As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I'm participating in Reading the Classics Together with Tim Challies, Leslie Wiggins, and others. Although Challies has hosted a number of these community reading/discussion groups, this is the first in which I am participating.
The first thing that struck me while reading The Holiness of God is Sproul's rich, descriptive language. It is not hard to find yourself in his shoes: feeling what he feels, hearing what he hears, seeing what he sees. I found it easy to experience what Sproul had experienced and to resonate with his thirst, zeal, and passion for the things of God. In this opening chapter, Sproul writes about how he came to desire to know God more fully, and how he came to realize that the holiness of God "is basic to our whole understanding of God and of Christianity" (pg. 24).
I found Sproul's thoughts regarding the Lord's Prayer intriguing. He noted that "The first line of the prayer is not a petition. It is a form of personal address" (pg. 24). He then goes on to remark that the first petition in the prayer is "…hallowed be thy name. They kingdom come…" Here's what I found thought-provoking:
"There is a kind of sequence within the prayer. God's kingdom will never come where His name is not hallowed. His will is not done on earth as it is in heaven if His name is desecrated here…It is foolish to look for the kingdom anywhere God is not revered" (pg. 25).
However, I wonder if this is fully accurate. Can God's kingdom not come or will it not come if none of us were to regard Him as holy? Indeed, it already has come and is coming through and because of Christ in spite of the fact that God's name is not regarded as holy among the masses. (Matthew 12:28, Luke 10:9-11) Nothing can stop His plan. Though, 'tis true that one day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Isaiah 45:23, Romans 14:10-11, Philippians 2:9-11), this is not presently the case.
One thing is true:
"How we understand the person and character of God the Father affects every aspect of our lives…we must seek to understand what the holy is...There can be no worship, no spiritual growth, no true obedience without it. It defines our goal as Christians. God has declared, 'Be ye holy, for I am holy.' [Leviticus 11:44, 1 Peter 1:15-16] To reach that goal we must understand what holiness is" (pg. 25-26).
Will you join me in seeking to grow in your understanding of the holiness of God? If so, read Chapter 2 in The Holiness of God by R. C. Sproul, and prepare to share your thoughts in the comments section.