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I was struck by the following quotes as I read Jackie Hill Perry’s new book Holier Than Thou: How God’s Holiness Helps Us Trust Him (B&H, 2021).


If God is holy, then he can’t sin. If God can’t sin, then he can’t sin against me. If he can’t sin against me, shouldn’t that make him the most trustworthy being there is? (2)

Of all the things the serpent could come for, it is our faith he attacks most. (4)

To say that God is holy is to say that God is God. . . . Holiness is not an aspect of God; holy is who he is through and through. His attributes are never at odds with one another, nor do they switch places depending on God’s mood; they are him. (14, 15)

To want God to withhold justice is to want God to make himself an abomination. (17)

The contemporary man keeps his Bible closed in an attempt to quench its light. Others manufacture half-truths about God or refuse orthodoxy as a way to keep the Son out. Isaiah did neither, and he couldn’t even if he tried. When by the throne of the Holy One, the supreme virtue of his very being forced everything in Isaiah that didn’t look like God to come out of hiding. (30–31)

At the point when we begin to think of God as being anything other than holy is the moment we are imagining a completely different god altogether. (36)

The serpent still incentivizes unbelief by promising that it will make us “like God,” but our motive has never been to be like God in terms of righteousness but of rights. We lust after ultimate authority, plant our flag in shallow soil, and claim ourselves, and others, as our property. It’s not until the law is put before us that in its mirror, we see that we haven’t become like God at all. We have only imaged Satan. (36–37)

Holiness is what makes real love possible. Without it, love is purely sentimental. (38)

Holiness (and goodness) should never be determined by the whims, wishes, and standards of a created thing or even a whole culture. Especially when that culture’s ideas are so easily influenced by the deceitful hearts within it, as well as its overall mutability, taking different shapes in conformity to its era. . . . God defines God. (42)

At the moment Eve believed the word of the serpent, rebelling against the word of God, her misplaced faith reflected what she believed about the holiness of God. To her, God—not the serpent—was the liar among them. (49)

The problem with our nature is that it corrupts our minds, inflates our ego, meddles with our vision, and darkens our understanding so that when God decides to tell us anything, we determine its integrity by how we feel over who God has revealed himself to be. That is not to say that all unbelief is emotional, but it is to say that our decision-making in regards to what we believe about God is never isolated from our affections. (50)

You may be tempted to believe that God has changed because your circumstances have, but if that were the case, he wouldn’t be God. He’d be you. (79)

We take what God called good and remove a letter. (95)

In the exchange of the truth about God for the lie that social media can become, every “like” feels like praise, every comment feels like prayer, and every follow feels like heaven, one that we have constructed to the glory of our own name. (99)

If we have traded God for an idol, we are not left to ourselves, away from his compassion or help. We can trade back. This is called repentance—turning from a dead idol to follow the God who not only has life in himself but more than enough to share with you. (103)

There is nothing so unlike God than sin. (107)

In an attempt to justify their belief that God isn’t antagonistic toward sin, there are those that will say, “God is love.” They most likely don’t realize it but what they’re ultimately claiming is that God is unjust. (109)

We are so used to the patience of God that we are more stunned by his judgments than we are by his forbearance. (118)

Underneath human anxiety is the reversal of identity in which the finite attempts to be infinite. With our finite knowledge, we want to know everything so as not to be caught off guard by anything. With our finite abilities, we want and try to control everything so we’re not controlled by anything. We fail to do both because it’s impossible to be like God. (145)

We will want and choose to put to death what is earthly in us when we believe God is infinitely better than everything we are tempted to leave him for. (163)

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