As a someone who does a lot of work on my family history and genealogy, I find so much fun in tracing my family’s ancestry back into the 16th and 17th century and ponder what life was like for that particular person. Were they at the heart of the reformation? Did they read the 1611 King James Bible or were they reading the Geneva Bible? Were they persecuted because of their faith? What language did they speak? It is a bit saddening to know that we will never experience some of the exciting things that our ancestors were privileged to live out.
One thing that is concrete throughout the history of man is the fact that God is constant. Malachi 3:6 states, “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” What a comfort knowing that the mighty God we serve is constant from generation to generation and his immutable decree is filled with his infinite wisdom and His redemptive purpose for mankind. To quote the hymn written by the great reformer Martin Luther, “A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.” When we imagine God as a bulwark, a high tower, fortified and defended at all angles, we get a glimpse by illustration into the strength and shear might of God.
We also know from scripture that God’s uttermost attribute is his holiness. When we read Isaiah 6 and see the imagery of the angels hovering around the throne, not even able to place their feet on such holy ground, covering their eyes so not to be exposed to his majesty, and declaring God’s thrice holiness for all eternity, we can only bow in absolute reverence of the holiness of God. We see God’s holiness is not just declared once, but three times; Holy, Holy, Holy! What is man that we should approach such a being with confidence? Should we not tremble in fear at the mention of the name of the Almighty?
We hear the immanence of God preached so often in the church today, but rarely do we hear of the transcendent nature of God. His holiness is beyond the realm of human understanding, yet we have become so detached from his holiness that we lose sight of just how vast the idea of it really is. His kabod, or weighty holiness becomes that of feathers. The holiness of God should be like a Mack truck resting on our shoulders. It is certain that we cannot dare stand beneath the weight of the glory of God.
But to Quote 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” How beautiful is the work of Jesus. Such a sweet and glorious truth that Jesus has wed the immanence and transcendence of God so that his sheep may be called righteous. Again in Romans 5:2, “But thanks be to God that through Christ Jesus we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.”
What a delight of our innermost being to know that God who is rich in mercy has given us access through his son. We come before God worthy as the Levite priests of the old testament because of the finished work of Christ at Calvary. To reconcile the ideas of God’s holiness and his gentleness stretches the mind to two extremes that are seemingly incompatible. Yet through Christ it is accomplished. It is absolute nonsense to mortal man. It seems to be a blatant contradiction to God’s holiness that sinful man should receive his favor. It makes it all the more obvious that it is shear grace that we live by. Shear Grace… Amazing grace.