The Proper Response to our Holy God

Isaiah 6:1-5 ESV

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“’Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!’

“And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’”

One thing that is severely lacking today in the lives of many who are professing faith in Jesus Christ is the fear of God. It is not being taught much at all in today’s modern “churches.” So many are getting this false idea of God as a grandfatherly type up in heaven who is so enthralled with us that he will want to do what pleases us so we will like him in return.

They are teaching this concept of God as though the salvation he provided for us on that cross is all for us, that he does it all, and that he expects nothing from us whatsoever. He just hands us his salvation with no conditions, and he forgives us regardless of what we do or how we live, and heaven is now guaranteed us because he is such a loving and gracious God.

Now, it is true that God is love and that he is fully gracious and that we can do nothing in ourselves to earn or to deserve our own salvation. Even the faith to believe in Jesus is a gift from God. Jesus is the author and the perfecter of that faith, and we can’t even come to Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Christ (Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44).

But since our faith comes from God, it is gifted to us by God, and Jesus is the author and the perfecter of that faith, that faith is going to agree with God, and it is going to be according to his holiness and righteousness (2 Pet 1:1). And it will agree with the teachings of Scripture on the subjects of sin, God’s grace, faith in Jesus, our salvation, and eternal life with God.

Isaiah had it right. When he saw the glory of God he immediately humbled himself before the Lord and agreed with God about the sinful nature of himself and other human beings (Rom 5:12-19; 1 Co 15:21-22, 42-49; Rom 3:23). He confessed his sin to the Lord in all humility and reverence toward God. He did not feel at all worthy of God or deserving at all of God’s grace.

He was not at all nonchalant about his encounter with a holy and righteous God. For no one was telling him that God had this mushy-gushy kind of love for him and that if he would just “pray the prayer” that he could now be forgiven all his sins (past, present, and future), and that heaven would now be guaranteed him, no matter how he lived from that moment forward.

He prostrated himself before God fully acknowledging his own sinfulness and how lost he was without God. He grieved over his sin. And he bowed before the Lord in full humility and expected nothing from God in return. And he placed his life on the mercy seat of God, not looking for some quick fix or some free ride to heaven, but in full worship of God and in awe of him.

Isaiah 6:6-7 ESV

“Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.’”

Because Isaiah feared the Lord, and he honored him as the Holy God that he is, and because he agreed with God with regard to his own sinfulness and regarding his own unworthiness to even be in the presence of such a holy God, God forgave him his sins, his guilt was taken away, and his sin was atoned for because he had the correct heart response to God.

For he was truly repentant over his sin. And he had the proper fear of God. And that was evident then by how he lived his life in the fear of the Lord and in obedience to the Lord’s commands, and in obeying the calling that God had on his life. He surrendered his heart and life to the Lord in that moment and had no thought of himself or what he could get from God.

And this is what our response is also to be to the holiness of God and with regard to our own sinfulness. We should humble ourselves before the Lord, and weep over our sins, and our heart’s desire should be for the Lord and not for ourselves and for what we can get out of God. And we should throw ourselves on his mercy seat, not looking for an easy way out.

For Jesus said that if we want to come after him we must deny self, take up our cross daily (daily die with him to sin and to the flesh) and follow (obey) him. For he said if we save (hold on to) our lives (of living in sin and for the flesh) we will lose them for eternity. But if we lose our lives for his sake (die with him to sin) then we will have eternal life in him (Lu 9:23-26).

And God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs (trains, teaches) us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. For Jesus “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Tit 2:11-14).

For Jesus died on that cross, not just so he would forgive us our sins so we could escape hell and have the hope of heaven when we die. Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Co 6:19-20; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).

For, by faith in Jesus Christ, which comes from God, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with Christ to new lives in him so that we might walk (in conduct, in practice) in that newness of life, and so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin but now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. For sin is not to rule over our lives (Rom 6:1-23).

Isaiah 6:8 ESV

“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.’”

When we have the proper fear of the Lord, and when we are truly repentant for our sin, as was Isaiah, and when we truly are forgiven our sins and we are given new lives in Christ Jesus, by the grace of God, this should result in us surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ to do whatever he calls us to do, to go wherever he sends us, and to say whatever he gives us to say.

Our lives should no longer be our own to live however we want. We should maintain that fear of the Lord and walk in it, and we should continue daily to die to sin and to live to righteousness, by God’s grace, and in his power and strength. Our lives should now be committed to the Lord to walk in obedience to his commands and to serve him the rest of our days.

For if we have this idea that our salvation is all about us and what God can do for us, and so we feel that once we are “saved” that we are now “good to go” and thus our sins no longer matter to God, then we do not have the fear of God, and we are not repentant, and so we are not willing to say, “Here am I, send me.” And so we don’t really know God (1 Jn 2:3-6).

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]

I Will Wait for You (Psalm 130)

By Jordan Kauflin, Keith Getty, Matt Merker, & Stuart Townend

Out of the depths I cry to You
In darkest places I will call
Incline Your ear to me anew
And hear my cry for mercy, Lord

Were You to count my sinful ways
How could I come before Your throne
Yet full forgiveness meets my gaze
I stand redeemed by grace alone

I will wait for You
I will wait for You
On Your word, I will rely
I will wait for You
Surely wait for You
Till my soul is satisfied..

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