"Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David." Psalm 89:35.
HOLINESS is an essential perfection of God: it is an inseparable part of His being. To conceive of a God infinite in essence, divine in majesty, almighty in power, wise in counsel, and eternal in duration, and yet destitute of holiness, infinite, essential purity—to suppose such a Being possessed of the least contagion of moral evil, would be to portray to the imagination—in reverence be it written—an infinite monster! We should picture Him before us arrayed with infinite power, wisdom, and duration, and yet wanting in that perfection which tempers, chastens, and beautifies all, and which makes Him truly what His word reveals Him to be—a God of love. A denial of His being would not be a crime so fearful, nor involve guilt of deeper dye, than would be a denial of His holiness. He who refuses to acknowledge that God is immaculately holy breathes a more tremendous libel against God than the atheist, who, standing in the midst of ten thousand overwhelming demonstrations of His existence, yet impiously declares there is no God!
How rich and palpable are the Scripture proofs—rather say, revelations and unfoldings—of God's holiness. One or two must suffice. That is a sublime and conclusive one uttered by the lips of the veiled cherubim—"And one cried unto 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 moved at the voice of Him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke." Was there no other Divine perfection, which they might have thus extolled? Oh yes! Jehovah was infinitely wise, infinitely powerful, and infinitely good; but holiness was the greatest and grandest of all; and so they cry, "holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts!" thus breathing forth their adoration to the holy Triune God.
Again, in the words of our motto, "Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David." Why did not God swear by His veracity, by His wisdom, or by His power? Because He was about to enunciate a great truth to the house of David; and with a view of imparting to that truth its greatest force, solemnity, and beauty, He swears by His holiness. As if He did say "Holiness is my most illustrious perfection, my grandest attribute; and by it I swear that I will make good my word, that I will not lie unto David." For as "men, verily swear by the greater," so God swears by His holiness, His greatest perfection and highest glory. Oh, you saints of the Most High, who, standing in the region of doubt, and enshrouded by dark providences, are led to ask, "Will God make good the promise upon which He has caused my soul to rest?"—look at this great truth—God has sworn by His holiness that He will not lie, and you have the warrant and the encouragement to trust in God, to confide in His word, and to resign yourself and all your interests into His fatherly, faithful, though chastening hands. By this solemn oath He has bound Himself to make good to the letter His every precious promise.