The past few months God has been speaking to me concerning an aspect of His character that some Christians don’t seriously consider, and that aspect is His holiness. He is indeed a God of grace and of mercy, slow to anger and abounding in love, but He is also a holy God, and it is vitally important that we embrace this truth as well.
When I read today`s scripture, I was challenged by what the author meant when he exhorted the Hebrews to `worship God acceptably and with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.` It is true that when Jesus died on the cross, God`s mercy and judgement did collide and the way was opened wide for us to come into the presence of a holy God. I rejoice in that truth and wholeheartedly embrace it. So should you! That doesn`t mean, though, that we can just walk into His presence any way we like, as He still is holy.
We wouldn’t just walk flippantly into the presence of the Queen of England, so why would we do it before our majestic in holiness, awesome, wonder working God (Exodus 15:11). If only more Christians, including myself, had a deeper revelation of God’s holiness, they and I would walk with a greater degree of integrity and personal holiness.
Isaiah saw God as He really was, and when confronted with God’s holiness, became painfully aware of his own unholiness in comparison. He cried out for cleansing and God was quick to respond (Isaiah 6). The people of Israel dared not come up Mt Sinai, as they had seen a small glimpse of their holy God (Exodus 19:16 -22).
Uzzah temporarily forgot that God was holy and dared to reach out and handle the ark of the covenant. He was severely disciplined for that irrelevant act and all of Israel, including King David, was reminded that they served a holy God (2 Samuel 6).
Finally there is the example of Ananias and Sapphira in the New Testament, who dared to lie to the Holy Spirit, and were struck dead. It was recorded in scripture that ‘great fear’ seized the whole church and amongst those who later heard about this incident (Acts 5:11).
We too serve the same God as Isaiah, Uzzah, King David and the early church members, and need to ensure that we continue to worship and serve Him in an acceptable manner. Yes He is a God of mercy, but He is also a holy God, and should be approached accordingly.
Prayer: God I want to worship You as You really are, and that means as a God who is both merciful and holy. Forgive me for the times when I have taken both aspects of Your character for granted, and failed to worship You in an acceptable manner. You don’t want me to cower before You like a frightened child, but rather bow the knee with reverence and awe. In Jesus` Name, Amen.
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