“‘Holy, holy, holy’ is not just repetition; it is emphasis. … The holiness of God distinguishes Him absolutely, even from the sinless angels.” — Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr., Isaiah: God Saves Sinners, 77.

Holiness is not the mag-stripe ID card that grants access to the restricted areas of Heaven, including the presence of God. The “emphasis” on the holiness of God goes beyond just separating God from sinners; it is the separation of God from everything else.

When I read the above quote, it struck me as something I hadn’t thought of that much. The seraphim aren’t sinful, and they’re given access to the throne of Yahweh Himself–yet two of their wings are devoted to hiding their faces. The holiness of the Triune God is such that even sinless beings dare not presume upon Him.

And yet, the seraphim sing. They are humble, but not ashamed. Their everlasting call-and-response is a celebration of the one their eyes dare not rest upon.

But then, consider: this thrice-holy Triune God sings, too. What makes Him sing is His love for every last individual born-again saint. The eternal boiling-over of love within the Trinity is expanded to include everyone who is in Jesus.

And John says, “We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2 HCSB). The first time Jesus came, we saw Him as we are; then, when He comes again, we will see Him as He is.

And the seraphim have plenty of room for us to join in the song.


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