We need to be watchful never to forget that the horror of our sin and the holiness of God put Christ on the cross for us who believe. It’s heart check time.
Man is humbled, and each one is brought low,
and the eyes of the haughty are brought low.
But the Lord of hosts is exalted in justice,
and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness. Isaiah 5:15-16
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. Galatians 3:13-14
Failure to see the holiness of God and the horror of sin is a problem which repeatedly crops up in human hearts. It happened in ancient Judah in Isaiah’s day and it happened in Galatia in Paul’s day. It continues to happen today.
Isaiah warned Judah of her sin and reminded them of the reality of death, the gaping mouth of Sheol consuming all humanity one by one. The people were living in denial. They presumed upon the grace and mercy of God as they relied on their own wisdom and ignored the perfect holiness of God. It would take a reawakening to the imminence of death and their utter failure to attain to God’s purity to humble them. They needed to see Him “high and lifted up” (6:1). At the same time, they needed to see themselves as people of “unclean lips” (6:5). They needed to see how darkened were their minds as they reversed the definitions of good and evil (5:20). We do too.
The Galatians situation is even more perplexing. Here were people who had heard and believed the gospel, repented of their sin, and had received the Holy Spirit by faith, but now through the influence of some false teachers were turning away from trusting Christ and returning to law keeping as the basis for their hope. Paul is astonished. Yet experience tells us that this is always a potential problem. It appeals to our pride to achieve our own acceptance before God. This attitude comes from either not seeing the holiness of God or not seeing the heinousness of our rebellion against Him. In our minds, we either dilute God’s holiness or our sin. Usually both.
Think about it
God means for us to humble ourselves before Him, to see the awfulness of sin as reflected in the agony of Christ’s death. He had to become a curse for us to free us from the curse upon us through the law. Do a heart check today. Beware of any creeping self-righteousness that diminishes your complete reliance on the Lord Jesus Christ for your standing before God.