|"God needs us to be holy so that He can embrace us and pour out His presence upon us."|
WHEN CAIN KILLED ABEL, he lost the ability to till the ground, and he feared for his life amongst the people. He'd been a farmer his entire life and his brother, a sheep herder. The man who killed a man worried that he would die at the hand of men. My mother used to say, often when I was young, "Be sure your sins will find you out." She was usually trying to point out I needed to confess or that someone else had done something we should not copy. God knows our sins. He is never in the dark about what we have done wrong nor uninformed about our motives. He knows our every thought. But our sins stand between us and Him, they prevent us from being one with Him in holiness.
The EasyEnglish translation paints a very clear picture of creation as from the beauty of God. God created all of life, He spoke, and it was made. In the center of the garden of Eden, He placed two trees and gave Adam an instruction to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve, when questioned by the enemy whether God had really said they could not eat of the trees in the garden, replied they could eat of any tree except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She said, "We can eat fruit from the trees in the garden. But God said, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden and you must not touch it. You will die if you touch that fruit.'" (Genesis 3:2-3 EasyEnglish)
Here is a picture of holiness. The sacrificial system written by the hand of God in Leviticus contains many specific instructions about holiness. What was consecrated as holy could not be handled like an everyday item. A person did not simply walk into the tabernacle without cleansing himself and being attired properly. Not as a threat against them. This is how we have pictured it. We read many of God's instructions to Israel as threats, but 1 John 4:8 tells us God is love, so we must adjust our thinking. The God of love is holy, and unless we are holy, we will not see Him (Hebrews 12:14). And His desire is TO BE SEEN, SO THAT His love can be in us and the generosity which flows from His extreme goodness can pour out upon us. God wanted to bless Israel beyond their wildest imaginations, and becoming holy in the way He instructed them was how He would do it.
Holiness has never NOT been required of man. When King David moved the ark toward Jerusalem, He did not follow the instructions written generations before, which directed the move to be done in a particular manner so that everyone involved would be holy and treat the ark as holy. When a man carrying the ark, touched the ark and died, David stopped the move in place. Realizing he needed to read what had been written, David left the ark in the household of Obededom the Gittite. And while it was there, until David retrieved it and began the move again properly, Obededom’s household was abundantly blessed.
Here we see two images. The man who died did so because God is holy, and the ark was holy. But the ark, the place of God's presence within the tabernacle, caused another man to be blessed. These are not two separate images but one complete one. What is holy must be treated as holy for our own good. A person cannot simply climb a light pole and adjust the wires by hand. He will die, there's too much power flowing through them. Yet that power when it enters a person's home serves a good purpose. God is love and His love in man blesses us abundantly. He desires to bless. He sent Jesus for this reason. He wanted to be known as Father, as the source of eternal love. But because He is holy, our hearts must be cleansed with Jesus' blood. Where the Old Testament sacrifices required the blood of an animal to cleanse for a short time, when we accept Jesus into our heart, His blood cleanses us forever. We must dedicate ourselves to it and renew our minds against the actions of sin, but instead of the washings and burnt offerings required under the Law, we need only repent, and we are made holy again.
God's need to make us holy is not one of condemnation. It is the devil who nitpicks over every fallen crumb. God needs us to be holy so that He can embrace us and pour out His presence upon us. He desired for His Holy Spirit to live in us as the permanent place of His wisdom and blessing, so that we would never have to wonder what God is doing on the earth, or how He is working in our lives, so that we would have access forever to His goodness and kindness, His healing, peace, and joy. And He knew unless He placed Himself on the altar and carried our sins, which we could not do for ourselves, His desire to love us so completely would not be fulfilled. BUT IT WAS FULFILLED, and there was no chance it would not be fulfilled for the very reason that He set it in motion before the world was ever formed.
“And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” (Revelation 4:8)
Because He is holy. No weapon formed against us will ever prosper because our holy God is on our side. We will never lack any good thing because He is holy and there is no lack in Him. We will prosper and have good success, by Jesus' stripes we are healed, our hearts and minds are filled with His peace beyond our understanding, all because He is holy, and where He is, where His holiness is, there is all of Him, in power and presence and revelation.
Eve was deceived and ate the fruit. Adam was not deceived and ate anyway. Death entered mankind, and the knowledge they thought they desired came to them but not like they expected. Between man and God was now a separation from His holiness. So God clothed them in a blood sacrifice and placed them outside the garden until His Son could come to earth and fill man's heart again. There at the gate of Eden, to protect the tree which would give them life was placed the mercy of God and the presence of cherubim, turning this way and that to guard it. There was the salvation which the Holy God of heaven would fulfill in, to them, a future time to return man made in His image, after His likeness, to the throne room. Where He who is holy fills everything with His Light. His life. His love. For His children.
“And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.” (Exodus 25:20-22)
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
Suzanne D. Williams, Author