The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. (Genesis 6:5)
This is God’s declaration of the sinfulness of man. God can speak about man’s state because His judgment is absolutely right. However, whether I can speak about God’s holiness is another thing. Even though I am redeemed and looking forward to the completion of that redemption, I do not yet see Him as He really is.
But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2b)
Until that time, we know Him as He has revealed Himself in the Scriptures.
The Song of Moses
Moses and the Israelites sang about God’s holiness after Israel passed safely through the sea and the Egyptians were drowned:
Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? (Exodus 15:11)
This song describes God in transcendent terms, not physical ones. Holiness and glory are not descriptive in a limited way like the words tall or blue or sophisticated. When we add majestic and awesome, we begin to understand Moses’ rhetorical question, “Who is like you?” The obvious answer is that there is no one like Him.
A Song of David
David composed a song when he brought the ark of God to Jerusalem. It was sung to the accompaniment of an orchestra. We do not have the music, but we still have the words - inspired words:
Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place. Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength, ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. (1 Chronicles 16:27-30)
Splendor and majesty, strength and joy. These words do not describe God; they describe the things in His presence, as if He is more than the words can encompass and this is what is required just to be in His presence.