The Holiness of God, Our Sin, and the Love of Jesus

Maundy Thursday

Everything begins with God. We don't understand the full significance of anything until we understand its relation to God. He was the one and only fact a trillion centuries before the universe or man existed. He is absolutely unique because he alone is infinite, unchanging, eternal. He is infinitely more important than any man or woman. His value is supreme. He is in a class by himself. And he is more worthy, ten thousand times more worthy, than any other class of beings.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth with a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord or as his counselor has instructed him? Whom did he consult for his enlightenment, and who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him understanding? Behold the nations are like a drop from a bucket and are accounted as the dust on the scales . . . All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing! (Isaiah 40:12–17)

When we say that God is holy we mean that, along with the immeasurableness of his greatness, his character is unimpeachable. He cannot be charged with any wrong. He has an infinite love for what is infinitely valuable and an infinite hate for what opposes the infinitely valuable. His delight in praiseworthy things is unbounded, and his abhorrence of what is blameworthy is perfect. As Habakkuk 1:13 says: "Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, and you cannot tolerate wrong."

God's Response to Our Sin

All the evil in the world is an offense against the holiness of God and is preparing this world for a cataclysm of divine vindication. The zeal of God burns for the holiness of his great name. Ezekiel 36:22, 23:

Say to the house of Israel, thus says the Lord God: "It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations . . . and the nations will know that I am the Lord, says the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes."

God loves his holiness with infinite love and cherishes his purity. This is the starting point for understanding God and man and the world. If we don't start here everything goes askew. If we don't feel a sense of awe and fear and admiration for the infinite holiness of God which opposes evil with wrath and fury, then all of our other feelings and thoughts will be defective at best.

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. Above him stood the Seraphim; each had six wings; with two he covered his face; and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

"Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts
the whole earth is full of his glory." (Isaiah 6:1–3)