Spirit of Grace Ministries
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Spirit of Grace Ministries
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The Holiness & Love of God


Mount SinaiJesus healing

by Dennis Pollock

Among the billions of inhabitants of our world, almost all of us believe in God in some form or another. Of course there have always been atheists, but in spite of their most strenuous efforts and brazen tongues they have never been able to convert very many to their number. For most people the question is not, "Is there a Creator?" but rather, "What is He like?" Some have foolishly suggested that all religions worship the same God. We know Him by different names – He is Allah to the Muslims, Brahman to the Hindus, The Great Spirit to the native Americans, and Yahweh to the Jews. These are just different names for the same divine person who is guiding peoples of all cultures through various religious practices.

Jesus was not so open-minded. He declared to the Samaritan woman He met at the well, "You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews." According to Jesus, if you want to really know the nature of your Creator, you had better pick up the Jewish Scriptures and start reading. He also emphasized that the knowledge of God is of no small importance, declaring, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." Worshiping a god who doesn't resemble the true God is not real worship; it is idolatry. Sincere religious beliefs and devotion are not enough. Even prayer is not enough; you had better make sure your prayers are aimed straight at the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob!

The Real God

Suppose someone came to me and told me, "I just met your wife the other day. I never realized your wife was such a short woman!" I would immediately be suspicious and would probably ask them to describe her further, since my wife is nearly as tall as I am. If they went on to say, "Oh, I'm sure this was your wife. She had red hair, she walks with a limp, and had a large tattoo of a butterfly on her left arm." My response would be, "I don't know whom you met, but I can guarantee you, that wasn't my wife. She doesn't look a thing like that! If she told you she was my wife she is an impostor!" Or to paraphrase a saying, "If it doesn't walk like a duck or quack like a duck, or look like a duck, it probably isn't a duck." Such is the case with the so-called gods of the various religions. The god of the Koran bears no resemblance to the God of the Bible. The great spirit of the native Americans has little in common with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. No, if we are to discover the true nature of God, we must get our facts straight, and the only way to do that is to start reading the writings of Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Matthew, John, Paul, and Peter.

As we read the Scriptures we find two important attributes of God that govern His dealings with men and women. We cannot afford to be ignorant of either of these attributes; our knowledge of them or ignorance of them is likely going to determine our eternal destiny. The first attribute we will consider is God's holiness. In the book of Revelation we read of four mysterious heavenly creatures that continually speak of God: "And the four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: 'Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!''' There are many other descriptive words they could use for God that would be true enough. They could proclaim, "longsuffering, longsuffering, longsuffering," or "compassionate, compassionate, compassionate," or "kind, kind, kind." But their emphasis is on the holiness of God." Our Creator is holy.

In the Scriptures we learn that everything that has to do with God is holy. Jesus referred to the angels as the "holy angels." When He prayed to the Father He called Him "Holy Father." When we are born again we receive the Spirit of God, and this Spirit is known as the Holy Spirit. When the angel informed Mary that she would be the mother of the Messiah, he told her, "that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God." If you have a Bible you will find written on the cover that it is the Holy Bible. Paul referred to the Scriptures as the "Holy Scriptures." In Psalms we are told to "worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." And God is referred to as "The Holy One of Israel."

He is Holy

So what is meant by God's holiness? It refers to our Creator's absolute moral perfection. In Ephesians Paul writes, "Put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." To the Thessalonians he declares, " For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness." Peter writes, "as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." God is pure and faultless but we live in a world that is saturated with flaws and spots. We see them everywhere. We see them in our parents, we see them in our children, we see them in our pastor, we see them in our politicians, we see them in our heroes (if we bother to look very closely) and, horror of horrors, we see them in ourselves! When a young woman falls in love she may tell her parents, "I have found the perfect man! He is handsome, he is a gentleman, he treats me like a princess, and he makes me feel so special." Her boyfriend may also tell his parents about the perfect woman he has met, who is so sweet and loving that he seriously doubts that, should they get married, they would ever have a major argument. But when the ring is on her finger, and they go through the tough business of living together, they both come to the shocking realization that their spouses are very much human and flawed after all. The princess can scream loud enough to raise the roof. And the prince can be the most insensitive lout imaginable. Welcome to the real world.

