In today’s culture, we are often tempted to choose between our personal pleasure and holiness. Has God changed His holy nature to become more approachable? Pastor Lutzer reflects on holiness throughout Scripture. Imagine the difference Christians would make in our world if we had a fresh vision of God.
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Transcript: Well once again welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” If you’ve been with us you know that I’ve been speaking on the series entitled, “The Eclipse of God.” And today we come to the last episode of this particular series which has emphasized our need to get back to the Bible, back to the God of scripture, and if not, we as a nation will continue to descend into depravity. Our great hope is for God. Today I’d like to speak to you on the holiness of God. Last time I spoke about the wrath of God, a subject that oftentimes is not spoken about. Today we want to emphasize the holiness of God.
The passage of scripture that I would like you to think about is one that you I’m sure are familiar with. It’s Isaiah 6. It begins by saying “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple.” Why is that significant? This vision came to the prophet at a time when Uzziah, who was the king for a long time, had died. He was basically a good king; he ended badly, but nonetheless the nation was at a point of instability and as Isaiah saw the throne of God high and lifted up, he was reminded of God’s sovereignty. And you and I in our age need to be reminded of the sovereignty of God. We need to see God above America. We need to see God above all of the countries of the world. We need to see God as the God of history and no matter how bad things get, we always need to remember that God is ultimately in charge. Always in your heart see God as high and lifted up. Well you know the rest of the story. There were Cherubim who are shouting to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts.” There’s no other attribute in all the scripture where you have it repeated three times. There’s no attribute that says “Almighty, almighty, almighty is the Lord God of hosts,” though of course that would be true. But “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts.”
Let me ask you a question: What is holiness? “Holiness” really means “separateness.” There is no other God and God is entirely separate. Now that doesn’t mean that He doesn’t connect with us because He does but He is entirely different than we are. He is in a class by Himself. Now in the Bible you find not only is God holy but God can declare things to be holy. For example in the book of Leviticus and elsewhere we find that there are holy vessels. When God called Moses and he was there in the desert the Lord says, “Take your shoes from off your feet for the ground that you are standing on is holy.” What made it holy? God called it holy. Holiness means that God is entirely separate and He can separate anything that He desires for Himself.
Now before I show you that if you’re a believer you also are declared holy by God, let me remind you that when Isaiah saw God and His holiness, Isaiah said, “Woe is me for I am undone.” It’s very interesting in context. Six times before this Isaiah pronounced woes on the nation around him. “Woe to those who get drunk.” “Woe to those who do violence.” Woe woe woe six times. But when he sees God, he says woe is me. We have to be reminded that in the presence of God the differences between us are not that great. When we begin to compare ourselves with God we all fall on our knees. We all worship. We all admit how desperately we need His mercy and His grace. Thankfully when Isaiah made the statement that he was undone—he said, “I live in the land of unclean lips. For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts”—God cleansed his mouth and called him. But at the end of the day you and I always need a fresh revelation and vision of God. The same thing happened to Job. When he finally saw God after the hearing of the ear, even mine eye now sees thee and I repent in dust and ashes.”
What do we need in America? What do we need throughout the world? A fresh vision of the holiness of God, the separateness of God but of course along with that comes purity, comes a clean heart. It means that we who have believed in Christ are indeed special but not special so that we can glorify ourselves but special so that we can be a witness to the world. Where is this series of messages that I have been giving—where do I want it to go? Well the Bible tells us this in 1 Peter (listen carefully), it says: “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you might proclaim the excellencies of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Why did I discuss the eclipse of God? Well the eclipse brings darkness, and you and I are called in this life to bring light. And what we have to do is to walk in the light, that means with a pure heart. The Bible emphasizes this in 1 John. We should walk in the light as he is in the light. We have to share the light. Jesus says you are the light of the world. We have to defend the light. And we have to be willing to do everything within our power to be true to that light. No matter how difficult things get. No matter how great the darkness, you and I as believers, we are to be lights in a fallen world. But we can’t do that without God’s help and without returning to the God of the Bible not the god of people’s imagination. As God enables us let us share the goodness of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, to a world that is walking in darkness.
My heart breaks when I think of the many people who are in darkness today, because Jesus said that those who walk in darkness know not where they are going. But you and I are called to be a light in the darkness. In this eclipse, which we’ve been emphasizing, we have a role to play: Hope for the world.
Thanks so much for joining us. I hope that you will follow and subscribe. Next time we begin a brand new series but as for today, my friend, remember God’s holiness. And you go with God.