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CHRISTIAN LIFE - WHY HOLINESS IS NECESSARY Revelation 4:8

WHY HOLINESS IS NECESSESSARY

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." Revelation 4:8

A matter of priorities.

There are many answers to the question if what should have the highest priority in the church: spreading the gospel, spiritual growth, prayer, social work, work among children and young people, etc.

But what was the first priority for the Lord Jesus? The first prayer request that He taught His disciples was Matthew 6:9: "Hallowed be thy name." This is what it is all about. It is the condition in which the request, "Thy kingdom come" can take place. The kingdom of God is where His name is hallowed. We can preach the gospel, build churches, and teach without hallowing God's name. The church at Laodicea is an example of this as recorded in Revelation 3:14-22. God called it a “lukewarm church.” We cannot hallow God's name without preaching the gospel, without spiritual growth, without building churches. This is why our purpose in life is nothing other than to hallow God's name, to honor and glorify Him.

The holiness of God is one of the central themes in the Bible, and yet it remains unfathomable. In Revelation 4:2-3, God is described in His great holiness. The jasper is described in Revelation 21:11 as being clear as crystal, and the carnelian was a ruby. The emerald is a green color. Because it is impossible to describe God's holiness in human words, John uses comparisons in the book of Revelation. In Revelation 4:11, twenty-four elders cast their crowns before the throne. Further, four living creatures, presumably, cherubim, were around the throne. In the Old Testament these are the angels who are mentioned in connection with the presence of God, His power and holiness. These four living creatures bring God's glory and holiness to a point. The holiness of God is the sum of all that He is. This holiness emphasizes something particularly relevant, analogous to the words of Jesus Christ, "Verily, verily, I say unto you..." It surpasses all our powers of imagination.

Holiness is used in the Bible in connection with God. Apart from God there is no holiness, for He alone is holy, completely holy. In His holiness God is absolutely pure. He is free of all contamination. Nothing sinful, evil, no false motivation, no impure thought is to be found in Him. He is altogether perfect and in every way immaculate. Even His name is holy because He is holy. (Psalm 111:9; Luke 1:49)

God the Father had no fellowship with His Son while the Lord Jesus bore the sins of the world on the cross. The Father was there, He is everywhere, but He had no fellowship with the Son for a short time because sin completely separates us from Him.

When people meet God in His holiness, they fall on their faces or hide them. They are afraid.

  • In Genesis 17:3, when God made the covenant with Abraham and promised him Isaac, Abraham "fell on his face."
  • When God met Moses in the burning bush, Moses hid his face Exodus 3:6 tells us.
  • Daniel's reaction in Daniel 8:17 when the angel of the Lord met him was, "I was afraid, and' fell upon my face."
  • John wrote in Revelation that he fell on his face when he received the revelation of Jesus Christ.
  • When Moses climbed Mount Sinai to receive the law, God warned Moses in Exodus 19:12.
  • That is how holy God is. Exodus 33:19-23 says that Moses was not allowed to see God's face on the mountain, and he only saw the glory of God from behind. Exodus 34:30 adds that His face so shone when He turned to the people that they were afraid to approach him.

The tabernacle is the expression of the holiness of God. Only the best materials were good enough for it. God gave exact instructions on how everything should be made. Man could not make the dwelling place of God according to his own taste or ideas. God tolerated no variance from His directions. God's holiness left no room for tolerance. He allowed no inaccuracy. For the service in the tabernacle, there were many cleansing rituals for the priests. The sacrifices had to be without blemish. Only the best is good enough for God. This is how holy He is.

1 Chronicles 13:2-11 tells us that, when David had the Ark of the Covenant brought back from Kirjath‑jearim, the oxen stumbled, and the ark was in danger of falling from the cart. Uzza wanted to prevent this and held the ark with his hand. God punished Uzza immediately with death. That was unfair, we might say. Uzza had meant well. But Uzza was a Kohathite. The Kohathites carried parts of the tabernacle, and they knew well that they must not touch the Ark of the Covenant. It had to be carried by means of two staves. Uzza transgressed against the clear command of God in Numbers 4:17-20. The immediate punishment shows God's holiness, and justice.

There are people who say that the God of the Old Testament is merciless, unloving, and not the God of the New Testament, where it says that God is love. But Romans 6:23 in the New Testament testifies that "the wages of sin is death." When God punishes a person with death, he is receiving the just punishment for his disobedience. The fact that God does not destroy all people immediately, as they deserve, is due to His mercy alone. The God of the Old Testament is a merciful God. In the New Testament, He does not react immediately on account of His great mercy, goodness, love, and patience. We have no right to accuse Him, but He has the right to accuse us. We were disobedient, not He.

Sometimes God shows us drastically who is in charge and who is accountable to the holy God. He is still a holy God today, who sometimes intervenes terrifyingly and warningly. Nowhere is the holiness of God as impressive as in Jesus Christ and His atoning death on the cross! God's holy righteousness demands the death of the sinner. A man cannot accomplish this atonement because he is a sinner himself under the sentence of death, and is merely receiving the just punishment for his sins. Only a sinless person can do justice to the claim of the holy God. In His holiness, God could not find another way to atone for our sins than in the substitutionary death of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, for us.

