Intermediate Edition

I.  Holy Characteristics


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Chapter 2  Part I

Holy Characteristics

A good understanding of God requires a balanced understanding of his character, including the fundamental attribute of holiness. We need to “take to heart” all aspects of his character. As well as the many characteristics that we find consoling, we also need to appreciate those that inspire godly fear.


God’s holiness involves his moral purity. It concerns God’s separateness from and his intolerance of that which is morally impure. Holiness is fundamental to the other characteristics that follow in the first half of this chapter.

God is holy

And one [angelic being] called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”   Isaiah 6:3 ESV

Note that the title “the Lord of hosts” points to God’s sovereign power over all things.

There is nothing bad in God . . .

[A psalmist:]  They will say that the Lord is good. He is my Rock, and there is no wrong in him.   Psalms 92:15 NCV™

. . . God cannot tolerate evil

[Habakkuk, to God:]  You are too just to tolerate evil; you are unable to condone wrongdoing.   Habakkuk 1:13a NET

God shows himself to be holy by what he does

The Lord All-Powerful will receive glory by judging fairly; the holy God will show himself holy by doing what is right.   Isaiah 5:16 NCV™

There is no one holy like God

No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one other than you! There is no rock like our God!   1 Samuel 2:2 NET


God is righteous and just

But the Lord of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness.   Isaiah 5:16 ESV

All God does is right and just

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, for all his deeds are right and his ways are just.   Daniel 4:37a NET

God is truthful

[God:] I the Lord speak the truth; I declare what is right.   Isaiah 45:19b ESV

God does not show favoritism

For there is no partiality with God.   Romans 2:11 NET


God is faithful

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.   Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

God never forsakes nor fails

[David, to God:] Your loyal followers trust in you, for you, Lord, do not abandon those who seek your help.   Psalms 9:10 NET

David also said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and brave, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, because the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or leave you until all the work for the Temple of the Lord is finished.   1 Chronicles 28:20 NCV™

God does not lie nor change his mind – he keeps his promises

God is no mere human! He doesn’t tell lies or change his mind. God always keeps his promises.   Numbers 23:19 CEV


Although we usually view anger in a negative light, this is not how the Bible depicts God’s anger, or wrath. God’s anger is always justified and righteous, consistent with his holiness. Moreover, it occurs in response to that which is contrary to his holiness. Unlike human anger, God’s anger is never uncontrolled, wayward or spasmodic – and is tempered by his mercy, notably where his own people are concerned.

God expresses anger, which has awesome consequences

[A psalmist, to God:] Who can really fathom the intensity of your anger? Your raging fury causes people to fear you.   Psalms 90:11 NET

Therefore [due to their evil] the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people, and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them, and the mountains quaked; and their corpses were as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.   Isaiah 5:25 ESV

God is slow to anger and often holds it back

The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in loyal love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but by no means clearing the guilty …   Numbers 14:18a NET

Yet he is compassionate. He forgives sin and does not destroy. He often holds back his anger, and does not stir up his fury.   Psalms 78:38 NET

God does not stay angry

He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy.   Micah 7:18b NKJV

God’s anger arises in response to sin and disobedience

[God, to Baasha the king of Israel:] Yet you followed in Jeroboam’s footsteps and encouraged my people Israel to sin; their sins have made me angry.   1 Kings 16:2b NET

[God:] I will angrily seek vengeance on the nations that do not obey me.   Micah 5:15 NET

Pray for persecuted Christians