As Church leaders we may want to shy away from issues like sin and holiness. Yet, when we grasp the holy and awesome nature of the Name we profess, is that an option? Can we turn a blind eye to sin in our own lives or that of fellow believers and still praise and glorify His name? — Not if we accept the reality that the Most High God, who is exalted above all else, is a Holy God.
For you, LORD, are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. Let those who love the LORD hate evil, … Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name. (Ps. 97:9-12)
If His Name is Holy Then We Must Acknowledge Certain Realities
His Name is holy because He is holy. The following realities flow out of that truth:
- Confession of His name leads to an expectation of holy living.
Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” (2 Tim. 2:19)
To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ – their Lord and our … (1 Cor. 1:2)
- Judgment must come to those who profane or defile His holy name.
I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes. (Isa. 36:23)
… defiled my holy name by their detestable practices. So I destroyed them in my anger. (Ezek. 43:8)
- Though His holy name requires judgment, He is not detached from those who are contrite and humble themselves. Because He is also a gracious and merciful God, He always favors restoration.
And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to me. … I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their offenses, and I hid my face from them. … I will now restore the fortunes of Jacob and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name. (Ezek. 39:23-29)
For this is what the high and exalted One says – he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isa. 57:15)
- Our appeal to those who confess His name yet live unholy must be on the basis of His name, not on our own authority as leaders.
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ … (1 Cor. 1:10)
For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. (1 Cor. 5:3)
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. (2 Thess. 3:6)
If we can’t accept the above realities, perhaps we need to step back and ask ourselves if we truly believe the Lord Most High is holy.