COVID-19, What Do We Do?

As I write this, COVID-19 or coronavirus has now spread to 164 countries with 8,727 dead worldwide and more than 200,000 infected. It is a global crisis and has been declared a pandemic. Most governments have declared an emergency asking all to take precautionary measures.

I had to cancel and change my ministry travel plans within India and return earlier than planned. We had to cancel all scheduled large gatherings. We postponed the special 90-year anniversary celebrations at India Bible College & Seminary and the outdoor graduation service where we were expecting 4,000 guests and held the graduation with just the students, faculty and staff inside the chapel. Similar things took place at other training centers as well.

Now is the time we do things differently yet strategically to fulfill the Great Commission. We use the tools that God has given us and yet remember the most powerful ones are the personal connection and communication we maintain to share the Gospel.

How do we communicate the Good News while maintaining social distance? What do we do?

Let me suggest five things that we all must do:

1) PRAY: The Bible says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6,7 NLT)

Prayer is essential and it shows we are dependent on His Grace. We communicate with Him day and night and express our confidence and trust in Him in the midst of this crisis. Pray that He will use this crisis for His glory and all people will turn to Him and receive His Grace and experience His peace and eternal life.

Prayer will help you to trust and not panic as those who have no hope. Pray for opportunities to instruct people to humble themselves and seek the help of God for His supernatural intervention and the healing of our land and nations. This should be a time of self-examination, reflection on the Word and timely action. This should be a time of intense and fervent intercession.

2) BELIEVE: God is in control of every situation. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who gives us faith to trust Him in uncertain times. Remind yourself that He came to this world, died for our sins, rose again from the dead, ascended to heaven and He will come again to rule this world. Jesus who is Sovereign and Ruler is with you and He has promised never to leave you nor forsake you. Jesus has power over any situation and will grant you His peace and assurance.

Jesus said “I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” Think of it, nothing will crush, defeat, conquer or eliminate the church. Nothing, even plagues or viruses. The church will remain, even into eternity. The church is you and I, who have been cleansed and redeemed by Jesus Christ, a body of believers. We as believers in Jesus Christ unite, live, face challenges and love together. Our hope and connection are both found in Jesus Christ. He holds us together.

3) CONNECT: This is a great time to connect with your non-Christian friends and neighbors via phone, Skype, FaceTime, email, etc., and share the Good News of Jesus Christ and what He can do when we place our trust in Him.

4) MODEL: You have a role to play in stopping this virus—by faith, through prayer, as a church—we want to be obedient citizens, responsible believers as we practice good hygiene, social distancing, and even exercising restraint as we avoid panic in the hoarding of food and goods.

5) SUPPORT: We are called to fulfill the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are to proclaim who Jesus Christ is and share what He has offered when people place their trust in Him. He will liberate people from their fears and anxieties and He alone can give hope and assurance of eternal life.

We are to send and support those who proclaim the Good News. This is what IGO evangelists do all the time. They need your help and regular support.

Pray for all needs to be met for every IGO evangelist and his family who are engaged in sharing the Gospel and establishing communities of faith where they have never heard about Jesus Christ.

Let’s proclaim the good news of hope that we have in Jesus Christ “in season and out of season.”

May the power of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ fill your hearts with hope, joy and peace.

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The Trouble with Tradition

We all have expectations of our families and friends, our society and government—and of God. We all have expectations of our church, how it should act and what it should teach and how it should govern. Some of these expectations are based upon customs and beliefs that pass down from generation to generation. These expectations are what we call “traditions.”

There is nothing good or bad about “traditions” in and of themselves. We get into trouble when we base our lives upon long-practiced and revered traditions that have questionable authority and keep people in bondage. We may give first priority to traditions, good in themselves, but of second priority to things more important to God.

Jesus had strong words for those that substituted divine revelation with human tradition. When the Pharisees challenged Jesus’ disciples for not washing their hands, he told them they had left God’s Word to favor their own way. To be fair, the Pharisees were trying to avoid breaking God’s law, but they used their own way to do it, not God’s way. Tradition is still something that divides the church in our own day.

Paul tells us we are to adhere to “apostolic traditions” (1 Corinthians 11:1,2). The apostles were men chosen by Jesus. For three years, He taught them the revelations of God.

