God is holy. And his holiness is one of the characteristics that sets him apart from the humanity he created. And the separation between us and God is unbearable.
When the prophet Isaiah, a religious man, encountered God in his very throne room, he was so struck by the awesomeness and holiness of God that he cried out,
It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
~ Isaiah 6:5 NLT
When you see how holy God is, you see how unholy you are by comparison. And when you realize that this holy and awesome Creator has a perfectly righteous standard for his creatures, you can’t help but tremble at the thought of facing him.
His holiness is too much to bear. And we are left doomed.
This may not sound like a positive and uplifting inspirational message. And it’s not. But it’s truth we all desperately need to hear and must face if the concept of grace is ever going to make real sense to us.
God loves you! But why wouldn’t he? It’s not even a question until we realize that he loves us in our sin.
God wants to save you! But from what? Unless we understand our lostness, the concept of being saved makes little sense.
God wants to forgive you! Of what? But when we see our sin against the backdrop of his righteousness, our need becomes apparent.
God wants to adopt you into his own family so that you can live with him forever in heaven! But that must meant that we aren’t in his family by default.
Isaiah was given a glimpse into the holiest sanctuary in all of heaven, where God rules in righteousness from his throne. And the vision terrified him! He was convinced he couldn’t possibly survive such an encounter as one who had broken the will of this Creator-King.
But then… Isaiah saw the altar, and it changed everything.
Pray, acknowledging the holiness of God and praising him for his awesome perfection. And thank him that he has made a way and offered us grace and forgiveness. And ask him to help you live under grace continually.