A Holy, Holy, Holy Coronation
This Saturday in London, the Coronation of His Majesty The King will be televised for the world to see. It will be a ceremony full of pageantry and celebration, a British tradition that has taken place for over a thousand years.1
Whatever you think of the Royal Family, it’s guaranteed to be a spectacle. The music, jewels, dress, weapons, animals, automobiles, and art will all have been carefully prepared to the finest detail with one purpose: to declare to the world that Charles III is king.
The Bible declares, without equivocation, that God is the only one living and true King. “For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations” (Psalm 22:28); “He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings” (Daniel 2:21).
And while the Creator King never needed an official coronation ceremony to validate his rule before time began, there is a moment of declaration in Scripture worth remembering in light of this regal weekend.
The prophet Isaiah, at the moment of his calling, receives a vision of the Lord sitting on his throne with seraphim on either side. He hears one seraph make this declaration to the other seraph: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3)
Make note of the emphasis made in this declaration. It wasn’t enough to say, “God is holy.” No, the seraph had to say “holy” three times to capture the depth and breadth of God’s holiness.
It’s as if I were to come home from a walk and tell my wife, Luella, “I saw this guy on the street who was huge, huge, huge!” Luella would know right away that this was not an average big guy; she would know that this guy was the biggest guy I had ever seen.
Even though Luella could not see this guy with her own eyes, I would try to employ a descriptive tactic that would help her imagination start to visualize his height and weight.
The triple repetition of “holy, holy, holy” in Isaiah is meant to stretch the boundaries of your imagination. Whatever it means to say that God is holy, you need to know that he is in an entirely different category of holiness; he is much holier than you ever thought holiness could be.
But the seraph isn’t done: “The whole earth is filled with his glory.”
How great is the holiness of this God? Great enough to fill the whole earth in every dimension! This weekend’s coronation might fill a few streets of London at best.
These words are carefully crafted under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to take your imagination where it has never gone before. They are meant to blow your mind with the thought that God is not like anything you have ever encountered before.
He is holy, holy, holy, earth-filling and gloriously holy. He is holy unlike anyone or anything that has ever been called holy. He is the sum and definition of what it means to be holy.
When compared to God, nothing that exists is holy. His holiness is so far beyond anything in our everyday experience that we have no comparisons or categories to help us understand it.
And because he is holy, the King of kings is due whatever worship, service, and obedience he is pleased to require from angels, people, and every other creature.
This weekend, as the world watches the coronation of an earthly king, stop and pray that the eyes of your heart would open and that somehow, someway, you would get even a little glimpse of the mind-blowing grandeur of the holiness of the Heavenly King.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll dive into why the doctrine of God’s holiness should change how we live.
Paul David Tripp
1 Information about The Coronation was gathered from royal.uk/coronation
How might the coronation of Charles III serve as a helpful spiritual representation of the Kingship of Christ? Even though it will fall short of the glory of God, what truths can you remind yourself of as you watch?
Read 1 Kings 7, Solomon Builds His Palace. How can you dedicate your gifting, your time, and the best of your resources to the glory of God and the advancement of His Kingdom? What are you withholding from God and using for selfish gain?
What is the most impressive thing you have seen with your eyes that you have tried to describe to someone who was not there? What words did you use? How did your description fall short of what you experienced?
How did you display your unholiness this week? Be specific. What was your immediate reaction to your sin? Was it grief, like Isaiah, crying out, “Woe is me! For I am lost” (Isa. 6:5), or was it defense, justification, or pointing the finger of blame elsewhere?
Do you live with the freedom that Isaiah experienced, or are you weighed down by your sin that has been cleansed? “And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”” What does living in light of Christ’s substitution practically look like for you in everyday life?