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What is holiness?

Holiness is a complex concept. It refers to the essence of God's being, not so much a single attribute but perhaps the sum of all attributes.

Holiness suggests the power of God's presence (as when God appeared to Moses on Sinai), the “glory” (Greek: doxa) or aura of God's presence, the mystery of God when God is encountered, and the deep and hard-to-grasp nature of God as one who is both merciful and impatient with humanity, as one who has a special place in his heart for Israel and yet is God of all creation, as one who walks among the people and yet also awaits them on the mountain.

The holiness of God is both the majesty of God incarnate and the wonder of God beyond sight. Thus, one can walk into a “holy place,” like a quiet church, and feel caught up in something much larger than those walls and windows.

--Tom Ehrich



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