By Barnabas Piper
Our holy God, through His grace and provision, welcomes imperfect people into His presence.
Imagine meeting your favorite president, leader, or one of the great kings or emperors from history. It would be intimidating and awe-inspiring, to be sure. But would you respond like this?
Woe is me for I am ruined
because I am a man of unclean lips
and live among a people of unclean lips,
and because my eyes have seen the King,
the LORD of Armies” (Isaiah 6:5).
Probably not. Even the greatest ruler in human history or the finest, earthly throne room doesn’t deserve this kind of response.
But when the prophet Isaiah was ushered into the very presence of God and saw Him in all His inexpressible glory this was his response, and rightfully so (Isaiah 6:1–7). It would be our response, too, for we are of that same people of “unclean lips.” Revelation 4 paints an even fuller picture of the enormity and perfection of God’s glory as it describes the stormy wonder of His presence and then declares Him “holy, holy, holy, holy” and “worthy to receive glory and honor and power” (vv.8,11). Isaiah responded this way because he saw his own—all of humanity’s, really—lack of holiness and worthiness. We have no place in God’s presence. We are unclean because of sin.
But it was never God’s intention to separate Himself from His people. Throughout Scripture He proves Himself to be a rescuing and relating God. In Leviticus 11:45, God says, “For I am the LORD, who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God, so you must be holy because I am holy.” God is making clear His intention to be with His people and His expectation that we should be holy and sinless, like He is. But how? We are unclean and unworthy and can’t purify ourselves.
God knew this, too, and so He made a way for us to be with Him. Ephesians 2 lays it out for us so clearly: “But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (v.13). We were once unworthy, but we now have Jesus’s worthiness. Jesus is our peace, the reconciler of God and man (v.14). Jesus grants us access to the Father (v.18).
God sent His Son so that we would be able to enter His presence. He welcomes us through Christ so that we can “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). The very God who is so holy and majestic as to strike Isaiah with fear, who is worthy of all praise and glory, who rescued His people from Egypt, is the God who now offers mercy and grace for those who come to Him through His Son. He welcomes us into His glorious presence, whole and purified in Jesus.
Written by Barnabas Piper
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One thought on "We Are Welcomed into God’s Presence"
Thanks to Barnabas for this article. Thanks most of all to God – even on our stressful mornings and in our weaknesses, may we never be complacent and ungrateful. May we be constantly reminded that without Jesus, we would be utterly lost in every sense. Especially during this uncertain time.
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