After Paul’s conversion, he went to the desert where he was taught by Jesus and the Holy Spirit. In Galatians 1:11-24, Paul tells us that later, he went to Jerusalem to meet Peter and compare notes and found that Peter and Paul’s teachings matched perfectly though the two men had never before met until that time.

This strongly confirms that apostolic traditions do not come from men but from God, from Jesus Christ Himself. We find these traditions, these teachings, in the gospels and in the writings of the apostles in the New Testament. Throughout the gospels, Jesus frequently refers to Old Testament scriptures, giving His stamp of approval to the Old Testament as well. Both the Old Testament and New Testament make up our Bible.

We must base our own traditions and experiences upon the traditions of the apostles which come from Jesus Christ Himself. Wherever the two come into conflict, our traditions and experiences and preferences must give way to the teachings of scripture.

Our traditions and practices must enable our relationship with Christ and one another, not detract. Too often, our traditions win the day, even as it did with the Pharisees 2,000 years ago.

Many disputes in families, churches and society result from elevating human teaching and tradition above the Word of God. Too often, we treat our beloved traditions and experiences as sacred writ. When we face these disputes, will we go back to the scriptures with teachable and humble spirits, ready to change if need be?

Let us remember the words of Paul to Timothy: “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; to that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15-16).

Let us remember that our faithfulness to the apostles’ teachings in scripture will give us good traditions that will enable us to free others in India and elsewhere with the same gospel that has given us freedom.

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Made for More

silhouette-of-person-walking-1046896God made us for more than we imagine!

We glimpse this in Psalm 8 where David writes, “…you [God] crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet…” This repeats God’s mandate in Genesis 1.

This dominion mandate has never been fulfilled because sin and death entered into the world—death to our physical bodies and also death to our spirits. Our spirits are the part of us designed for fellowship with God and to fulfill His grand design.

Sin destroyed our ability to fellowship with God. We became indifferent to God. We became hostile to God. We underestimated God. We ignored and disbelieved God. We suppressed the truth about God. We did not take God into account. We did not fulfill our mandate, and the whole universe has suffered. We are no longer in harmony with God, our purpose for being, the world around us, our own bodies, or other people.

Sin has taken a terrible toll on our minds. No longer in tune with God and our purpose for being, we are limited only to those things we perceive with our five senses, to our own limited reasoning capacities. A thing may seem right to us, but it leads to death. We may have high ideals and moral standards, and enjoy the arts, but we still fall pitifully short because we no longer have God’s perspective or power.

The Good News is that God has never revoked His dominion mandate. Through Jesus Christ, He entered the world in Bethlehem to set things right through His life, death and resurrection. Through Christ, He regenerates our dead spirits and sends His Holy Spirit. We become part of His heavenly family, for we are told He is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters. One day, His dominion mandate will be 100% fulfilled through us who trust Him.

In the meantime, we must renew our minds with these things. Once crippled by the limitations of sin, our minds, through the Holy Spirit, are now capable of perceiving something of what God has designed for us.

George Muller, the great man of prayer and faith, wrote in his autobiography, “I saw more clearly than ever that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not how much I might serve the Lord, or how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished… Now what is the food for the inner man…but the Word of God.”

The Word of God leads us to the promises of God. As we regularly partake of His promises in trust, our minds are renewed. To the regenerate person, renewed by the Holy Spirit, the promises of God provide the impetus to pray more effectively and glorify Him. We begin to walk in the Spirit, live in power and bear fruit.

Every day, more of India’s unreached peoples are learning these vital truths. Let us join together to insure all of India hears this great news!

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Baptism of the Holy Spirit

HolySpiritAnointingTo understand the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we must keep in mind the Big Picture:

After Adam’s fall, Satan rules, and the whole cosmos falls under sin and corruption. God’s plan is to redeem humanity and the cosmos. He will destroy sin and corruption through Jesus Christ and reconcile the world to Himself. He will do it in relationship with redeemed humanity through the agency of the Holy Spirit who dwells in the believer, giving new life and power to those who cooperate with Him.

