A.W. Tozer had a deep conviction that many in his day had lost their sense of awe and wonder at the holiness of God. With just a few words, he reminds us how important God’s holiness is for every aspect of life. Enjoy this excerpt from one of Tozer’s sermons on the Holiness of God. For more from Tozer, check out his classic work, The Knowledge of the Holy.
“God is not now any holier than He ever was. And He never was holier than now. He did not get His holiness from anyone nor from anywhere. He is Himself the Holiness. He is the All-Holy, the Holy One; He is holiness itself, beyond the power of thought to grasp or of word to express, beyond the power of all praise.
Language cannot express the holy, so God resorts to association and suggestion. He cannot say it outright because He would have to use words for which we know no meaning. He would have to translate it down to our unholiness. If He were to tell us how white He is, we would understand it in terms of only dingy gray.
It was a common thing in olden days, when God was the center of Human worship, to kneel at an altar and shake, tremble, weep and perspire in an agony of conviction. We don’t see it now because the God we preach is not the everlasting, awful God, mine Holy One (Habakkuk 1:12), who is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity (Habakkuk 1:13).
We’ve used the technical interpretation of justification by faith and the imputed righteousness of Christ until we’ve watered down the wine of our spirituality. God help us in this evil hour!
We come into the presence of God with tainted souls. We come with our own concept of morality, having learned it from books, from newspapers and from school. We come to God dirty; our whitest white is dirty, our churches are dirty and our thoughts are dirty and we do nothing about it!
If we came to God dirty, but trembling and shocked and awestruck in His presence, if we knelt at His feet and cried with Isaiah, I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips (Isaiah 6:5), then I could understand. But we skip into His awful presence. We’re forgetting holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).
O God, soon every person must appear before you to give an account for the deeds done in the body. Father, keep upon us a sense of holiness so that we can’t sin and excuse it, but that repentance will be as deep as our lives. This we ask in Christ’s name. Amen.”
What comes to mind when you think about the holiness of God?