Next to Godliness

“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty…” (Revelation 4:8)

It says around that little proof-texted line that the beasts encircling the throne of God “rest not day and night” in their acknowledgment of His holiness. Evidently they see something—where they’ve been perched around the throne since God-knows-when—that keeps them effusing this most-effective line of praise. Try it sometime. Tell Him the same, He more than warrants it.

“Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.” (Hebrews 12:9-10, emphasis mine)


I don’t know how your father was. As you are an extant being, I feel I can safely assume you had or have one though I don’t know how close you are or were. Perhaps he wasn’t even present at all! I’m sorry to hear that. My dad passed away last month and while I can attest to him being there for me as I grew up, I am slowly beginning to feel the void. But I’m an adult. We need this closeness, this presence, as we’re making our way through childhood. This being said, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews says in effect that our dads disciplined us not so much because of what we might gain as we grew, but more due to the fact that it was their best attempt at dealing with a wayward child even as they continued to grow up themselves. Something for “their own pleasure”, their own reasonings. This is a broad and blanket statement, admittedly, but I think some aspect of its truth applies to many-if-not-most father/child relationships. It certainly doesn’t sound like love nor does it sound like our dad always had our best interests at heart, all the time. I am childless but I can tell you firsthand that you don’t want to be living vicariously through your children. They are not here to relive your life. My dad did the best he could, I’m sure yours did the same. I digress.

“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24)

That Jesus would come to earth as a man! As we are human, we will ever wonder at the profound mystery that is God would choosing to be born of a woman. And then live among us for a time. And remember: Jesus remained holy throughout His life on earth—it’s one of the reasons we can—how is it worded?—“partake of his holiness”.

“Is not this the carpenter’s son?” (Matthew 13:55a)

A perfect circle

“Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8)

As it’s capitalized, you know the scripture above refers to being “God’s Son”. Not just Joseph’s (that’s how you know). As an aside, there is no such thing as a naturally occurring perfect circle. Though with the cold math of computing, a perfect circle is easily drawn up and implemented on screen. In order to determine whether or not a circle is perfect, all points on the aforementioned “natural perfect circle” (i.e. in nature—not possible, humor me) must be measured out simultaneously into infinity. But this doesn’t do us any good, does it? This is why Jesus came. All of the numbers, letters, symbols in the law of Moses didn’t bring one any closer to the perfect holiness of God. And because of original sin, any evidence of His holiness was obliterated from this earth. But as it says above, Jesus had things to learn too. He wasn’t just born in a manger and then fast-forwarded to eternity. He had to suffer in order for God’s holiness to be found in Him, and for it to grow.

“So after He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and was set down again, He said unto them, Know ye what I have done unto you?” (John 13:12, emphasis mine)

Here’s the thing about holiness. It is exclusive to God. It is wrapped up in His very nature. It is unutterable perfection, it is ineffable light. It is peace beyond compare and it is joy that reaches up, far past the third heaven. It is Absolute; something only He possesses. It is something we cannot touch (see 2 Samuel 6:7, Hebrews 12:20-21), that is, if our heart is not right with Him. And, very simply, the way to have a heart right with God is to know Jesus and to walk with Him. In the above verse, Jesus had just finished washing the disciples feet. They had been following Him, we know that much (except Judas, of course) and—Oh no!—their feet had gotten dirty (He gets around, what can I say?). What are you going to do? Because any worry we expend as to the state of our rightness with God is also sin—i.e. it isn’t about simply making no mistakes. Thing is though, the disciples were still following Him. That’s the way. His holiness will grow in you as you follow Him, as you commune and fellowship with and worship Him, but remember: His holiness is never divorced from His person.

“For the Kingdom of God is…righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 14:17)

He’ll ensure you see His holiness through the correct lens. And He’ll redirect any perceptions we may have, however incorrect they may be, regarding it.

“Because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16)

What do you think? Lemme know! I'd love to talk.

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