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Today's Little Lift

    by Jim Bullington

Holy, Holy, Holy! (Isaiah 6:3)
Date Posted: September 20, 2022

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound? I suspect you have heard this old question. The answer entirely depends upon how one defines the word sound. Well, I have another question for you; it is not as simple and the answer to this question (unlike the old teaser cited above) has some real and lasting consequences. Here is the question: Is anything sacred?

No, this is not a joke nor is it a diatribe on today’s society and its ills. It is a serious question which deserves serious consideration and reflection. However, before proceeding it needs to be recognized that the word sacred and the word holy are more than cousins; they are, for all practical purposes, synonyms. To ask if anything is sacred is to ask if anything is holy. Again, the answer to this question directly impacts one’s worldview as well as one’s response to the everyday events of the world.

As a place to begin, I have chosen to quote a passage from the sixth chapter of Isaiah. “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!’ And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.” (Isaiah 5.1-4). It is significant that the heavenly creatures (seraphim) recognized something as holy/sacred.

However, here is a question: Had the seraphim failed to recognize God as holy, what would that have meant for them and for God? First, it simply would have meant that the seraphim were wrong! Secondly, their failure to see God as sacred would not have done anything TO God (except disappoint Him). He would have been Holy God had they recognized Him as such or not. He did not become holy by their proclamation! He was holy before they reacted the way they did and He was holy after their display of reverence. The point is this: God is The Eternal Holy One. He was, is, and always will be Holy. This is true regardless of how anyone reacts to Him, or any proclamations for or against Him. He is the self-existent essence of holiness!

Unlike sound (by some definitions), holiness does not have to be perceived by anyone for it to exist. God is holy because He is God. If no man recognizes Him as such, He is unchanged. In a similar way, righteous men are holy regardless of whether anyone recognizes it or not. True holiness does not depend upon the approval or sanction of any man or group of men. To be holy is to be accepted of God – not of man! Those who think they have to vote to determine if a departed brother or sister should be called saint usurp an authority that only God possesses. Since God is the essence of holiness, all things that are truly holy are inferior to Him in authority and glory.

Is anything sacred? Yes, it absolutely is! The real question is whether we will recognize that which is sacred! A long time ago, the wise man wrote, “Fools mock at sin, But among the upright there is favor.” (Proverbs 14.9). God, the self-existent Holy One, determines what is sacred. When we ignore that which He has declared to be sacred, we mock Him and His holiness! When we reverence that which He has declared to be Sacred, we uphold His holiness and reverence Him at the same time!


1. What is the biblical difference (if any) between the concepts of being sacred and being holy?

2. How did God become holy (think before you answer)?

3. How does someone (or something) become holy in the biblical sense? Who must sanction (or agree with) that assessment?

4. How do fools treat sin? What is implied about our view of God’s holiness when we knowingly laugh at sin?

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Biography Information:
Jim Bullington - A Christian writer whose insight into the scriptures is reflected in practical application lessons in every article. The reader will find that the Bible speaks directly to him/her through these articles. God is always exalted and His word is treated with the utmost respect in this column.
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