The Beauty of Holiness

February 16, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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I know I’ll probably get called old-fashioned or even legalistic, but I do think Christians ought to consider what type of clothing is appropriate for a church service at the local Christian church to which they belong. Obviously, we know that we place a high importance on what we wear to “special occasions” or to meet earthly dignitaries, so it only makes sense to do the same when we are going to formally “meet with God,” or, better, to corporately worship Him while meeting with His people.

Having said that, though, as we worship, we need to place an even greater consideration on how God Himself is “attired.”

O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.

Psalm 96:9

We tend to think of “beauty” as something which attracts us, and, certainly, the Lord God is the God of beauty, and beauty is itself one of His immutable attributes. However, notice that His beauty is a beauty of “holiness.” It is a singular beauty, a one-of-a-kind, a unique beauty. There is, truly, none like Him. Even as His beauty attracts us, it is so foreign to us – so alien – so severe – that it forces us to bow down as we worship. It forces us, if we are rightly considering His majesty, supremacy, and might, to tremble with a reverent fear.

Has something gone missing from your worship? Perhaps you have never, in a worship service, felt the fear of the Lord in the first place. Let me encourage you to recover a sense of awe in the holiness of God. Formal worship is not a time for relaxation and calm introspection. It is a time when we, by His grace, challenge ourselves to receive by faith the love of God Whose unmediated brilliance and beauty would obliterate those who would approach Him frivolously.

Catechism Question 3

March 17, 2014 at 10:50 am | Posted in Children's Bible Catechism | 6 Comments
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Question 3: Why did God make everything?
Answer: For His Own glory.
Prove it.

For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

Romans 11:36

God was not bored. He was not lonely. One of His attributes is true “perfection.” He lacks nothing. He is complete. He is joyful now, so He has always been joyful. He has always known perfect triune fellowship within the Trinity. In our sinful flesh, we must admit that there is not a single person with whom we could dwell eternally and never get bored or aggravated, but God is not like us in that way. He is eternally fascinating.

One of the attributes of God that we seldom talk about is His beauty. He is eternally beautiful, and we will never discover the end of His beauty, and we will never get tired of pursuing it or marveling over it.

Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.

Psalm 86:8-10

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Revelation 4:11

This catechism question-and-answer is a good opportunity to explain to children that God was good to give us the opportunity to glorify Him because that is the best thing for us.

The “Great” that Doesn’t “Grate” – Part Two

April 6, 2009 at 11:09 am | Posted in Bible Studies, Biblical Greats | 9 Comments
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In a previous post we looked at the idea that familiarity with people can breed contempt, but familiarity with God always breeds awe, love, and worship. Even the person you love the most in this world will grate on your nerves from time to time. But no matter how close we draw to God, we never find any flaws or imperfections.

Here are three attributes of God that highlight His “greatness.”

1. His supremacy shows He is great.

For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

Psalm 95:3

There is one God, and He is over all other things and beings, and in a class above all other things and beings. In fact He is sui generis: in a class by Himself – the only example of His kind. God can not truly be compared to anyone or anything, because there is absolutely nothing else and no one else like Him. Everything in the universe is “creation” except for Him; He is “Creator.” I have heard a couple of preachers say that it is theologically incorrect to say that anything is “like” God. They compare the smallest microbe in the universe to the most powerful archangel next to the throne of God, and say that it is wrong to say that the archangel is more “like” God than the microbe, because God is completely and utterly unique.

Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works.

Psalm 86:8

2. His strength shows He is great.

Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:

Psalm 104:3

God created the seas and the skies, and He rules over them.

Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

Psalm 104:4

At the same time He commands the armies of Heaven.

Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.

Psalm 104:5

God built the earth, and He maintains it.

Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.

Psalm 104:6-8

He commanded the mountains to rise up, and they did it. He commanded the valleys to sink down, and they did it.

Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.

Psalm 104:9

God told the seas to come up to just the right point, and they came to His boundaries, and did not cross over them.

He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst. By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches. He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;

Psalm 104:10-13

He provides, through nature, for every living thing.

Scientists never have and never will create even a single natural law. Scientific advances and achievements come solely from the discovery and use of laws which God has Himself woven into the universe, and which He constantly controls.

3. His splendor shows He is great.

Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:

Psalm 104:1-2

God’s splendor is exhibited in His honor and majesty. He has a beauty that is unlike what we normally think of as “beauty,” because God’s beauty has an intrinsic worth.

He does not find splendor from some outside source, and then put it on like a garment. God’s splendor is a part of Who He is.

God has revealed Himself in His creation, but His greatest revelations of Himself are His Word and Jesus Christ (Who is God’s Word personified). (See John Chapter 1.)

The Bible, God’s holy Word, is a love letter. If you have ever received a love letter, you will recall the feeling of delight just at the fact of having received it. But then you begin to read it. Maybe you read it over and over, and dig deep into the meaning of each word. You meditate upon it. Then you begin to heed it – to change your ways according to its precepts.

Such a love letter creates in you a desire and longing to speak with its author. Thankfully, through the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, born-again believers can have intimate conversations with the Author of God’s love letter to them.

As you consider God’s greatness in His supremacy, His strength, and His splendor, let me encourage you to spend much time reading and studying and meditating upon His Word. The benefits are innumerable.

You may have heard the story of the farmer who told the young boy who worked for him to go down a hill, taking an extremely dirty bucket with him, and to bring the bucket back, full of water. The boy raced down the hill to a pond, plunged the bucket in, and began trudging back up the hill. But when he got to the farmer, he and the boy looked down to find the bucket empty, and full of holes. The farmer really needed water so he sent the boy to repeat this process several times. The boy went faster each time, but only grew more and more frustrated after every trip. Finally, the boy, exhausted, told the farmer that the errand was useless. Then, the farmer pointed into the bucket. There was no water, but the formerly dirty bucket was now sparkling clean on the inside.

Learning to appreciate God’s greatness through Bible reading can be difficult. Not every passage of Scripture will be clear the first time you read it. However, pouring the water of God’s Word through your heart and mind each and every day will bring a cleansing to your life that will help you know and appreciate God all the more.

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