The natural man cannot stand before the holy God as 1 Corinthians 2:14 says. Why is this so? Because the natural man is separated from the holy God by his sins. The connection with Him is severed. It is as though we were to put black and white or light and darkness together. There is a sharp line of separation. God's holiness excludes fellowship with darkness. It is the holy wrath of God that would instantly destroy everything sinful if God were not merciful, patient, and of great goodness. (Psalm 103:8.)

Man has nothing to show from his birth that would make him justified before God. He is completely spoiled, eaten away by sin. We are unable to do one good thing that derives from pure and selfless motives. Man stands with empty hands, completely naked before God. He cannot hide anything. Nothing can justify him before God. Nothing can keep him from the wrath of God. The prophet Nathan formulated it in Nahum 1:2.

Every person is an enemy of God from birth. At every turn we encounter the rebellion, the insubordination, toward God. That is the nature of sin. God's good and protective commandments are trodden underfoot. He is ridiculed, laughed at, insulted, and called a liar. God is cursed and abused. His great deed of love, His sacrifice of Jesus Christ, is called a myth, dangerous or symbolic. Paul brings it to a point in Romans 3:12. Who wants to hear that? It is not flattering and refreshing. It doesn't strengthen one's elf-confidence. It is not good for the ego, let alone one's pride.

But it is "the message of the holy God, who deeply hates sin and who has spoken His just death sentence upon everything sinful. The enforcement of the judgment is a question of time, but it will inevitably come because God is holy and cannot lie.

Man who meets God in His holiness and righteousness, who truly recognizes Him, like Isaiah in Isaiah 6:5. Or he reacts like Peter when he brought the great catch of fish on land in Luke 5:8,

The more we recognize God's holiness, the more we see our depravity, our lostness. That is why it is so important to proclaim the holy God, so that man can realize his dire situation. When the prison keeper in Philippi saw his lostness, he said to Paul in Acts 16:30,

What must I do to be saved? These are the words of a man who has met the holy God. And God, the holy One, is merciful, and He is love!

God is not love because He looks the other way, or that He plays down sin or because He is tolerant. God is love in that He atoned for the guilt of those who follow His call in His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross.

  • It is the love that caused God to inflict His wrath on Himself in Jesus Christ.
  • It is the love that promises forgiveness.
  • It is the love that justifies us, which makes us righteous before God.
  • It is the love that makes us free of the burden of sin.
  • It is the love that applies to all those who turn to Jesus Christ and are prepared to acknowledge Him as Savior and Lord of their lives.

Such a person can testify to what Paul says in Colossians 2:13-15.

  • The more we realize how lost we are, the greater the love and mercy of God will appear to us.
  • The more we see our corrupt nature, the greater the forgiveness and mercy of God in Jesus will appear.
  • The more we recognize the wrath of God over our lives, the greater our gratitude to Jesus will be.
  • The deeper we recognize our sins, the deeper our love for Jesus will be, as it says in Romans 5:20.

Are you aware that God can pronounce His just verdict upon you at any time without further warning? (Hebrews 3:7-9) If you want to turn around today and trust Jesus, you can do that anytime arid anywhere. The turning to Jesus Christ as your personal Savior results in a change in lordship. (2 Corinthians 5:17) He is no longer the same, for his old life is behind him. A new life has begun. It is a life under the lordship of God. (1 Peter 1:16) for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy.”

With the surrender of your life to Jesus and the receiving of the Holy Spirit, you are a saint as far as your position is concerned. Paul speaks continually in his epistles to the believers in Jesus as saints. Through Jesus Christ, God sees us as holy and righteous. But there is a problem. We are, legally speaking, saints, but our walk is not yet holy. Still, that is the will of God. It is not I who rules my life but Jesus Christ. We continue to grow in our holiness until death.

The believer has received a new attitude which strives to please God, to honor Him, because He is holy. This does not mean that we are infallible. The more fervently we live with the Lord Jesus, the more we recognize our weaknesses. It is about striving after the will of God, His directions which He has given us in His Word. (John 17:17) The more we do this, the more the Word of God becomes alive through reading it, through studying it, hearing it, and applying it, the more the Holy Spirit transforms us into people who are pleasing to God. This process of transformation is founded in the holiness of God alone.   

The more we as believers recognize God's holiness, the greater our reverence will be; and out of this reverence, coupled with love, the desire to live a sanctified life. (Galatians 5:22-23) This fruit, which is the result of the process of transformation, should be visible in my life—in our daily lives, in our behavior in the family, in the way we treat our spouses, with children, with brethren, with our bosses, with work colleagues, behind the wheel, and where no one sees us.

Holiness is the nature of God and a central theme in the Bible. Be holy, because I am holy.

This is a challenge to every person who calls himself a child of God. This new life must be visible in practice. This must have priority in the church of the living God, "Hallowed be thy name!" Matthew 6:9.

 

THE INVITATION

You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned  (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).

To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).

You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:

         Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed. Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on. I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.

      Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You. In Your name I pray, Amen.