John the Baptist anticipates this New Day when he says, “I baptize with water, but the One who comes after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” The Holy Spirit is key to destruction of Satan’s dominion, restoring God’s original purpose in its fullness. The Holy Spirit will work through the lives of Satan’s former subjects, once captive to sin, now free in Christ, to bring about his total destruction.

In short, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is key to effective witness and completion of the Great Commission, which will usher in the triumphant Second Advent of Jesus Christ.

This plan terrifies Satan. He desperately wants to limit the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of God’s redeemed children. He does all in his power to blind God’s children to the reality and power of the Holy Spirit. He works overtime, getting us to waste time and energy in pointless arguments about the Holy Spirit.

He bends over backward trying to get us to fear the mis-use of Holy Spirit power so that we take the opposite extreme of dis-use. This keeps us from being open and receptive to His infilling so that the Holy Spirit can use us in supernatural ways.

He tries to turn the baptism of the Holy Spirit and its many blessings into a curse that separates members of God’s family from one another.

All of this grieves the Holy Spirit. Let us not fall into Satan’s traps. Let us remember how Acts 2 began to fulfill the prophecy of Joel 2. Let us remember how the Holy Spirit radically transformed the disciples. Let us remember how the Holy Spirit turned that first-century persecutor of the church, Saul of Tarsus, into Jesus’ most faithful missionary.

Let us remember those first centuries of church history when the Holy Spirit caused the church, weak in the eyes of the world, to grow in spite of persecution and outlast their persecutors through our own day.

Let us remember that the Holy Spirit has planted within each of us as His children His New Life. As His children, we have the life of God, Creator of the universe, living within us.

Because life in the Holy Spirit is a relationship, we must renew our relationship with Him day by day as a husband and wife must renew their relationship with one another day by day and even hour by hour and minute by minute for the marriage
to work.

Let us remember the Big Picture of who we are in Christ through the power of His Holy Spirit. Then we will become His more effective witnesses in the world to fulfill the Great Commission and usher in the fullness of His kingdom. We will become His agents to answer the prayer we have long prayed: “Thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.”

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Baptism

Baptism-2019Praise God for His wondrous grace by which He provides everything we need for our salvation. Salvation comes to us by grace through faith alone which is His gift (Romans 4, Ephesians 2).

In spite of these specific declarations of God’s salvation through grace alone, numerous people, both Catholic and Protestant, still believe that we need water baptism for salvation. They insist on this though nowhere in scripture do we find Jesus, Paul or anyone else making such a specific declaration. If baptism were absolutely essential for salvation, why wouldn’t Paul say it outright, leaving no guesswork or need for debate? Since he doesn’t, that should settle the matter.

Think of those saved in the Bible who did not receive baptism—the paralytic man in Matthew 9, the penitent woman in Luke 7, the publican in Luke 18 and the thief on the cross in Luke 23. Nowhere does the Bible mention anything about infant baptism. Biblically recorded water baptism takes place only among people who first choose faith for themselves, and always by immersion.

If baptism does not bring us salvation, why does Jesus command His disciples to baptize at the same time He commands His disciples to preach the gospel to all peoples (Matthew 28:19-20)?

To follow Christ means to change our identity. Baptism publicly declares our identity is now with God’s people and what He did through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Baptism publicly declares we have died to our old life, and we are raised to new life in Christ. We are united with Him.

When Jesus first saves us, He saves us in spirit and soul. But we also consist of a body, and our bodies must work in harmony with our spirits and souls. A visible sign, an action of our bodies, confirms outwardly what we have already done inwardly.

A wedding ring does not in itself bring a man and woman into relationship with one another. Neither does baptism bring a person into relationship with Jesus Christ.

But a wedding ring does signify that a dramatic change has come about in that relationship. A covenant has been made and vows taken between two people that mean new commitments and responsibilities to one another, to future generations.

Baptism should signify a dramatic change in one’s relationship with Christ not just serve as a rite of passage. No longer are we content with passive church attendance, but we publicly identify with the finished work of Christ on our behalf.

With Christ’s finished work as our life foundation, we publicly declare our readiness to bear new responsibilities for Christ. We are ready to take an active concern for those things that move the heart of God. Just as the wedding vows mean new responsibilities, so baptism should become the beginning of new commitment and responsibility for God’s kingdom.

