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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

An Exposition of the Assembly's
Shorter Catechism

by John Flavel


Of God's Holiness

Q. 1. How manifold is the Holiness of God?
A. The Holiness of God is twofold: Communicable, or Incommunicable; of his communicable holiness the Apostle speaks. Hebrews 12:10. But he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Of his incommunicable holiness that Scripture speaks. 1 Samuel 2:2. There is none holy as the Lord.

Q. 2. What is the essential and incommunicable Holiness of God?
A. It is the infinite purity of his Nature, whereby he delights in his own holiness, and the resemblance of it in his Creatures, and hates all impurity. Habakkuk 1:13. Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.

Q. 3. What is the first property of God's Holiness?
A. He is essentially Holy. Holiness is not a separable quality in God, as it is in Angels and Men: but his Being and his Holiness are one thing.

Q. 4. What is the second property of God's Holiness?
A. God is essentially Holy, the author and fountain of all communicated Holiness. Leviticus 20:8. I am the Lord which sanctifieth you.

Q. 5. What is the third property?
A. That the holiness of God is the perfect rule and pattern of holiness to all Creatures. 1 Peter 1:16. Be ye holy, for I am holy.

Q. 6. What is the first Instruction?
A. That the holiest of men have cause to be ashamed and humbled when the come before God. Isaiah 6:3, 5. And one cried unto another, saying, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory. Then said I, Woe is me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, etc.

Q. 7. What is the second Instruction from God's holiness?
A. That there is no coming near to God without a Mediator; for our God is a consuming fire.

Q. 8. What is the third Instruction from God's holiness?
A. That holiness is indispensably necessary, to all those which shall dwell with him in Heaven. Hebrews 12:14. And, holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.

Q. 9. What is the fourth Instruction from hence?
A. That the Gospel is of inestimable value, as it is the instrument of conveying the Holiness of God to us. 2 Corinthians 3:18. But we all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord. John 17:17. Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth.

Q. 10. What is the last instruction from God's holiness?
A. That all the despisers and scoffers of holiness, are despisers of God; for holiness is the very Nature of God; and in the Creature it is his represented Image.

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