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Image by Todd Trapani

The Most Important Revelation

Question 1: What is the most important revelation?


While God may reveal himself in many ways during the twists and turns of our journey, we believe the most important revelation comes when God’s light first breaks upon us and we glimpse who he is for the first time. Just as the early earth was in chaos and underwater, and God said, “Let there be light,” we too were groping in the dark chaos, spiritually drowning in deep waters until the light of God’s life broke across our vision for the first time. Until then we were unaware of the darkness of sin that surrounds us. 

While in this darkness, God calls out to us, revealing himself as the Holy One who makes the pathway out of the darkness.

It’s this revelation of God as holy that instills the fear of the Lord as the first step forward—the fear of the Lord is a direct result of the revelation of God as God and an encounter with his awesome holiness, thus revealing our stark lack. We know holiness when we encounter it: it crushes us, humbles us, knocks us off our feet—like Saul when encountering Christ’s blinding light on the road to Damascus. We become immediately convinced of our sinful state like Isaiah or Peter and have no response but repentance. An encounter with God’s holiness always brings repentance because it convicts us of our sins.

The revelation of God's holiness is meant to radically adjust our perspective to the proper sense of our place of reverence before God.

It instantly convinces every part of our idolatrous hearts that we are NOT God, and that we don't get to rule from our definitions of right and wrong. It is this revelation of God’s holiness that strips us of cherished sins, smug superiority, dryness of doctrine, and impersonal service. It is what causes us to know God. This leads us to the proper response of worship, repentance, and surrender. Each person who encounters our holy God responds with “You are a holy God…I am a sinner…therefore, I surrender.” 


Moses hides his face from the revelation of God’s glory amid the bush that burns without being consumed. Moses sees who he is in light of God’s holiness—and is forever humbled. All of Israel backs away in terror when God’s throne descends on Mt. Sinai, scorching the mountain and searing into their hearts the realization that a holy God dwells in unapproachable holiness. Isaiah, a man with a reputation for righteousness, responds in dismayed awe when he sees God’s throne—he repents for himself and his people. Peter tells Jesus to go away from him because he knows he is a sinner standing in the presence of holiness. Paul is knocked to the ground by the light of Christ, surrenders immediately, and becomes a relentless firebrand of the Gospel. John is so overcome by his vision of Christ that he falls "like a dead man.”

All aspects of God’s nature and everything we encounter from his mighty works are rooted in his perfect holiness.

His name, which speaks of all his nature, is holy (Psalm 103:1). He is "righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works" (Psalm 145:17).


"As sincerity is the lustre of every grace in a Christian, so is purity the splendor of every attribute in the Godhead. His justice is a holy justice; his wisdom a holy wisdom; his arm of power a holy arm (Psalm 98:1); his truth or promise a holy promise (Psalm 105:42): it is the rule of all his acts, the source of all his punishments...Without it, his patience would be an indulgence to sin, his mercy a fondness, his wrath a madness, his power a tyranny, his wisdom an unworthy subtlety." (Stephen Charnock, Attributes of God)


Rightly encountered, the holiness of God re-positions us in grateful reconnection to his life-sustaining holiness. This holy God who calls us out of darkness refuses to leave us as we are. Human flourishing proceeds from His holy presence. Now we see his holy ardor pursue us to win us. Now we glimpse God’s great and holy love—the unfathomable, inexorable, unmatched, implacable passion to have us return to the place we belong. Dwelling with God not only provides life but also the sense of belonging we long for. Those who truly glimpse this great love of God are irrevocably changed—so great is this holy love of God that we’ll never come to the end of it.

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