Baptism should signify to the rest of the world not only that we are members of God’s family but that we identify with those eternal things that move the heart of God
our Father.

One of those things that moves the heart of God is fulfillment of the Great Commission that will lead to fulfillment of His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. As true children of God, we will take outward action to fulfill the Great Commission through our prayers, gifts and time.

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Generational Curses

adult-bride-child-1250452Generational curses are common in India. There is increasing talk about them in western countries and among Christians.

Someone has defined a generational curse as “the cumulative effect on a person of things that their ancestors did, believed or practiced in the past, and a consequence of an ancestor’s actions, beliefs and sins being passed down.” What does the Bible tell us about generational curses?

A verse often cited is Exodus 20:5 which tells us that God’s wrath is visited to the third and fourth generation of those who hate God.

Too often, however, this passage is isolated from its full context. The passage also tells us that God’s mercy is visited upon thousands of generations of those who love God. Note the contrast—three or four generations of wrath, but thousands of generations of mercy. The purpose of this passage is not to communicate a specific number of generations He will bless and curse but to contrast God’s greater mercy with His wrath.

We should note that the term “generational curse” appears nowhere in the Bible.

Generational curses do not come from God, but from sinful human nature. Sin results from our distrust of God, our alienation from God. We shut out God’s light, and spirits of darkness take over, replacing God’s truth with lies. We wander into traps of our own making, leading to all kinds of slavery.

Sinful lifestyles are learned by example by one generation after another. For example, when a parent adopts a dark view of life, it can result in lifestyles of alcohol or drug addiction, abuse, divorce, gambling, incest or sexual promiscuity. It is likely the children will pick them up.

Our first ancestor, Adam, alienated himself from God, and through him, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Through our first ancestor, we all face the prospect of a generational curse.

Generational curses are a human-made form of captivity, blindness and oppression in which many generations may suffer.

Jesus Christ tells us that “He [God] has sent me to preach the gospel to the poor, He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18).

Paul the apostle writes, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). He became the curse through His death on the cross. He broke the curse when He rose from the grave.

Paul also tells us that Jesus Christ is the Second Adam who frees us from the curse. “Just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so the result of the one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men” (Romans 5:18).

Through His cross and resurrection, Jesus Christ has broken the power of every curse including the generational curse.

In Christ, we no longer must live as victims of the past. Let us put these things behind us and enter the new way of life Jesus Christ has already provided through the cross. Let us renew our minds daily with this truth (Romans 12:2).

The best news is that this is a free gift paid by God through Christ. Let us live in His grace and experience His freedom. Let us also proclaim it to all of India and beyond.

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Set Back

adventure-ancient-antique-697662Years ago, the late Billy Graham, held one of his large evangelistic crusades in a certain city. A prominent minister of that city was approached by a reporter who asked him how he thought the crusade was going.

The minister grumbled, “Billy Graham has set back the churches of this city fifty years!

Later, the reporter told Billy Graham what that minister said. Billy Graham replied with a smile, “I pray I will set back the churches of this city two thousand years!

Billy Graham was referring to those days immediately after the Day of Pentecost. On that day, the Holy Spirit descended upon a group of 120 men and women in an upper room, and their lives (and ours) were changed forever. That day, the church was born.

On that day, Peter, the arrogant and cowardly fisherman from Galilee, found within himself a newfound ability to preach his first of many eloquent sermons before a crowd of thousands of people from all over the then-known world.

That day, the former coward, Peter, boldly preached a hard-hitting sermon, and when it was over, 3,000 people were added to the church. From that day, the gospel spread like wildfire throughout the known world, and within 30 years, the gospel had spread to Rome and even to Spain.

What were the marks of that first Spirit-filled church? Luke tells us in Acts 2:42-47 that the Jerusalem church was characterized by:

  • Teaching the Word of God
  • Worship, praise and prayer
  • Fellowship
  • Evangelism
  • Stewardship
  • Spirit-envisioned leadership
  • Care for the poor.

We are told that every day, the Lord was “adding to the church those who were being saved.”

Satan hates Spirit-filled churches. Such churches quickly fulfill the Great Commission, the one condition that must take place before Jesus comes again, sets up His kingdom and puts Satan out of business! Thus, Satan does all he can to quench the Spirit through persecution, corruption and distraction. He is a master at persuading churches to major in minors or avoid too much “fanaticism”, i.e., do nothing.

