God acknowledges beauty. He made it. All agree that the tulip is more beautiful than the pigweed. All would likely agree that between two given women or men, one is more beautiful.
But God puts a premium on the beauty of holiness. Physical beauty is relatively meaningless to God. Physical beauty and spiritual beauty rarely go together due to the pride that accompanies the former. It says of Absalom, for example, that he was “more beautiful than all the sons of Israel”, but he was arrogant. God says the inner beauty is precious in His sight, 1 Peter 3:4. Sin is so detestable to God that He uses leprosy – so ugly, so abhorrent, so aberrant – to symbolize it.
Look at the glories of this beauty of holiness.
1. It is only noticeable to the awakened soul. The non-Christian might recognize the majesty of the mountains or the glories of the golden autumn, but he cannot see the beauty of holiness. He despises the Christian’s attempt at honesty and humility. After all, when Christ came they saw “no beauty in Him that they should desire Him” (Isaiah 53:2) and He was the perfection of beauty.
2. Other beauties are temporary but this is lasting. Old age won’t affect this beauty. The fruit of the Spirit never loses its bloom.
3. Other beauties don’t satisfy, holiness does. Even the beauty queen is not satisfied. But godliness and contentment go together, 1 Timothy 6:6 – But godliness with contentment is great gain.
4. The beauty of holiness is the power of spiritual warfare. Sin at Ai led to defeat (Achan, Joshua 7). Demons can’t be moved out until the heart repents. Conversely, Jehoshaphat put the priests dressed in the beauty of holiness in front of the army (2 Chro. 20:21). A holy man is an awful weapon in the hands of an almighty God, said McCheyne.
5. This beauty glorifies God. Cherubim and seraphim cry day and night, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord”, for holiness is His supreme glory. And a holy man is a reflection of the living God.
So we ought to pray, “Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us”, Psalm 90:17. God calls the church to put on her beautiful garments (Isaiah 52:1), without this, no one will stand before Him (Hebrews 12:14).