Chapter 3 - The Fearful Mystery
Quotable Sproul: "The things in the list (holy ground, holy Sabbath, holy tithe, holy bread, holy nation, holy water, holy ones, etc) are not holy in themselves. To become holy they first must be consecrated or sanctified (set apart as different) by God. God alone is holy in Himself. Only God can sanctify something else. Only God can give the touch that changes it from the commonplace to something special, different, and apart."
IMPORTANT: "ONLY GOD CAN". Remember that, because I will touch on it shortly. My friend, Terry, brought up an interesting thought in one of her recent comments, leading me to the wonder of God and how we can be ourselves, yet holy, sanctified, and different at the same time.
Allowing God's Holiness to Touch Our Lives - 3 questions
1) "In what ways is God an awe-ful mystery to you?"
I am gripped by Yahweh's ever-eternality -- not about His future eternality, but His past. I cannot fathom something/someone NOT having a beginning, but I can imagine no end. But no beginning? Impossible to comprehend.
2) "Does God's mystery comfort you or frighten you?"
In one sense, it freaks me out. In another, it comforts me. It scares me because, compared to Almighty God, I am but a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. It would be an easy thing for God to snuff out my candle, so-to-speak. Yet, God's eternality is comforting because in all of His glory, He decided to create creation. It is awe-inspiring that an eternal God would step out and create something He could/would love. And to think He would sacrifice Himself for His own creation and hold my life in the care of His hands baffles me.
3) "What do you learn about yourself as you comprehend the mystery of God's holiness?"
Early in the chapter, Dr. Sproul addressed the issue of what it means for God to be holy. "When the Bible calls God holy, it means that God is transcendentally ('to climb across', 'exceeding usual limits') separate...To be holy is to be 'other', to be different in a special way."
God's holiness is more than another of His many attributes. For instance, while God is pure, the holiness of God is not exclusive to His purity. Purity is contained within His holiness. Christians often mistakenly think we are "holy" if we are "pure". Well, in and of ourselves, we can never be pure. There is nothing WE can do to purify ourselves; it is all up to God to purify. Remember the snippet from the first quote...ONLY GOD CAN. Only He can make us holy and set us apart. Not us. When we try to do it, it looks superficial, arrogant, and judgmental. In essence, God makes us holy at the instance of our conversion. We are automatically different, set apart from God's perspective. Our purity and uprightness of the way we choose to live is an altogether separate matter.
The Apostle Paul addressed this in his "old man / new man" theory. When we are saved, we become a new creation, while at the same time occupying an old creation. The new man and the old man walk step-by-step with each other, but we must battle the desires of the old man while living as the new man. Check out Paul's epistle to the Ephesians (chapter 4) for more insight.