His work is perfectBut God has no flaws. Moses referred to Him thus: "He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He." For this reason man, in his present state, cannot see God and live. The Bible says that God dwells "in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power." It is God's holiness that causes Him to hate and despise sin, and requires Him to punish every infraction of His holy laws. In the physical world there is a law which says that for every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction. I learned this when I was a boy and fired a 20 gauge shotgun. I wasn't prepared for the strong kick against my shoulder when the gun was fired. It would have been so much nicer to be able to fire that shotgun without having to brace myself for the inevitable kickback. But every time the gun was fired my shoulder experienced that equal and opposite reaction.

This principle holds true in the spiritual realm as well. For every sin there must be a punishment, for every offense there must be a judgment. God's very holiness demands it. Whether little white lies or serial killings, God must punish every transgression. Many are deceived because the punishment does not appear immediately. We can commit the worst kinds of offenses and seem to get away with them. Life is good; we have no problems. But a day of reckoning is coming. Paul writes, "Because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed."

God's law was given to reveal to the world that we are in trouble and desperately in need of a remedy. We are unholy creatures; we stand naked in all our blasphemies and fornications and selfishness before a holy God who cannot abide sin in any form. In Galatians we read, "The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith." The law of Moses serves as a tutor to teach the whole world that we have all sinned and fallen short of God's standards. Just as no man would go to a doctor for an operation unless he were convinced he had a real problem, so the law serves to convince us we need help – we need heart surgery! Every white man, every black man, every Asian needs Jesus. Apart from the grace of God none of us can stand before this holy God who is "of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness."

A Second Attribute

If holiness were God's only attribute we would all be in trouble. From the sweetest, most refined young lady to the crudest, most sadistic gang member, hell would be opening its jaws to receive us all. But there is a second attribute of our Creator which gives us hope. That attribute is love. Along with holiness there burns with equal fire in the heart of our great Creator a tremendous love and compassion for His creation. The Bible says that God is love. We find the love of God all through the Bible, even in the Old Testament laws He gave to Israel. He commanded the Jews, "You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt." He sent prophets to Israel again and again to turn them from their wicked ways, declaring that He had no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

The fullest expression of the love of God is seen in the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus. As He walked the dusty roads of Israel, He was the embodiment of the kindness and compassion of the Father. He fed the multitudes, healed every sick person that came to Him, and showed respect for people that others despised. The woman caught in the act of adultery received no stinging rebuke from the Master – just the gentle encouragement go and sin no more. The short, cheating tax collector couldn’t believe Jesus would want to eat at his house, and his life was forever changed. There was no thunder and lightning as at Mount Sinai. There were no plagues or sudden death emanating from His gentle hands. He had not come to condemn the world but to save the world. And just in case we didn't get it, He made it plain: "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." On Sinai God had revealed His holiness but through His Son Jesus He was now revealing His great love.

It was not as though God had changed. He was still holy and still "by no means clears the guilty." But He had a plan, conceived before the earth's foundation, to offer forgiveness to the guilty, sin-stained sons and daughters of men. The "equal and opposite reaction" which must necessarily come crashing down upon the heads of sinners for their every sin was voluntarily taken by His Son Jesus. The Scriptures says, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." The spotless, compassionate Son of God stepped between us and the hammer of God's justice and took all the wrath and judgment we deserved. Psalms declares, "Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed." Through the cross and resurrection of Jesus it became possible for God to be just and the justifier of the one who trusts in Jesus.

Jesus Christ did not come into this world to shame us for being the corrupt, unholy sinners that we are. A drowning man needs no lecture on the folly of playing silly games on the edge of a ship. Save the lecture for later; right now he needs a lifesaver. He needs rescue. Jesus is God's means of that rescue. To every nation, tribe and tongue He proclaims, "Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth!"

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