Holy, Spotless, Merciful

And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.”—Genesis 6:17 (NKJV)

God is holy. But what does this really mean? It means He is absolutely opposed to sin and completely committed to judging it. The holiness of God means He can never share space with sin any more than an open flame can share space with a pile of dried leaves. 

We see God’s holiness on display in the verse above as He tells Noah He’s going to destroy the earth’s inhabitants. Remember, the context is mankind’s downward spiral into sin (Genesis 6:5). Sin had so consumed humanity that God’s holy nature necessitated His holy intervention.

But, God’s commitment to deal with sin is equally balanced by His compassion towards mankind. His holiness is matched by His mercy, and this mercy is seen in the very next verse: “But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you” (Genesis 6:18 NKJV).

God tells Noah that although His judgment of sin would literally cover the earth, He will also make a special covenant with him. The word covenant basically means a solemn agreement or promise of God. The Lord is promising Noah that amid His holy judgment, He would protect and preserve Noah’s family. And notice, it wasn’t just Noah’s family that would be saved. The Bible says, “And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you . . .” (Genesis 6:19 NKJV).

As humans, we need to understand that God’s holiness is bad news as far as sin is concerned. Ultimately, sin has no future because God is holy. If things ended there, this would be really bad news for us, because we understand how strong sin has a hold on us.

But there’s also good news: God is also merciful! And His mercy moves Him to make a covenant with us, as it did with Noah—a promise of protection and preservation from His judgment. This covenant was fulfilled in the sacrifice of God’s Son, who died on our behalf so that we would be spared from the floodwaters of His divine judgment. Take a moment today to dwell on this good news!

DIG: What’s the relationship between God’s holiness and His mercy?

DISCOVER: How is this relationship seen in Noah’s narrative? How is this relationship seen in your life?

DO: Thank the Lord today for His holiness and mercy.

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.