“For this is what the
high and exalted One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy, ‘I live in
a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in
spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the
contrite.’” (Isaiah 57:15, NIV)
Government agencies are lenient regarding impurities in
our food supply. For example, in peanut
butter there may be thirty or more insect fragments and one or more rodent
hairs per 100 grams. Shocking, isn’t it?
It’s even more
shocking to realize that God has no
leniency whatsoever for moral impurity. That’s the idea behind the divine name
“the holy one.” The Hebrew word holy
means sinless and free from imperfection. God is without error or fault. He
is absolute purity and light. This attribute of holiness sets God apart, and
makes Him distinct from everything else in a fallen world. Try as we might, we
sinful creatures have a hard time comprehending God's blinding holiness, which
is referred to in Scripture as “terrible” or “dreadful” (see
Nehemiah 1:5, Psalm 68:35).
In the same way that an epidemiologist seeks to isolate
those infected with a deadly disease, or a surgeon insists on a germ-free
operating room, God demands that extreme, even harsh measures be taken to
quarantine and eradicate sin.
Consider the consequences of sin in contrast with a holy
• The payment for offending
a holy God? Death. (Romans 6:23)
consequence of getting too close to God's presence? Death. (Exodus 19:12)
Such dire consequences for sin reveal the extent of God's
holiness. Like the north and south ends of a magnet, holiness and sin cannot
coexist; in fact, they violently repulse each other.
Thankfully, Isaiah 57:17 expands the holiness of God to
mean there’s not only an aversion to sin, but also a desire to seek out, save,
and revive the lost. God’s holiness drives Him to seek and find us. In His
perfection, God seeks to restore the world to its original holy and perfect
It is God's purity that will not allow Him to discard us,
though He has reason to. His holiness, rooted in love, compels Him to save. He
sent His one and only Son to turn sinners into saints.
God's holiness means that God hates sin enough to deliver
sinners from it.
“For the Lord your
God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who
shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.” (Deuteronomy 10:17, NIV)
names have been associated with greatness. There was Alexander the Great. The
Great Gatsby. Boxer Muhammad Ali was known as “the Greatest,” and hockey legend
Wayne Gretzky as “the Great One.”
typically reserve this word to describe a unique accomplishment or status. To
call someone “great” is to say there is only one—there has never been, nor will
there ever be, another like him or her.
People who heard Moses speak the words of Deuteronomy 10:17 had heard often of Yahweh,
the God of their forefather Abraham. But by that time, they had also lived for four
hundred years in Egypt, where multiple gods were worshiped. And now God was
leading them to a land where they would be surrounded by other polytheistic peoples.
What made Israel’s God unique from the rest? What, if anything, caused Him to
stand out from all the others?
argued that God deserved the Hebrews’ full devotion because He is “the great God.”
The Hebrew word “great” is gadol. It
means distinguished, important, large, grand, magnificent. And why is God
uniquely deserving of this title? Because, Moses says, He’s mighty. He’s
powerful and awesome. There’s nothing too hard for Him. Not only this, but unlike
the petty gods of the surrounding cultures, the God of Israel is just—He is
fair and gracious. That’s another reason He’s great: He doesn’t play favorites or
accept bribes, like a crooked earthly judge.
great, Moses says elsewhere in this same chapter, because He owns the universe
(14). He’s great because He graciously set His affection on the Hebrew people
(15). He’s great because He cares about the helpless (18). He’s great because He
alone does awesome wonders (21). He’s great because He blesses undeserving
god does such things? Only Yahweh, Israel’s God, the one true God is able to hold
the title of “great.”
blasphemous and tragic to treat anything
as being greater than God. Do people give their hearts to other gods? Of
course. But there is no god like “the great God” of Israel.
identifying their God as “great,” notice the response Moses urged from the
people: "Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him."
Because of God's unique position, He is worthy of reverential fear and faithful
Understanding God's forgiveness can release you from guilt and free you from shame. If you need to better understand God's forgiveness--or if you need to take a step toward forgiving someone else--then subscribe below.
This free series lasts 5 days. Each day you will receive a link to a 2-3 minute video and a PDF to a Bible study that can be completed in 10-15 minutes. This study will cover the following topics:
Day 1: Sin, Confession, and a Holy God
Day 2: What is True Repentance?
Day 3: No Condemnation
Day 4: Stop Trying to Earn God's Forgiveness!
Day 5: How Can I forgive Others if I Don't Feel Like Forgiving?
What's the catch? There is none. Like forgiveness the study is completely free and made available to anyone who needs it.
