With all that is going on in the world, our country, our state, and our community, I have been “marinating” on what it all means. Is this what Sodom looked like right before the firestorm? Is this just one of those seasons we must all go through or is it a precursor and sign to Jesus’ return? I was reading an article on trends and saw the prediction that by 2050 there will be more Christians in Africa than anywhere else. Are we going to make it to 2050? At the same time God has been pouring His own marinade into my current season of prayer and study – God’s holiness.
I’ve been looking over the call of Moses in Exodus 3 and Isaiah’s call in Isaiah 6. In both callings there is the element of fear when face to face with the Holiness of God. Moses is required to take off his shoes for he is standing on holy ground. Isaiah is in the holy temple surrounded by the glory of the Lord and cries out, “Woe is me I am undone!” or “Holy glory batman! I’m in serious trouble.” Thomas when he sees the resurrected Lord Jesus cries out in the same spirit, “my Lord and my God!” Paul has a similar experience on the road to Damascus as he was struck with blindness he cried, “Who are you? Lord?” When faced with holiness the Bible exposes an immediate response of fear and death. Was does all this have to do with the here and now? How is this relevant? What does this have to do with prices of tea in China (I’ve never understood that saying)?
First of all God has not changed though our world changes constantly. God is still “I AM.” God is holy, righteous, and glorious beyond our imaginations. God is grace filled and God is love. God is judge and jury. The seraphim are still singing Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty!
Second our world is not any more or less evil than is has been in the past or will be in the future. Our world may have more people who can do more evil, but since the Fall (Adam and Eve) the world has been in rebellion to God. Think about it, the first major story after the Fall is Cain murdering his brother Able out of envy – MURDER. Within a few chapters God sends a flood to destroy the world and saved Noah and his family. The first story after the flood is Noah getting drunk and naked. The world has not gotten worse, it’s always been evil.
Third when we who are evil, and all of us are, stand in the presence of God who is holy, we will soil our britches in fear. In the presence of true holiness I dare you to play the good works card or I’m better than that guy or my sins aren’t that bad. As I think about this scene in my head, I’m thinking I would love to be a fly on the wall when Madelyn Murry O’Hare, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Steven Hawking stand before God, but then I remember in the presence of God I am no better off. My acknowledgement of God puts me in no better position than a person who denies God. Just because I acknowledge God does not mean I’m a better person. Holiness has a way of equalizing everyone and everything.
So what’s the relevancy? We all need Jesus! We need every drop of His blood that was shed and every ounce of pain He suffered. We need every lash of the whip He took. We need every swing of the hammer onto the nails. We need every insult thrown at the cross. We need Him who knew no sin to become sin for us. We need all His righteousness imputed to us. We need Jesus the crucified and risen Savior and Lord. We all need Jesus! The Holiness of God is not going to bow to anyone. The holiness of God is not going to accept, tolerate, turn a blind eye, overlook, justify, or stomach even one of our little white sins.
There is no one who is holy like God. Which brings me to my conclusion – God loves us, not only that God loves the world and all who are in it. I know it’s simple, but in the view of holiness it is extraordinary. It’s almost cliché to say God loves us, but in light of holiness it is awesomely wonderful (take that MS Word grammar check!). To say “God loves us” in light of God’s holiness is proclaim the grandest of all mysteries, the most scandalous of scandals, the most glorious of all truth, and the most beautiful thing in the world. God who is holy loves us who are not. God who is holy loves us who are evil, rebellious, proud, self-righteous, hypocritical, selfish . . . God loves us. There is a song that I have found so pure in the midst of this season, “Even Me” by I Am They. The words are Yes Jesus loves me, even me, even me. That is a true understanding of holiness that God no only loves, but He loves even someone like me.