Bread – Holy

December 12, 2012


Readings for Wednesday, December 12, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Isa. 6; 2 Thess. 2:1-12; John 7:53-8:11; Psalms 38,119:25-48

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Today’s reading from Isaiah is one of my favorites, because it reveals heaven, the holiness of God, and our unworthiness to be present unless there is atonement for our sins. From Isaiah we read:

“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… And one [seraphim – fiery angels] called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!’ … 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!’ 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.’” Isa. 6:1-5

Holy is God. He is set apart from me; He is above me; He made me. There is no one more powerful and there is no one more gracious. Isaiah was brought by vision into the throne room of God. Even though he was not there physically, the presence of God was so holy, so powerful, so overwhelming that Isaiah knew immediately that he was in trouble from his sin – “Woe is me.” Even to approach God in a vision in His throne room, there was need for atonement of sin. Here the seraphim used a coal from the altar.

If atonement for sin is absolutely required in a vision, how much more when we are face to face with God at judgment?

Fortunately for us, we have atonement for our sins in Jesus Christ, for all who believe and trust in Him, repenting and turning from their dedication to self as idol toward God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

But just as the holiness of God would have brought a terrible end to Isaiah if there had been no atonement, so it will bring a terrible end to those who are not Christ’s disciples in truth. This terrible end is described in today’s reading from 2 Thessalonians:

“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned, who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thess. 2:9-12

The refusal to love the truth is the rejection of the truth of Christ, the rejection of God’s holiness, the rejection of life and light itself. When this person refuses to love the truth, God says “If you want to run over the cliff so fast, let me help.”

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are not holy except to the extent Jesus makes us so by standing for us as our atonement for our sin. To have Jesus on our side means trusting Him, turning toward Him, believing in Him, accepting His gift of mercy and salvation, recognizing that there is but one God and that we are not Him, and growing in that reality as we conform our mind and heart to Him.

In this Christmas season, we celebrate God’s coming to earth in the form of a baby, who will grow up to be a man, who will die a most horrible death on the cross that we might have life and have it everlasting. When we contemplate that baby, the words “Holy, Holy, Holy” ought to come to mind. Before Him we ought to bow, give up our lives for the One who takes away our sin, and be grateful. Wise men have. Wise men do.

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© 2012 GBF

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