New Covenant – Part III – The Law of God’s Holiness
My parents are both deceased. When I was a child, my parents, specifically my mother, taught me to recite a prayer at meal time: “God is great, God is good, thank you Lord, for this food.” Of course, I had no sense or ‘understandable’ concept of what I was saying as to ‘what’ or ‘why’ God was ‘great’ or ‘good’.
An incomplete or inaccurate theological view always means that the holder of such view is living life at ‘less’ than ‘full’. It is like watching a person walk their bicycle down the road because they don’t know you are supposed to sit on the seat and ride it. It is like someone who has a violin and they don’t quite understand its purpose and they use it as a boat paddle. Such analogies relate to the understanding and design of ‘intention-function-purpose’. Such are we in our ‘working relationship’ with God ‘if’ we do not seek to understand and ‘know’ Him and His ways.
Let’s return to the phrase…God is ‘great’ and ‘good.’ So what does that mean…God is great…God is good? I hear people say “God is good all of the time.” What are they believing or seeing when they say that? The same question is applicable to “God is Holy.” What does that mean? Why is it important, relevant, or not? It is impossible to understand the problem with ‘sin’ or come to understand how to give sin the correct weighted value as a problem until we come to understand God’s value for His own goodness, holiness, and greatness. You can’t really understand and see the problem with ‘sin’ until you see it from God’s view and God’s perspective. You can’t understand God’s condemnation of ‘sin’ and His judgment of ‘sin’ unless you can accurately understand the ‘value’ of His holiness, goodness, greatness, and purity.
In defining the concept of the word ‘pure’ within the most strict definition…how pure is ‘pure’? Some of the listed definitions for the word pure are: ‘unmixed with any other matter’….’being thus and no other’….’free from what vitiates, weakens, or pollutes’…’containing nothing that does not properly belong’. Try to bring to mind something that is ‘absolutely’ pure. Are you thinking of pure gold? Did you know that even after the refining process, gold is not ‘absolutely’ pure. The coldest cold, the darkest dark, the purest white, none of these word pictures can really let us see, feel, or understand, what the most ‘absolute pure’ state of something can be.
We have no ‘experience or revelation’ of such and thus we have no framework wherein to form an objective definition. And this is why we do not accurately assign sufficient weight’ to sin and why we don’t view sin with the same weight, or view, that God does. And in the same way, this is why we do not understand or assign sufficient weight or value to God’s degree of ‘absolute’ holiness, goodness, greatness, or purity. And because we do not grasp the ‘absolute’ holiness, goodness, greatness, and purity of God we ‘thus’ cannot fully understand and appreciate His absolute and complete ‘aversion’ to sin.
1 John, chapter 1, vs 5 says “God is pure light and in Him is no darkness at all.” God is pure beyond what you can conceive as pure. He ‘contains nothing that does not properly belong to absolute pure.’ He is ‘free from what vitiates, weakens, or pollutes’. His absolute purity is ‘unmixed with any other matter’…and this is because it is His essential nature to be ‘thus and no other’. It is in the genetics of His ‘pureblood’ God genes. It is not that He won’t abide sin…it is that He CANNOT abide sin because He is ‘without’ Sin.
His absolute state of pureness means nothing alien or foreign or separate from His own purity can exist in or around His ‘being’. The sum and whole of God’s presence in His existence in absolute purity is manifest outwardly as God’s ‘glory’. God’s ‘thing’ is the exaltation and preservation of His glory. Wherever God is…His ‘glory’ is. They are one and the same. In the book of Exodus, chapter 24, God has invited Moses, Aaron, Aaron’s sons, and 70 elders, up to the top of the mountain to meet with God. God tells Moses this select group “is to worship at a distance, but you (Moses) alone are to approach the Lord: the others must not come near. And the people may not come up with you.” So they climb to the top of the mountain and they see the Lord from a distance…”and they saw the God of Israel. Under His feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself.” And then God calls Moses, alone, to come up further on the mountain to meet with God privately. Vs. 15-17…”When Moses went up on the mountain, a cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai.”
To the Israelites (at the bottom of the mtn) the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.” In chapter 33, vs. 18-23, Moses is meeting with God and Moses says “Now show me your glory. And the Lord said, I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. But, you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live. There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
God’s glory is the manifestation of His absolute purity, holiness, goodness, and majesty. In the book of Psalm, chapter 99, vs. 9, King David says “the Lord is Holy.” The manifestation of God’s glory inspires awe and reverence and the divine term that gives expression to the manifestation of His presence is the term “Holy”. The essence that radiates out from the ‘all’ of His ‘being’ is His Glory. We see the ‘attributes’ of God in scripture: He is all-knowing, all-present, all-powerful, and He is all-sovereign. But the manifested essence that covers the all of who and what He is..is the Glory of His ‘holiness’.
Thus we have the ‘great dilemma’: An absolutely ‘pure’ and ‘holy’ God wants to live among His people who are ‘infected’ with sin. God’s absolute pureness is the All of His being…pureness in character, in thought, in actions. It is not that He chooses to not be impure..it is that He is literally incapable because of His divine nature. He can only be good, holy, perfect, pure, loving, because he does not have the capacity to not be so. (Now..you may be already thinking…”man..how fortunate are we that this supernatural supreme being that created and sustains the universe is good and not evil”….and your thinking would be correct….whew!)
So it is not that God will not abide sin…it is that God CANNOT abide sin because His essential nature of absolute purity, holiness, goodness, and majesty cannot co-exist with, dwell with, sin. Thus it is one of the ‘divine laws’ of the universe…the ‘divine law of His holiness’. The ‘great dilemma is that the absolutely pure Creator desires to live among His impure creatures. But His divine law of holiness will not allow Him to dwell in or among darkness, at all. But out of God’s ‘love’ and desire to be with His people, He provided a way to reconcile the problem. God created/instituted a system and program for reconciling the problem. God created the system of Atonement. God declares it a ‘law’ in itself.
For some reason that is not explained to us in scripture, God elects to implement a temporary and partial system of Atonement in the introduction of the Old Covenant system. It is not a permanent system that completely takes away the problem of sin that separates men from God. The best understanding we can come to is that God chose to install the temporary system in order to provide a temporary system that partially reconciled the problem between God and men… AND…. for the temporary system to be an example and model of the ‘governing principles’ of Atonement so that ‘when’ He later would install the permanent system of Atonement, the New Covenant system in the person of God the Son, it would be more clearly understood as to its superior principles and qualities.
As stated in the prior posts, the first system of Atonement was installed during the time of Moses. The basic idea or principle utilized in God’s ‘atoning’ system was the concept of the blood of an innocent 3rd party being used to provide a propitiation or ‘covering’ to cover-over or make ‘atonement for’ the sin that stood between God and His people. So God installed a temporary atonement system that provided a way to satisfy the requirements of His divine law of holiness.