Currently trending in contemporary Christian circles is the concept of God’s great love, His special relationship as our Father, and that no matter what we do He still loves us. While all this is true, there is an important element that the modern Church tends to overlook.
And that element is God’s holiness.
“For I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst…”
“I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face,
and in their distress earnestly seek me.”
God is love. God is holy. While these two characteristics may seem slightly contradictory, they go hand-in-hand and are both found in the God we serve. We cannot accept one without the other. God loves us with a holy love, and He is a holy God who loves His people. His love is unconditional, but not blind. It is not blind because He is also a God of holiness, justice, and wrath, and therefore, cannot let sin go unpunished. He cannot accept anything but perfection into His presence, and nothing can overcome that, not even His unconditional love.
Israel learned this the hard way. They decided to enjoy other gods while claiming the promises of the one true God and holding on to their position as His special people. So even though God greatly loved His chosen people, their sin and blatant unfaithfulness ignited the holy wrath and anger of the Lord. It drove Him away from their presence and alienated them from their God.
Holy love. That’s what Hosea is all about. A love so strong that continues in the face of deliberate unfaithfulness, and a holiness that requires blamelessness, purity, and virtue. This is the central theme of Hosea and the two divine attributes upon which it is build.
So even though we are under a new covenant and redeemed by the blood of Christ, do we have a healthy fear of the holy God we serve? Have we come to accept not only the immeasurable love of God, but also His holiness?
Without the appropriate understanding of the holiness of God, we cannot adequately fear and respect the God we serve.* So as we dive into the book of Hosea, let us always keep the love and holiness of God forefront in our minds. We don’t want to follow in the footsteps of Israel, who lost sight of the fire of Mount Sinai and His covenant relationship with them. So let us take heed and always remember that God’s love is a holy love.
“I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them.”
*You can learn more about God’s holiness by jumping over to our Who is God? Series and reading this post.