Journey to Understand Grace Part 3: A Holy God

Last time, I wrote how Jesus feels about sin, that sin is DANGEROUS.  I'm not at the end of discussing grace and I'm sure some of you are very nervous about where this is going.  Please be patient, we will get there, but not today!

Another one of the problems people have in accepting grace is that they have a dilemma of how they could be in the presence of God if they are also in sin.  Part of this problem comes from the idea that because God is a Holy God, sin cannot be in His presence.  The general idea that many people walk away with is that sin is God's kryptonite and that He cannot be in the presence of sin.  However, I would like to present several Scriptures that show that this is not a completely accurate understanding.

1.  When Adam and Eve sinned, God came into the garden and spoke to them.  Sin had taken place but God still came to them.  If God was not able to be in the presence of sin, He would have sent an angel to talk to Adam and Eve. 
2. Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden because the tree of life was planted there and God did not want them to be able to live forever in their state of sin (Genesis 3:22) thus they were not kicked out to be removed from His presence.
3.  If you read the account of Cain, before He murdered Abel God came and talked to Him telling Him that sin was trying to overtake him and that he must overcome it (Genesis 4:6-7). 
4.  Man didn't begin praying to God until the life of Enosh (Genesis 4:26).  Seeing how God talked to Cain it is plausible that God continued commune with men on an individual basis for a time.
5.  Satan does come into the presence of God.  "One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. (Job 1:6)."  "For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night (Revelation 12:10)."
6.  While Jesus was on earth, He was 100% man and 100% God.  We know for a fact that while on earth He was surrounded by sin. 
Therefore, the idea that we are separated from God, because God cannot be in the presence of sin is not a completely accurate picture.  Sin is not above God, more powerful than Him, or His kryptonite.  A more accurate picture I believe is that because of God's Holiness, sin cannot last in His presence. 
All the Israelites were invited to come to God when He presented the 10 commandments, but they chose to send Moses in their stead (Exodus 20:10).  There was a purification process that did need to take place because death would overtake them if they were not purified.  We also learn in Deuteronomy 4:24 God is a consuming fire.  We see throughout the OT that the people could not be in the presence of God and they had to be separated from the Holy of Holies.  In order for the priests to enter the Holy of Holies they had to go through a purification process or else they would die.  That is because it is sin that cannot survive in the presence of God.  If a sinful man would come into God's presence all by himself, he would die.  The problem of sin is on our end and before the death of Jesus, God set up the veil as a separation for the protection of our lives.
Isaiah 59:1-2 is a verse that many use to justify the idea that God separates Himself from us as a punishment for our sin:
Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save,
nor his ear too dull to hear.
But your iniquities have separated
you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he will not hear.

Our sin did cause a separation between us and God.  In verse 1 it says His ear is not to dull to hear, but in verse 2 it says he will not hear because of our sins.  However, if we read earlier in verse 2 it talks about how our iniquities have separated us from God and His face is hidden from you.  Sin causes a separation but it is on our end.  Sin blinds us from understanding His heart.  To justify that this passage isn't saying He keeps Himself separate from us because He is waiting for us to be sinless we can see that in the exact same chapter of Isaiah that God's heart is for us and He no longer wants sin to cause a separation between us:

Isaiah 59:16-17
He saw that there was no one,
he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm worked salvation for him,
and his own righteousness sustained him.
He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

Sin did not cause such a separation from God that He didn't want to come to rescue us.  He decided to come down and save us from ourselves.

Why is this important?  If you believe that sin is God's hang-up then every time you sin now, as a Christian, you will still think that your sin causes God to separate Himself from you.  You will think that because of His Holiness, He has to remove Himself from you until you get your act back together.  In addition, you will think that the security of your salvation depends on what you do and don't do and therefore you will not feel at peace in His presence.  But if you understand that sin is our issue, that it blinds us from the heart of God and that God Himself chose to overcome the barrier in such a way that sin is no longer even an issue in regards to Him.... but I'm getting ahead of myself. Just know that salvation comes to us in the form of Jesus Christ and as we will continue to see, grace will be one of the beautiful blessings that is attached to His beautiful salvation.

In Christ,

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