God, Himself, commanded us, “Be holy, because I am holy.” (I Peter 1:16) Are we not capable of appreciating His holiness at least on a elementary level? We are at least in the earliest grade of a divine schooling, learning to trust Him (Psalm 25:4), learning to identify His will for our lives as “good, pleasing, and perfect.” (Hebrews 12:2) It is not surprising that God’s servants find abortions as tearfully and angrily evil (Isaiah 49:1 & 15; Matthew 19:14; Luke 17:2). We cringe in disgust on hearing falsehoods and lies. All those movies that are uninhibited evil that have unabashedly abandoned any sign of moral decency for the sake of ratings are no longer watchable, even if we fail to explain why.
And what does a Holy God find abhorrent, disgusting? In addition to rebellion (1 Samuel 15:23) and idolatry (Leviticus 26:30) which in our cultural setting is “greed” (Colossians 3:5) Solomon can find seven (Proverbs 6:16-19).
- “arrogant eyes,
- a lying tongue,
- hands that shed innocent blood,
- a heart that plots wicked schemes,
- feet eager to run to evil,
- a lying witness who gives false testimony, and
- one who stirs up trouble among brothers.”
If we want a true picture of heaven just picture a place where these cannot enter. And now we know what words like “pure, clean, godly, saints, and sanctified” mean. These are characteristic of God’s holiness in us.
We might gain some insight into why Jesus’s crucifixion for sin in our stead was God’s plan from the beginning (Genesis 3:15). God cannot allow sin into His heaven because He is holy. But He wants us! While suspended on the Cross, Jesus seem to sense the Father’s difficulty with what was happening (Mark 15:34). “God … condemned sin in the flesh by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh as a sin offering.” Paul explained (Romans 8:3).
But how to separate the sinner from his or her sin was the delicate operation grace needed to perform. Salvation had to be more than a word of forgiveness. It had to make provision for sinners to be transformed into saints; for believers to be able to follow Christ; to make us holy as He is. “Christ in us, all our hope…” (Colossians 1:27)
We have analyzed our Savior’s mission; we have studied His words and watched Him respond to His humanity but in a perfectly sinless way. We admired His compassion as something beyond our ability to love so completely and became breathless to hear His wisdom. We puzzled over His parables; they were more than parables to us.
But more than all this, we have theologized every possible cultural, spiritual, and natural reason that might supply us with a sound and consistent logic as to why a Cross. Even though Scripture is dedicated wholly to this divine task we felt it important to have a reasonableness to support faith.
But we have wept and rejoiced because of Him; we have hungered to know more of Him—all the while seeming to sense that our faith was all we ever really needed and then let Him do the rest in us (Philippians 1:6). “You believe in God,” Jesus encouraged us, “trust me, too.” (John 14:1)