Shortly after Peter professes that Jesus is the Messiah of God (Luke 9:18 – 20), Jesus again tells his followers that he must suffer, be rejected by the church leaders, be killed, and then be raised to life on the third day. He then explains that anyone who wants to be his disciple must take up his or her cross and follow him (Luke 9:21 – 23).
Jesus’ crucifixion begins with a brutal beating, wearing a crown of thorns, and carrying his own crossbeam through the city to the place of his execution. While Jesus
is dying, the land becomes supernaturally dark. Around three in the afternoon, Jesus cries out in Hebrew, quoting from Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:45 – 46, NIV). At this moment, Jesus is taking upon himself all of humanity’s sin, as well as all of God’s wrath, mysteriously experiencing complete separation from the Father.
In John’s account of the crucifixion, he records Jesus’ last words as “It is finished,” after which Jesus “bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:28 – 30, NIV). These words signify the accomplishment of the Father’s will in reconciling humanity to himself. The cross of Christ, the blood of the Lamb, now provides direct access to a holy and loving God.
When Jesus dies, the earth shakes, rocks split, tombs open, and the massive veil in the Holy of Holies in the Jerusalem temple is split from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51 – 52). Jesus is then placed inside of a cave-like tomb secured by a large boulder and guarded by two Roman soldiers (Mark 15:42 – 47; Matthew 27:62 – 66).
The Miracle of Easter
On the third day after Jesus’ death, an angel with an “appearance like lightning” and “clothes as white as snow” appears at the tomb. The guards are so afraid, they become “like dead men.” To the women at Jesus’ tomb who had come to tend to his body, the angel says, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said” (Matthew 28:5 – 6, NIV).
The angel then tells the women to go and tell the disciples the news: Jesus “has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him” (Matthew 28:7, NIV). As the women report this news to the disciples, Jesus appears to them. They fall at his feet and worship him (Matthew 28:9). Jesus, the Author of life, now holds the keys of death and hades (Revelation 1:18). For more on The Most Significant People, Places, and Events of the Bible, watch the 30 second video trailer here.
The following is an excerpt from What You Need to Know About Heaven.
Let’s imagine the impossible. Let’s say a person is born, lives a full life, and dies without violating any of God’s commands. Let’s say the person never utters a falsehood, never harbors a millisecond of ill will toward another person, and never gives God less than 100 percent devotion. Let’s say the person’s every thought, attitude, word, and deed honor God.
In the context of eternal life, such a sparkling résumé would still fall immeasurably short of the standard required for atoning for sin and restoring the relationship with God. Even if no sin were committed, the person would still have an inherited sinful nature to answer for. No one born of man and woman could offer the perfect sacrifice that God requires for the atonement of sin.
A person conceived by the Holy Spirit and delivered by a virgin, on the other hand, would have no inherited sinful nature. If that person could manage the impossible—live a sinless life with absolutely no offenses against God—he would be a fitting candidate to bring about atonement.
Of course, this perfect candidate would have to agree to endure unprecedented agony—the kind of torture and death that would be unimaginable to anyone else. This innocent, blameless specimen of perfection would be subjected to the totality of God’s holy wrath and judgment for the sins of the world. The suffering and pain we deserve would instead be heaped on him. He who knew no sin would, in effect, become sin in God’s eyes—and be punished accordingly.
Only One could satisfy those demands. But in order to do that, he had to leave his idyllic existence in heaven for a life of rejection, ridicule, and betrayal on our sin-ravaged planet. He had to give up his autonomy and become a helpless baby. He had to lay aside his perfections and make himself vulnerable to pain, sickness, and exhaustion. He had to submit to physical limitations, such as hunger and thirst. He had to squeeze his infinite presence into a container of flesh roughly five-and-a-half-feet tall.
Only Jesus could have bridged the gap between God and humanity. Only Jesus did.
The above article appears in What You Need to Know About Heaven, which is on sale where magazines are sold within the United States and Canada.
Genesis 26:5 "I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed"
Imagine how overwhelmed Abraham must have been when God laid these promises on him. The sheer grandness of them caused Abraham to fall to the ground. Of course, God kept these promises. God multiplied Abraham’s descendants beyond what he could imagine. Kings did come from Abraham—most importantly, the King of kings, Jesus Himself.
God has also made promises to us throughout His Word. Sometimes these promises can seem too grand to be true: eternal life in a perfect place with streets of gold? How could this be? But God does not lie. God keeps His promises. If God kept His promises to Abraham, we can be confident He will keep His promises to us. If we find ourselves doubting, all we have to do is return to God’s Word to find the truth: that He has been faithful to His Word, over and over, throughout time, no matter how impossible His promises may seem.
The above devotion is taken from an upcoming project to be published by Barbour Publishing. It will appear in the KJV PROPHECY STUDY BIBLE.