Christianity · doctrine · Holiness · Scholars · theologians · theology

RC Sproul’s “The Holiness of God” pt.3


Continuing my series going through RC Sproul’s, “Holiness of God.”

Chapter three, The Fearful Mystery.

“We fear God because He is holy. Our fear is not the healthy fear that the Bible encourages us to have. Our fear is a servile fear, a fear born of dread. God is too great for us; He is too awesome.”

This is how the next chapter ends. Dr. Sproul finally begins to tackle a definition of the word “holy.” I say “begins to” because to even attempt it is somewhat moot. It’s a word that is in essence its own definition. I pointed this out earlier with a previous post. Since Dr. Sproul goes through twelve pages attempting it, as well as quoting a researcher who went about going through different cultures and seeking how they define it (and still finding confusion), I would suggest giving it a read.

In only 10 minutes you could become a smidgen more understanding of what it means to attempt to define a difficult word/concept. The one big take away I love is the use of the word “awe-ful.” It’s something I’ve heard in the past. The word “awe,” is something that has changed in the English language in the past few decades. It used to be something quite a bit more grandiose. “Awe-ful” is the greater of “awe,” and “awesome” is…

well, just 21st century drivel (in my opinion).

To be in awe of something was to stand back and say, in essence, “My word, what else can I say but, absolutely marvelous and frightening, in a mostly good way.” Today it has become a much lessened meaning, especially with “awesome.” And to be “awful,” something derivative of it, is the negative to “awe-ful.” If I were into confusing people to no end, I would attempt to bring it back, just like, “That’s so fetch.”

Onto the questions…

  1. In what ways is God an awe-ful mystery to you?
    In that, the depths of understanding Him I will never accomplish the fullness of that goal. I am reminded of the blessing that in being identified with Christ’s righteousness by faith, I don’t have to see that as something that is lacking. Therefore I may enjoy seeking and learning forever in His presence. All of that even though He is absolutely awe-ful!
  2. Does God’s mystery comfort you or frighten you?
    It comforts me. I don’t really remember a time when it frightened me. I find that to be a great blessing. I’ve heard people be taken aback by His mystery and even taken to a point of despair. I can only think of Paul’s prayers. Specifically to the Philippians regarding them growing in the knowledge of God.
  3. What do you learn about yourself as you comprehend the mystery of God’s holiness?
    That I am finite. That he is utterly transcendent. That I cannot compare. That he is gracious in revealing even an ounce of Himself to His creation, and that I am blessed to be His adopted son in Jesus Christ.
  4. During the coming week, how will you worship God for the mystery of His holiness?
    I pray I can remember to pray my introductions at my evening prayers. It is the most enjoyable thing for me to be able to pray to a God that I know hears me. And I thank Jesus that He brings my prayers to the Lord, and that His Spirit within me is the promise of its certainty.


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