Transcendence describes the quality and worth of God Himself. It is the recognition that God is exalted beyond any measure. His transcendence is based on His glorious holiness and harmonizes with his superiority, supremacy, and sovereignty. It is the quality of God that indicates that He is of the highest and purest quality and illuminates His worth. As Isaiah stated, God is the “high and lofty One” (Isaiah 57:15).
There is some confusion with this word because of the way English speakers use the word “transcend.” For example, the phrase, “that classic story transcends time.” By this the speaker infers that the principle of the story is applicable to any time and therefore “goes beyond the normal boundaries” (transcends) of time. The story, captured in a physical book, resides within one’s grasp mentally and physically despite its antiquity. However, the word “transcend” takes on a quality of nearness. As a result, we may infer that divine transcendence is a divine nearness. While it is true that God is near – His omnipresence is possible because God is Spirit and time and space are nothing to Him – our tendency to think in physical terms misconstrues the true meaning. The reality of God goes beyond what we could ever possibly imagine or what we could behold. Thus, His excellent greatness goes beyond comprehension. He is so holy, so high, so great, so powerful, so wise, so EVERYTHING that His divinity is succinctly described as transcendent. There is nothing that the goodness and greatness of God can compare. To say that the excellent quality of God’s intrinsic goodness far exceeds our own is as dramatic an understatement as could possibly be uttered.
As a result, we must become enraptured with the ineffable worth of God. We must become fascinated with the “beauty of holiness” found only in God (Psalm 29:2). We must become focused on the Holy One whose glory exceeds description. Consider the personal manifestations of God to men – Moses, Joshua, John, and others. The dominant response was fear and reverence at the appearing of the Holy One. As the Hebrew preacher admonished, “…Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:” (Hebrews 12:28). When we lose the fear of the Lord we will lose the fear of consequences and live recklessly. There is a great need for Christians and churches to extol and exalt the Lord. Because of the holiness of God that goes beyond any imaginable measure one should adore none other. The sin of this great omission is called idolatry, and it has persisted as preaching and praising of doxology has faded or vanished entirely. Those who “backslide” and slip away from faithfulness in God do so, according to Hosea, because they turned away from the call of the preachers to exalt the one worthy God (Hosea 11:7).
The Bible encourages the praise of the excellence of God. The first song transcribed in the Bible begins with a declaration that the Israelites would exalt the Lord (Exodus 15:1-2). They recognized what many today have forgotten: that God is the source of strength of their salvation, and He is the One who has triumphed gloriously. Recognition of this amazing worth should cause Christians not to deal so casually with God. We should more greatly fix our minds upon Him, more courageously center life upon Him, more fervently call upon His greatness in the time of need, more passionately devote all things to Him, more sorrowfully confess sins, more exuberantly rejoice over His mercy, and more urgently declare His Gospel. Praise must become a consistent aspect of our devotional life. In order to do this, we should “magnify the LORD,” “worship at his footstool; for he is holy,” and “bless [his] name for ever and ever” (Psalm 34:3, 99:5, 145:1). Christians should follow the admonition found in the music of Audrey Mieir: “bow down before Him, love and adore Him” because “His name is Wonderful.”
My Prayer for Today:
You are the great One whose glory and holiness go beyond anything that I can imagine. I long to be enraptured by Your greatness. That I could worship and adore You for all eternity is a manifold blessing that permits to be behold the beauty of holiness all of my days. I praise you for Your excellent greatness, for Your magnificent divinity, and for Your sweet salvation. You are worthy of worship! I pray that you will give me grace that I can serve you acceptably with reverence and godly fear. In all things that I do, may it redound to your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.