not primarily morally legislative but soteriological

Assumed Audience: Theologically-orthodox Christians, or folks interested in things that theologically-orthodox Christians think.

God’s holiness is not primarily morally legislative but soteriological. The dynamic of holiness is that of the history of God’s saving, consecrating presence; holiness as law makes sense only in the commonwealth of salvation which that presence establishes. And so, once again, God’s utter separation from wickedness is to be understood within the scope of God’s dealings with humankind. Holiness is not the antithesis of relation — it does not drive God from the unholy and lock God into absolute pure separateness. Rather, God’s holiness is the quality of God’s relation to that which is unholy; as the Holy One, God is the one who does not simply remain in separation but comes to his people and purifies them, making them into his own possession. Talk of God’s holiness indicates the manner in which the sovereign God relates. As the Holy One, God passes judgement on sin and negates it. Yet the holy God does this, not from afar, as a detached legislator, but in the reconciling mission of the Son and the outpouring of the sanctifying Spirit. That is, God’s destruction of sin is accomplished in his triune acts of fellowship with humanity, in which he condemns, pardons and cleanses by taking upon himself the situation of the ruined creature, in sovereign majesty exposing himself to our peril and only in that way putting an end to our unholiness. God’s active opposition to sin’ is thus known in the economy of salvation as a unity of judgement and grace’.

 — John Webster, Holiness, p. 47