For Part 1 click HERE.
So, if God’s holiness necessitates his closeness to us instead of his distance, what does that mean for us? If God’s commitment to his own glory drives him to purify ungodly sinners, how does that affect our response to him? Here are a few thoughts…
We come boldly to the throne of grace. If God’s holiness is his perfect devotion to his own glory, and he is most glorified in redeeming sinners, than we should boldly come and confess our sin. This is not to take advantage of God’s grace, but to celebrate his grace that he has shown to us in Christ. We can all give lip service to the idea that God accepts us as we are, but do we really believe that? He has truly dedicated himself to the purpose of saving sinners for his glory. He purposes to heal our broken souls, why not come to him boldly?
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16 CSB
We relate to God through trust, not fear. Isaiah trusted God with his life when he was confronted with his life-altering holiness. Now, this doesn’t mean Isaiah wasn’t scared, but that he wasn’t afraid to buy into God’s program, despite how difficult it was. Just think about this job description…
And he replied: Go! Say to these people:
Keep listening, but do not understand; keep looking, but do not perceive.
Make the minds of these people dull; deafen their ears and blind their eyes;
otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
understand with their minds, turn back, and be healed. (Isaiah 6:9-10 CSB)
Way to be set up for failure (in the world’s eyes at least)! Isaiah’s role was to go tell people who wouldn’t listen about their need to repent, and God promised that people in his day wouldn’t listen. But get this, thanks to Isaiah’s trust in God’s plan and response to the revelation of God’s holiness, we have one of the most influential Old Testament books in the canon!
In the plan of God, Isaiah preached to a hardened people that would go into exile for their sin. Although God’s son Israel rejected him, this created a need for a faithful Son, the true Israel, to come and fulfill the vocation that Israel never could or would fulfill. So we should trust God’s way, even if it sounds crazy and hard. Isaiah’s response was to give God his life, and our response should be the same. The results may surprise you!
We seek to kill sin out of love for God. Love for God is the best motivator for real change. Nothing else will work. Doing the “right thing” out of fear, guilt, and people pleasing cannot be sustained. This requires deep thinking about the gospel. If all we do is affirm what we believe on Sunday and forget it during the week, we do ourselves no favors and actually set ourselves up for failure. How can we possibly let the love of God change us when we just give it lip service one hour a week? This requires spiritual discipline, and, like the last point, giving God your whole life. We should be making it a priority each day to absorb God’s love for us as displayed in scripture so that we respond in trust and love in return. I’ll close with this great quote from Calvin…
“It now remains to pour into the heart itself what the mind has absorbed. For the Word of God is not received by faith if it flits about in the top of the brain, but when it takes root in the depth of the heart it may be an invincible defense to withstand and drive off all the stratagems of temptation” (Calvin’s Institutes, pg 583).
Purpose to think deeply about the holy love of God that has broken into your darkness. Allow his love to lead you to boldly confess, to unconditionally trust, and to give your life to him. It may not always be comfortable, but it certainly will be fulfilling.
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