“What Makes God So Totally Different?” -- By: John H. Armstrong

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 04:2 (Spring 1995)
Article: “What Makes God So Totally Different?”
Author: John H. Armstrong


“What Makes God So Totally Different?”

John H. Armstrong

One of the greatest minds America has produced was saturated with the great truths of Scripture. I refer to the mind of Jonathan Edwards, a philosopher and theologian of the most Christian sort. His was a worldview filled with Christ and His kingdom.

It was Edwards, this profoundly biblical thinker, who wrote, “Holiness is more than a mere attribute of God—it is the sum of all His attributes, the outshining of all that God is.”

Within the revelation of God in sacred writ nothing is more plainly accentuated than the excellency of Jehovah’s holiness. Over 900 times the word holy is used. Any object or place associated with God is designated as holy. Any person who lives in covenantal relationship with Him is called to be holy.

When the redeemed sing to the Lamb in the Revelation they say:

Great and marvelous are Thy works,

O Lord God, the Almighty;

Righteous and true are Thy ways,

Thou King of the nations.

Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Thy name?

For Thou alone are holy;

For all the nations will come and worship before Thee,

For Thy righteous acts have been revealed (Rev. 15:3–4).

Forty times in the Old Testament God is called “the Holy One” or “the Holy One of Israel.” Twenty two times we read of “the holy name.” Again and again God calls upon His people to be holy, as seen in a representative text like this, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” (Lev. 19:2).

In the New Testament the same truth runs like a solid thread throughout. The third person of the triune Godhead, revealed as the One who empowers us in this present age, is called more often than by any other designation, “the Holy Spirit,” reminding us of the work He comes to accomplish in and through Christian believers.

The Puritan Stephen Charnock wrote, “Holiness is God’s beauty and glory. When God would be drawn—as much as He can be—He is drawn in this attribute of holiness. Power is in His hand; omniscience in His eyes; mercy in His bowels; but holiness is His beauty!”

If God speaks through a burning bush the ground of that place becomes “holy ground” (Ex. 3:5). Articles used in the worship of the true God are “holy objects” (Num. 4:19). The...

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