The God of Holiness and Hope

2012 The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference


What does it mean for God to be holy? In this 52-minute session from the 2012 TGC Women’s Conference, John Piper walks women through Isaiah 6 to describe the majesty and holiness of God.

John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary. For 33 years, he served as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has authored over 50 books including Desiring God and Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ. 


When have you learned something new about the character of God that completely changed your understanding of Him? What was it you learned? How did it impact your faith and relationship with God?
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Isaiah 6:1-10 (ESV)

Isaiah’s Vision of the Lord

1In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.2Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.3And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;

the whole earth is full of his glory!”

4And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.5And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

6Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar.7And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

Isaiah’s Commission from the Lord

8And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”9And he said, “Go, and say to this people:

“‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;

keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’

10 Make the heart of this people dull,

and their ears heavy,

and blind their eyes;

lest they see with their eyes,

and hear with their ears,

and understand with their hearts,

and turn and be healed.”

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



John described the seven glimpses of God we learn from these verses:

  1. God is alive and he will be alive for forever.
  2. God it authoritative.
  3. God is omnipotent.
  4. God is resplendent.
  5. God is revered.
  6. God is holy.
  7. God is glorious.

Which of these attributes make you think deeply about God in a new way? Which is the hardest for you to understand, and why? Which is the most encouraging, and why?
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John said, “This absolutely authoritative, sovereign, and omnipotent God is a refuge for holy women who hope in God and experience tsunamis of pain.” When has God been your refuge in suffering? What attributes of His character do you stand on and find comfort in through pain?
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John said, “God is infinitely valuable, determining the value and the goodness and the truth of everything else.” List the five people, things, or virtues that you value most (ex: family, love, beauty, nature, integrity). If all worth is found in God alone, what do your five things display about the character and nature of God?
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John 12:37-43 (ESV)

37Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him,38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,

and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

39Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,

40 “He has blinded their eyes

and hardened their heart,

lest they see with their eyes,

and understand with their heart, and turn,

and I would heal them.”

41Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.42Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue;43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



John said, “Fatih in this Jesus is impossible for those who crave the approval of other people more than they crave knowing and enjoying the glory of God…They do not want an authoritative God over them [Isaiah 6] and they do not want a suffering Savior [Isaiah 53] that might imply they have to take up their cross and follow Him.” 

In what ways do you crave the approval of others more than knowledge and enjoyment of God? Which fulfillment of Jesus–glorious king or suffering servant–might you feel tempted to reject or ignore? Why?
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Lord, may we come to understand your infinite value and worth. May your sovereignty be our refuge. May your holiness be our treasure. May the sweet juxtaposition of your majesty and mercy be our vision. Amen.  


To learn more about The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference and how you can attend the next event, click here.