An Act of God’s Holiness
“Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against you, O Sidon, And I will be glorified in your midst. Then they will know that I am the Lord when I execute judgments in her, And I will manifest My holiness in her.”
“Though love must be the chief spring and principle of our obedience, yet fear hath its use; the threatenings declare the holiness of God, as well as his promises; and we need to know his hatred to sin, as well as his love to righteousness, to breed an awe in us.1”
By Reverend Ray
In the contemporary Christian expression of faith, modern thought has become enamored with the attribute of God’s love. It has become the single emphasis on God in much of the church in Contemporary Christianity.
Such a perspective has led to an unbalanced view of the character of God. Central to this thinking is the notion that the Old Testament picture of God is to be abandoned for a more loving God of the New Testament.
In this case, they are wrong on two levels, the immutability of the God of the Bible and the misconception that God is not upheld as a holy, just God, who meads out judgment as in the Old Testament.
Though our text cited above does indeed rise from the heart of Old Testament judgment prophecy, it is the intrinsic nature of God’s holiness that is the backdrop for His execution of judgment upon the heathen nations that surrounded Israel and Judah.
And, it is this same holiness that is asserted by Peter in I Peter 1:15-16; “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
The unchanging character of God is anchored in the fact of His intrinsic holiness, across all Biblical economies and testaments. God has not discarded His holiness in the New Testament era to become a more appealing God to the whims of human guilt.
The love of God is not diminished by the assertion of God’s holiness, rather it is qualified by it because it defines God’s love in terms of its moral and distinct excellence in perfect love. In other words, there is no possibility of authentic divine love where it is not governed by God’s holiness.
The Holy God of the Old Testament is the Holy God of the New Testament that demonstrated His love for sinners in the only manner possible by a Holy God, that is, through the justice and righteousness of His overarching holiness.
Thus, Jesus Christ, as the satisfaction for the wrath of a Holy God, has expressed Himself in both holiness and love.
This becomes extremely important in understanding why we see the execution of God’s judgment in the Old Testament as well as the anticipated coming judgment to be poured out upon humanity as it is recorded in the Revelation.
God states three things that will be accomplished in His judgment upon Sidon.
God will be glorified; they will know that He is God and God’s holiness will be manifested upon them.
All three of these outcomes are intended to bring about benefit to the people of Sidon, even though they were the neighboring nation that most affected Israel for corruption and rebellion against God.
The Sidonians were worshipers of Astaroth and Baal, two heathen gods that were constantly recorded in Israel’s history.
It was a Sidonian that Ahab married, Jezebel, who lead the Northern Kingdom into the perverse worship of Baal.
Therefore, Lamar Cooper states; “Because of God’s judgment, the fall of Sidon would be acknowledged as more than a chance event. It would be viewed as a fulfillment of God’s promise of judgment.2”
The judgment of God upon the wickedness of man is an expression of God’s holiness. Holiness is not passive.
It is not a benign quality of God that has no expression or outlet.
The reservoir of God’s holiness is vented through His divine execution of just recompense upon all that is violently opposed to the character of God’s holiness. Holiness is compelled by its nature to be antagonistic to its antithesis.
To ignore the holiness of God is to adopt another god.
Dribble from the pen
1 Manton, T. (1873). The Complete Works of Thomas Manton (Vol. 11, p. 376). London: James Nisbet & Co.
2 Cooper, L. E. (1994). Ezekiel (Vol. 17, p. 271). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.