by Jon Walker
«Then I said: Woe is me, for I am ruined, because I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips, [and] because my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.» (Isaiah 6:5 HCSB)
There are days when I think I’m doing pretty good in my pursuit of holiness; other days, I find myself in the dirt, grit between my teeth and the mud and crud of life all over my less-than-saintly face.
It makes me wonder, some days, if Peter was engaged in wishful thinking when he restated God’s call from Leviticus, that we’re to be holy, just as our Heavenly Father is holy (1 Peter 1:16). Yet, Ian Thomas, a most obedient man of God, says this call to holiness is a perfectly reasonable request.
This is perfectly reasonable because it is God who makes us holy – not our own pursuit of holiness. Isaiah’s vision of heaven helps me to understand how this works. An angel-seraph sings out, «Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; his glory fills the whole earth,» and Isaiah’s response is, «Woe is me, for I am ruined, because I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips, [and] because my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.» (Isaiah 6:3,5 HCSB)
This is Isaiah, the MVP of prophets, yet as he moves into God’s holy light, he can see more clearly than ever that his righteous acts are more than filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). He says, in effect, ‘I am ruined; I cannot match your holiness, Lord.’
Just then, one of the angel-seraphs flies to Isaiah with a glowing hot coal from Heaven’s altar. He touches it to Isaiah’s lips and says, «Now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, and your sin is atoned for.» (Isaiah 6:7 HCSB)
The thing to remember today – and forever – is that God initiates the cleansing; God does it himself; God will complete the cleansing as you submit to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. «For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God ….» (Ephesians 2:8a NIV)
· God is holy, and you can only become holy through his work in you.
· The closer you get to God, the more you’ll realize how far short of holiness you are. We all fall short of the glory of God.
· God cleanses you for a mission – «Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: Who should I send? Who will go for usí I said: Here I am. Send me.» (Isaiah 6:8 HCSB)
· Not by works – Ask God to show you the place in your life where you rely on good works and not upon his grace. Ask him to help you embrace the grace. (Ephesians 2:8 NIV)
© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.