The Trauma of Holiness (Dr. Sproul)

The Holiness of God: The Trauma of Holiness

R.C. Sproul


  1. Begin with reading Psalm 99 and prayer.

  2. Before we watch Dr. R.C. Sproul’s second lecture, “The Trauma of Holiness,” here’s a question:

Question: Consider that word traumatic (some synonyms are distressing, disturbing, upsetting). Have you thought about God’s holiness in that way before? What about holiness is traumatic?

  1. To prepare the mind for the second lecture, read article “No Squishy Love,” by Timothy George, posted July 29, 2013 on the First Things blog (click here).

  2. The wrath of God is the outbreak of God’s holy love that trouble us, makes us uncomfortable, because we know—fundamentally and very practically—our God is not to be trifled with. He is dangerous. Drawing near to Him may not always be comfortable, but when we draw near on His terms—i.e., through Jesus Christ alone, by faith alone—drawing near to Him in humility results in our eternal salvation and joy. Now let’s watch, “The Trauma of Holiness.”


  1. Dr. Sproul began the lecture by pointing out the universal experience of those who were (particularly holy men) confronted with the holiness of God (consider Moses’s experience in Exodus 33-34, esp. 33:20). Consider the following passages:
       a. Israel: Ex. 20:18-21
       b. Job: Job 40:1-5; 42:1-6
       c. Ezekiel: Ezek. 1:28b–2:2
       d. Peter: Luke 5:1-8
       e. John: Rev. 1:12-17a

Question: What do those recorded experiences teach us about coming into close proximity with God?

  1. Read Isaiah 6:5-7. The physical trauma represented in Isaiah’s vision—lips cauterized by flaming-hot coals from the holy altar would be an excruciatingly painful experience—what did that symbolize?

  2. When God sent the Angel of the Lord to the mother of Samson, her husband Manoah wasn’t present (Judges 13). He prayed and asked the Lord to send Him again. Read Judg. 13:9-23. What prevented Manoah’s fears from coming true? What part of his wife’s reassuring words settled his mind?


  1. What new things did you learn about the holiness of God? What practical impact do those truths make on your life?

  2. What do you plan to do differently as a result of studying this lesson? What changes do you need to make (i.e., in your life, in your schedule) to succeed in those plans?

  3. Close with Hymn #155, “Hallelujah, What a Savior” (a.k.a., “Man of Sorrows”), reading Hebrews 12:25-29, and prayer.