Jeremiah Burroughs -The Incomparable Excellency and Holiness of God

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“Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, amongst the gods! Who is like unto Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders!” (Exodus 15:11)

This Scripture is this day fulfilled in our ears and before our eyes. That which God has already begun to do for this kingdom and the neighboring churches, shows us that there is none like the Lord, who is glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders.

The words, though they are in the middle of a song, are a kind of an epiphonema, a conclusion which is usually at the end, but the spirit of Moses, admiring and blessing God for the great things He had done for His people, does not wait for the end but breaks forth in the very middle with the applause of the glory of God, Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, amongst the gods, who is like unto Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders! You see, then, that the words are a part of Moses’ song, occasioned upon the goodness of God in delivering His people from Egypt and carrying them through the Red Sea.

This is the most ancient song in the world. It is the first in Scripture, and we know of no author before Moses. Those who were skillful in poetry came many hundreds of years after Moses. It is a spiritual and a most excellent song. The style is full of elegance, the matter is of great variety. It is eucharistical, triumphant, prophetical, and it is a pity we do not have such an excellent song as this turned into meter to be sung in our congregations. It is a most delightful song, and therefore observe that when God promised a mercy to His people, in which they should rejoice exceedingly, He refers to this song, Hosea 2:15, And I will give her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope, and she shall sing there as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came out of the land of Egypt.

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Thomas Watson – The Holiness of God

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The next attribute is God’s holiness. Ex. 15:2, ‘Glorious in holiness.’ Holiness is the most sparkling jewel of his crown; it is the name by which God is known. Ps. 111:9, ‘Holy and reverend is his name.’ He is ‘the holy One.’ Job 6:10. Seraphims cry, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.’ Isa vi 3. His power makes him mighty, his holiness makes him glorious. God’s holiness consists in his perfect love of righteousness, and abhorrence of evil, and cannot look on iniquity.’ Hab 1:13.

I. God is holy intrinsically. He is holy in his nature; his very being is made up of holiness, as light is of the essence of the sun. He is holy in his Word. The Word bears a stamp of his holiness upon it, as the wax bears an impression of the seal. ‘Thy Word is very pure.’ Ps. 119:140. It is compared to silver refined seven times. Ps. 12:6. Every line in the Word breathes sanctity, it encourages nothing but holiness. God is holy in his operations. All he does is holy; he cannot act but like himself; he can no more do an unrighteous action than the sun can darken. ‘The Lord is holy in all his works,’ Ps. 145:17.

II. God is holy primarily. He is the original and pattern of holiness. Holiness began with him who is the Ancient of Days.

III. God is holy efficiently. He is the cause of all that is holiness in others. ‘Every good and perfect gift comes from above.’ James i 17. He made the angels holy. He infused all holiness into Christ’s human nature. All the holiness we have is but a crystal stream from this fountain. We borrow all our holiness from God. As the lights of the sanctuary were lighted from the middle lamp, so all the holiness of others is a lamp lighted from heaven. ‘I am the Lord which sanctify you.’ Lev xx 8. God is not only a pattern of holiness, but he is a principle of holiness: his spring feeds all our cisterns, he drops his holy oil of grace upon us.

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Octavius Winslow – A Soul Prostrate Before the Majesty and Holiness of God

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“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Isaiah 6:5

What prostrated his soul thus low in the dust?

What filled him with this self abasement?

What overwhelmed him with this keen sense of his vileness?

Oh, it was the unclouded view he had of the essential glory of the Son of God! And thus will it ever be. The beaming forth of Christ’s glory in the soul reveals its hidden evil; the knowledge of this evil lays the believer low before God with the confession, “I abhor myself. Woe is me! for I am undone.”

Beloved, let this truth be ever present to your mind, that as we increasingly see glory in Christ, we shall increasingly see that there is no glory in ourselves.

Jesus is the Sun which reveals the pollutions and defilements which are within. The chambers of abomination are all closed until Christ shines in upon the soul. Oh, then it is these deep seated and long veiled deformities are revealed; and we, no longer gazing with a complacent eye upon self, sink in the dust before God, overwhelmed with shame, and covered with confusion of face.

Holy posture!

Blessed spectacle!

A soul prostrate before the glory of the incarnate God!

