrate and fathom.  Mysterious and powerful, and this provokes a sense of fear within us. “the awful mystery.” 

Moments of awareness of the presence of God, not part of our ordinary daily experience.  Our ordinary existence is profane, but every Christian knows about that precious moment of awareness of the presence of God, but it’s fleeting. Not everyone responds in the same way. But he detected that across the board the basic response of humans is a response of ambivalence.  We have conflicting feelings about the holy.  There is something about the holiness of God that attracts us and repels and frightens us. Fascinates and terrifies.  

We like to scare ourselves, tell ghost stories, go on thrill rides, etc. People pay money to be frightened (Disney). Dualistic attitude toward the holy. Marketing geniuses expose them to a TV program or movie about the holy. Tendency to keep ourselves at a safe distance from the character of God. Attracted and repelled by it. Drawn to and terrified of Jesus. This element that we fear is at the core of the character of God. 

To understand it, in the NT it's a priority of learning. The Lord’s Prayer can be divided into 3 parts, from formal address to the petitions to the closing.  What is the first petition of the Lord’s prayer?  Is "hallowed be thy name" part of the formal address or the first petition? If it were part of the formal address, Jesus would have said, "Hollowed is your name", but He said "hollowed be thy name."  The first thing you are to pray for is that the name of God be treated as sacred and holy.  Repeatedly "Holy is His Name" is in the Bible.  

Suppose in today’s age in the USA we started all over and decided to throw out all lawyers, laws and our constitution and start fresh, but your job is to write the new constitution and bill of rights.  All laws will be based on 10 laws you draw up. What ten would you write? How many would waste one against coveting? How many would put in the Top 10 that children are to respect and obey parents? Most would prohibit murder and theft. Would you make it the Law of the land that no one ever takes the name of God in vain?  God wrote a constitution for a national government, and that made His top 10.  Isn’t that incredible? 

Movies use all kinds of bad language, using the name of God as a common curse word – well, Jesus said to pray that His Father’s name will be regarded as holy.  Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.  My reign, my sovereignty, my authority as king will be honored and recognized in this world and the people will do my will on this planet as the angels in heaven obey my will.  Logical progression here. The kingdom of God will never come on this earth or the will of God be done on this earth unless the name of God is revered by His people.  How is it possible to honor a king and at the same time desecrate his name? No magic associated with the utterance of a word, but they understood as God understands that if we have a cavalier, casual attitude about the name of God, that reveals more deeply than anything else we say about our deepest attitude toward the God of the name. If you use the name of God as a common curse word you are at root a profane person, and have no respect for the holiness of God. Think before you let that word pass over your lips again in a frivolous manner. God will not tolerate the desecration of his name. He made it in the top 10. 

Jesus says that you should pray that the name of God would be holy, treated as different, special, extraordinary, exalted because He is different and special and extraordinary. When we are called to be holy we are called to be different, in the style of God, righteous, be different from the normal standards of this world. Show what righteousness is in this life. Mirror and reflect the character of God to a dying world.


  1. God seems rather petty and small to be worried about curse words. Jeez you'd think some who created the universe (creating so many useless planets in the process) wouldn't have to worry about puny humans and their R rated movies.

    1. It really, truly is amazing that God, the Creator of the entire universe, powerful enough to create it with His spoken word, and forming man with His holy hands, making man in His image, does care about us. Psalm 8:4-6: "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet."

      God actually deserves our reverence, as opposed to us who are wretched creatures. However, God loves us and cherishes us for reasons that we cannot understand, but we can thank Him for it every day. God doesn't need us - don't confuse His worthiness with need. It is our honor to glorify His name, but it is also our duty because He is worthy and His name is to be reverenced. We can either bow now or we will bow later, but we will all bow before Him. Philippians 2:10-11: "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

      He wants every Christian (which literally means "Christ follower") to be set apart as well. If we are watching profane movies and speaking profane language and showing disrespect to God Almighty, profaning the temple of God (our bodies) with fornication, we are living profane lives, and that does not correlate with an identification with Jesus Christ. "Be ye holy, for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16). That is a command. Once the Holy Spirit touches us as we become followers of Jesus Christ, we are no longer ordinary, but extraordinary, because of the work of Christ on our behalf. We are not deserving of praise, but rather we should honor God with our lips, singing praises to Him, and with our lives, living a separated life unto Him. That includes every single area, including entertainment. Otherwise, we are double minded. James 1:8: "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." If a person has a problem with that and he or she is offended by the very thought of humbling themselves before God, then that person does not know Jesus Christ as Savior. That is a reprobate mind. Our minds are to be transformed when we trust Christ. Romans 12:1-2: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."