Weekly Devotional 5-16-22 Approaching Holy God
Have you considered the holiness of God and what that means to you and me, to all people from Adam forward? It is impossible of course for the finite mind to fully grasp the holiness of God. The unregenerate person considers God from logic and rational, a consideration that is distorted by sin. This consideration mistakenly causes man to approach God on his or her own terms, by his own merit. But those attempts do not satisfy God’s standard of approach. The regenerate person has come to understand that in himself that standard is not achievable. He has come to understand that God is approachable only through His unblemished (sinless) Son.
The unregenerate man believes that he may win favor with holy God by some deed or deeds (good works). The regenerate person knows that He has gained favor with God only because of the imputation of Jesus holiness. The unregenerate man holds that God is a loving God and will, at his death, accept him into His presence not knowing that the holiness of God will not permit it. The regenerate man knows that God is a loving God, but also a just God, a God’s whose justice demands that man be holy and that he has been declared holy not because of his own merit, but because of the work of Christ in his life.
The apostle Paul came to understand this truth when he was still known as Saul of Tarsus. He believed he might have access to God by persecuting those who stood against Judaism (See Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-2). The text of Acts chapter nine goes on to say that on a given day, on the way to Damascus to arrest Christians he was apprehend by Jesus, who said to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” During the next few days he himself became a Christian (Acts 9:1-19). He was told that He had been set apart to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. After a short time he departed into the desert regions of Arabia and was taught by Jesus that salvation (Redemption, a right standing with God) came not by works but by the mercy and grace of God (See Acts 9:20-31; Galatians 1:10-18).
From his letter to the Ephesians we gain an insight of what he learned under the tutelage of Jesus. Consider Ephesians 2:1-10: “1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
God is approachable, but only by those who have been regenerated to newness of spiritual life. Consider the following conversation between Jesus and the Pharisee Nicodemus.
1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.
12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God”(John 3:1-21).
Nicodemus had come to Jesus to satisfy his curiosity about Jesus’ ministry and His claims. Jesus however knew what his true need was, that even though he was a religious man there was no relationship between himself and holy God. For that relationship to be commenced he needed to be reborn spiritually.
What was true of Nicodemus is true of all persons, each one must be reborn spiritually before he or she can approach Holy God. If you should have such a desire recognize that your desire is the work of the Holy Spirit, and your approach will commence. Listen to what the Spirit says and respond positively to His solicitations. If you do, you will be able to approach God and He will welcome you.
Transforming Power; the Work of God on Behalf of Man