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R. C. Sproul – The Holiness of God and the Sinfulness of Man

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One word that crystallizes the essence of the Christian faith is the word grace. One of the great mottos of the Protestant Reformation was the Latin phrase sola gratia—by grace alone. This phrase wasn’t invented by the sixteenth-century Reformers. Its roots are in the theology of Augustine of Hippo, who used it to call attention to the central concept of Christianity, that our redemption is by grace alone, that the only way a human being can ever find himself reconciled to God is by grace. That concept is so central to the teaching of Scripture that to even mention it seems like an insult to people’s intelligence; yet, if there is a dimension of Christian theology that has become obscured in the last few generations, it is grace.

Two things that every human being absolutely must come to understand are the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man. These topics are difficult for people to face. And they go together: if we understand who God is, and catch a glimpse of His majesty, purity, and holiness, then we are instantly aware of the extent of our own corruption. When that happens, we fly to grace—because we recognize that there’s no way that we could ever stand before God apart from grace.

The prophet Habakkuk was upset during one period in Jewish history because he saw the enemies of the people of God triumphing, the wicked prospering, and the righteous suffering. He raised a lament, saying: “Are you not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, you have ordained them as a judgment, and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof” (Hab. 1:12). He went on to a affirm the holiness of God, and how God cannot tolerate evil: “You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong … ” (Hab. 1:13a).

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Stephen Charnock – The Holiness of God

EXODUS 15:11. — Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

THIS verse is one of the loftiest descriptions of the majesty and excellency of God in the whole Scripture. It is a part of Moses’ Επινίχιον, or “triumphant song,” after a great and real, and a typical victory; in the womb of which all the deliverances of the church were couched. It is the first song upon holy record, and it consists of gratulatory and prophetic matter; it casts a look backward to what God did for them in their deliverance from Egypt; and a look forward to what God shall do for the church in future ages. That deliverance was but a rough draught of something more excellent to be wrought towards the closing up of the world; when his plagues shall be poured out upon the anti-christian powers, which should revive the same song of Moses in the church, as fitted so many ages before for such a scene of affairs (Rev. 15:2, 3). It is observed, therefore, that many words in this song are put in the future tense, noting a time to come; and the very first word, ver. 1, “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song;” ירשׁי, shall sing; implying, that it was composed and calculated for the celebrating some greater action of God’s, which was to be wrought in the world. Upon this account, some of the Jewish rabbins, from the consideration of this remark, asserted the doctrine of the resurrection to be meant in this place; that Moses and those Israelites should rise again to sing the same song, for some greater miracles God should work, and greater triumphs he should bring forth, exceeding those wonders at their deliverance from Egypt.

It consists of, 1. A preface (ver. 1); “I will sing unto the Lord.” 2. An historical narration of matter of fact (ver. 3, 4), “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the Red Sea;” which he solely ascribes to God (ver. 6), “Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy;” which he doth prophetically, as respecting something to be done in after- times; or further for the completing of that deliverance; or, as others think, respecting their entering into Canaan; for the words, in these two verses, are put in the future tense. The manner of the deliverance is described (ver. 8); “The floods stood up right as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.” In the 9th. verse, he magnifies the victory from the vain glory and security of the enemy; “The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil,” &c. And ver. 16, 17, He prophetically describes the fruit of this victory, in the influence it shall have upon those nations, by whose confines they were to travel to the promised land; “Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thy arm they shall be as still as a stone, till thy people pass over which thou hast purchased.” The phrase of this and the 17th and 18th verses, seems to be more magnificent than to design only the bringing the Israelites to the earthly Canaan; but seems to respect the gathering his redeemed ones together, to place them in the spiritual sanctuary’ which he had established, wherein the Lord should reign forever and ever, without any enemies to disturb his royalty; “The Lord shall reign forever and ever” (18th). The prophet, in the midst of his historical narrative, seems to be in an ecstasy, and breaks out in a stately exaltation of God in the text.

Who is thee unto thee, O Lard, among the gods? &c. Interrogations are, in Scripture, the strongest affirmations or negations; it is here a strong affirmation of the incomparableness of God, and a strong denial of the worthiness of all creatures to be partners with him in the degrees of his excellency; it is a preference of God before all creatures in holiness, to which the purity of creatures is but a shadow in desert of reverence and veneration, he being “fearful in praises.” The angels cover their faces when they adore him in his particular perfections.

Amongst the gods. Among the idols of the nations, say some; others say, it is not to be found that the Heathen idols are ever dignified with the title of “strong or mighty,” as the word translated gods, doth import; and therefore understand it of the angels, or other potentates of the world; or rather inclusively, of all that are noted for, or can lay claim to, the title of strength and might upon the earth or in heaven. God is so great and majestic, that no creature can share with him in his praise.

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