Monday, April 07, 2008

YOUR WEEKLY DOSE OF GOSPEL
...the holiness of God in salvation

GOD IS HOLY AND WE'RE NOT. HOW THEN CAN THAT WHICH IS UNHOLY EVER STAND IN HIS PRESENCE AND NOT FACE ETERNAL JUDGMENT AND HAVE THE HOPE OF FORGIVENESS OF SINS AND ETERNAL LIFE?

Hebrews 12:14, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:"


God is holy.

That is Who He is. Holiness is not so much an attribute of God; as it is His very nature - the essence of His divine character (Isaiah 6:1-6).

Before we could be justified, God had to be satisfied (Roms. 3:21-26; Heb. 2:17). His holiness could not tolerate our sin (Hab. 1:13f); His wrath demanded propitiation (Roms. 5:1); His righteousness had to be honored (Roms. 3:25f); our sin had to be atoned for; and the guilt of our sin needed expiation (Heb. 9:12ff).  In unregeneration, we are all "sinners in the hands of an angry God."  Our sin not only angers Him (Psalm 51:5; Roms. 3:10-18; Eph. 2:1-3), WE anger Him (Psalm 5:5; 7:11; Roms. 3:23; 9:10-13).

Therefore, on the cross we see the holiness of God, the justice of God, the wrath of God, the righteousness of God, the mercy of God, the love of God, and the satisfaction of God displayed, fulfilled, and honored through Jesus Christ our Lord. Redemption was fully accomplished on behalf of the elect (Roms. 8:28ff); and because of this, salvation, therefore, is only by grace through faith in Christ alone (Titus 3:4-7) - which is the gift of God, not of works lest any man can boast.  "He saved us!" (Titus 3:5a).

Jesus Christ is called our High Priest in Hebrews 2:17 for the first time anywhere in the NT. He is the archagos, the Captain of Salvation, who alone is the way, the truth, and the life. As the writer of Hebrews goes on to tell us, that our Lord was "For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens." (Heb. 7:26). Notice that our Lord Jesus Christ is our faithful High Priest who is holy above all things - separated from sinners.

THE HOLINESS OF GOD
"Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy" (Revelation 15:4). He only is independently, infinitely, immutably holy. In Scripture He is frequently styled "The Holy One": He is so because the sum of all moral excellency is found in Him. He is absolute Purity, unsullied even by the shadow of sin. "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). Holiness is the very excellency of the Divine nature: the great God is "glorious in holiness" (Exodus 15:11). Therefore do we read, "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity" (Habakkuk 1:13). As God's power is the opposite of the native weakness of the creature, as His wisdom is in complete contrast from the least defect of understanding or folly, so His holiness is the very antithesis of all moral blemish or defilement. Of old God appointed singers in Israel "that they should praise for the beauty of holiness" (2 Chronicles 20:21).
Because God is infinite in holiness, "only true God" is He who hates sin with a perfect abhorrence and whose nature eternally burns against it.

He is the One who beheld the wickedness of the antediluvians and who opened the windows of Heaven and poured down the flood of His righteous indignation.

He is the One who rained fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah and utterly destroyed these cities of the plain.

He is the One who sent the plagues upon Egypt, and destroyed her haughty monarch together with his hosts at the Red Sea.

He is the One who caused the earth to open its mouth and swallow alive Korah and his rebellious company.

He is the One who "spared not His own Son" when He was "made sin for us...that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."

SO HOLY IS GOD AND SUCH IS THE ANTAGONISM OF HIS NATURE AGAINST EVIL:
For one sin He banished our first parents from Eden
For one sin He cursed the posterity of Ham
For one sin He turned Lot's wife into a pillar of salt
For one sin He sent out fire and devoured the sons of Aaron
For one sin Moses died in the wilderness
For one sin Achan and his family were all stoned to death
For one sin the servant of Elisha was smitten with leprosy. Behold therefore, not only the goodness, but also "the severity of God" (Romans 11:22).
And this is the God that every Christ-rejector has yet to meet in judgment!
  • As well might a worm seek to resist the tread of an elephant;
  • as well might a babe step between the railroad tracks and attempt to push back the express train;
  • as well might a child seek to prevent the ocean from rolling,
  • as for a creature to try and resist the outworking of the purpose of the Lord God
"O Lord God of our fathers, art not Thou God in heaven? and rulest not Thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in Thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?" (2 Chronicles 20:6).

Therefore beloved, there is no hope apart from the once for all sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross and His bodily resurrection from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-21). It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a holy God.

3 comments:

Carla said...

Steve - this was a great post. My pastor also quoted Hab. 1:13 this past Sunday. It's something I don't even think we can get ahold of, JUST how holy He really is. Thanks for this.

The Confessor said...

Steve,
Some questions:

I'm intrigued by the "curse of Ham".

Who are the posterity of Ham? Are they around today? What is the nature of that curse and how does it play out?

Another question:
Is it possible that "holiness" is first a descriptor of categorical difference? Is it possible that the moral-ethical component of "holiness" is actually a subsequent and derivative product and not the essential content of that word? I'm not denying the importance of "moral-ethical" realities, but I wonder if by limiting "holiness" to such content we end up putting the cart before the horse--the absolute, supra-categorical transcendence of God's being?
bottom line: I wonder if holiness includes but is much bigger than just the fact that God doesn't do "naughty" things or right things "imperfectly".

Thoughts?

Eric said...

It brings the lyrics to my mind from "Stranger to Holiness." I reread the lyrics just now and realize that I feel like the character in the song when he says "my heart longs to serve but wanders so aimlessly."

*I hope it's ok to reference lyrics from the blog's author.