A single flame from a singular source—holiness.
Undimmed by time, unmoved by winds, unfaltering in its light, undiluted in any way, the holiness of God is the anchor of time and space, the master of gravity itself, standing in its own strength, in all, over all, and for all time.
Angels sing of it. Saints long for it. Those who reason, inquire of it. Those who feel, reach for it. Those with eyes, look and those with ears, listen for it. The faithless doubt it while the faithful expect it. It is the substance of heaven and the desire of earth.
“…holiness adorns your house for endless days, O Lord.”
The presence of God is a holy presence.
- There is joy here but not frivolity;
- peace but not lethargy;
- authority without abuse;
- truth without confusion,
- love without dissimulation.
In the Holiness of God there is deity clothed in humanity made alive by Spirit:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever, Amen.
There is narrative in this singular flame, a story older than age and truer than facts. A story begun before time and destined never to end, an eternal second act for its conclusion is always another beginning. It is also our story, wrapped in birth days and graduations and vows given and received and moving relentlessly to the ultimate graduation from this life to the one we have prepared.
Holiness now, God in us—
- burning with a singular flame,
- shining with a singular light,
- steady when the world is shaking,
- eloquent when the world is silent,
- comforting when the world is at war—
will yield for us holiness then.
On the Lord’s day we do more than sing songs;
- We process into the realms of the splendor of His Holiness.
- We ascend the Hill of the Lord and stand in the Holy Place.
- We pass through the torn veil of Jesus’ earthly life to enter the Most Holy Place.
It is a place of exchange:
- Our guilt for His innocence,
- Our weakness for His strength,
- Our sickness for His health,
- Our confusion for His truth,
- Our fear for His promises,
- Our tears for His joy,
- Our apathy for His passion,
- Our hate for His love.
There is no other flame, no other source for these things. Theses graces flow from heaven to earth through His Throne Room—the place we go when we worship.
If time has weakened our singular flame, if darkness threatens its light, if the shifting winds of culture are shaking it, we must come before the flame of the Holiness of God in repentance, praise, and worship. We will feel it, know it, see it, hear it—that singular flame of God’s presence.
We will sing with the angels and dance with the saints, for this is Zion, the dwelling and ruling place of God and healing holiness burns only here.
The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed in majesty and is armed with strength. The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity. The seas have lifted up, O Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea — the Lord on high is mighty. Your statutes stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days, O Lord.
Psalm 24:3-6 NIV
Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob.
Hebrews 10:19-25 NIV
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 12:22-24 NIV
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Lord Jesus, I come before You today, just as I am—a flawed human being under reconstruction. Any righteousness I might present to You would be woefully stained and useless—yet You have covered me with Your righteousness. The sorry story of my life recorded in Your books has been erased by Your blood and Your Holy Life inscribed in its place. All I can do is join the song of the angels…
Holy, Holy, Holy
Text: Reginald Heber; Music: John B. Dykes
1. Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!
2. Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.
3. Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
perfect in power, in love and purity.
4. Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
2 thoughts on “June 11, 2017 “Holiness””
Steve, this is incredible. Thank you for it and may it spread to believers everywhere.
Those of us who came up in the Holiness/Pentecostal tradition got the idea that holiness was about us. What a joy to discover that when the Bible says to “Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2) this is talking about His holiness, not ours! Makes all the difference.