We are reading at Challies the book The Holiness of God by Sproul today we are conversing about chapter 2; Holy, Holy, Holy.
Here is where my thoughts find their place.
Isaiah's calling started with an encounter with the Holy One. An encounter in a real moment. A life changing moment: A man and His Holy creator meeting alone. Once God called Isaiah, he couldn't resist the calling. The man couldn't say no to such irresistible grace, he did not have a choice. "The call was sovereign" says Sproul, and I just nod as I read, I think on how The Holy One called me. Who can say no to the Sovereign One? Who thinks that we actually have the power to choose to come to him or not?
To come before the Holy One is to see your sinfulness. Isaiah cried "Woe to me!" And before the Holy, Holy, Holy God, he knew he was "guilty, guilty, guilty"
But once the Holy One calls us, we come and we meet Grace.
And what else can we long for once we have been called to Him but to see His face?
"[Isaiah] had heard the voice of God speaking to him out of the burning bush. He had witnessed the river turned into blood. He had tasted manna from heaven and had gazed upon the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire. He had seen the chariots of Pharaoh inundated by the waves of the Red Sea. Still he was not satisfied. He wanted more. He craved the ultimate spiritual experience. he inquired of the Lord on the mountain, "Let me see your face. Show me your glory". The request was denied..."
Exodus 33:19-23, tells us that Isaiah was only allowed to see God's back, never His face and Sproul reminds us that even by just gazing at His back, Isaiah's face was so radiant that people were terrified when they saw him.
How then, after reading this, I still long to see His face?
Sproul explains what I could not:
"The final goal of every Christian is to be allowed to see what was denied to Moses. We want to see Him face-to-face. we want to bask in the radiant glory of His divine countenance. It was the hope of every Jew, a hope instilled in the most famous and beloved benediction of Israel: 'The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace' " (Num. 6:24-26)
This hope, crystallized in the benediction of Israel, becomes more than a hope for the Christian-it becomes a promise..."
We shall see Him as He is. (I John 3:2)
One day, if He has called us into His family we will SEE HIM!
What a promise!
What a joy!
Not only His back, but His face!
Not to find a judge but a Father.
Today we are still in a sinful body, we are abiding in a dark world, we are still defiled.
"None of us in this world is pure in heart. It is our impurity that prevents us from seeing God. The problem is not with our eyes; it is with our hearts. Only after we are purified and totally sanctified in heaven will we have the capacity to gaze upon Him face-to-face"
I just loved how Sproul says, that we are to be like Isaiah, who "measured himself by the ultimate standard" and the moment he did so "he was destroyed -morally and spiritually annihilate. He was undone. He came apart. His sense of integrity collapsed"
This is where I see Grace, the Holy One, the only Holy, Holy, Holy God calls us sinners into his presence, we meet with Him alone, we are undone. And just when we see our sinful nature, just when we come apart before Him, He washes our sins away and give us the gift of repentance, and promises us that one day, soon, we will see Him face- to-face.
Under his sun and by His Grace,
The Holiness of God - Chapter Three- The Fearful Mystery-
The Holiness of God Chapter One.
God's Sovereignty in the Gospel of Luke