Has your church been “set back two thousand years”? Do you have a Spirit-filled church where the Lord is adding daily those who are being saved? Is your church marked by the same signs of the Jerusalem church that accomplished so much in so little time?

How many new believers (not church transfers) have been added to your church lately? Is your community transformed because of your church? What sacrifices do you and your church make to transform others by the gospel, both at home and abroad, especially where the gospel has never gone before?

In the life of every church, policy debates arise over the church’s function. Without a model other than our own feelings, the church always goes off course and fails at God’s mission for the church—to take the gospel to all peoples whom He loves and become salt and light, preparing the way for His glorious kingdom on earth.

We have a timeless biblical model in the church of Jerusalem. As we confront new challenges in the days ahead, let us keep this model before us. Any deviation from this model is less than satisfactory to God, however satisfied we may feel.

Pray that all our churches will be set back two thousand years!

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“Faithful men.”

imageAbout thirty-five years ago, when Dad was visiting us in California, we went to see a friend I discipled during university days. He took us to an expensive restaurant for dinner. During our conversation, he asked my father, “What is your greatest need for the ministry?” At that time, this friend was doing extremely well financially, able to write 5-digit checks without any problem. After a pause, my dad replied,

“Faithful men.”

My friend, a dynamic person, did not think my father understood his question. Again, he asked, “What is the greatest need for the ministry?” Again, my father answered, “Faithful men.”

I was also a little puzzled because I knew my friend was asking to fund a specific project. My friend thought that maybe he wasn’t communicating well, and he went on to other things.

A few years later, when my friend faced problems in his business, he remarked how often he thought of my father’s two-word answer. He had made a lot of money and started several businesses. He said my father’s answer changed his outlook.

After personally being in ministry myself for more than 50 years, I can say that is one of the most profound lessons I have learned from my father—the importance of faithfulness and the need for faithful men and women.

My parents’ lives reflected this faithfulness in little and big things. They demonstrated a life-long consistency. They were great in private, and great in their public ministry. Here are a few ways they demonstrated consistency:

  • Their personal devotions and family prayer.
  • Practicing systematic and sacrificial giving.
  • Praying and keeping journals filled with prayer items.
  • Diligent students of God’s Word and excellent, systematic teachers and expositors.
  • Intentional to develop others for various kinds of ministry.
  • Faith that came from their confidence in God and being in the center of God’s will.
  • Christian forbearance in the face of false accusations and personal attacks from enemies of the gospel and false brethren.
  • Practicality–seeing God’s presence in everyday life.
  • Dressing and conducting themselves—not with ostentation, but to fit in any situation where both poor and rich could feel comfortable with them.
  • Regard for truth as more important than popularity.
  • Their relationship with each other remained close emotionally as well as in shared ministry, accepting, appreciating and admiring each other.
  • Their simplicity made it possible for them to impact people from all walks of life.
  • Their discipline cut out what was not necessary to focus upon what is essential.
  • They gave themselves to their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

My parents fit the prayer of the person who prayed, “Lord, make me intensely spiritual, thoroughly practical, and perfectly natural.” They were spiritually natural and naturally spiritual. This will be their enduring legacy. Without them, my ministry and India Gospel Outreach would not exist. I praise God that in His grace, He chose them as my parents.

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The Foolishness of the Cross

Almost 2,000 years ago, the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing…” (1 Corinthians 1:18). Paul could well have written those words today.

After the release of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ in 2004, movie critics pounced on the film, condemning it for its violence, telling parents they should never take their children to see it. One critic said, “No level-headed parent should ever allow children to see it.”

Another critic, an avowed atheist, labeled the film a “mainstream snuff film.” Still another critic said that the film “arises less from love than from wrath, and succeeds more in assaulting the spirit than in uplifting it.” Yet another critic said the film should have been named the “Jesus Chainsaw Massacre.” And still another critic castigated Gibson for focusing upon the brutality of Jesus’ death rather than upon his teachings.

Clearly, these people have no understanding of the cross, its power to save or the plan of God before time began. Indeed, they have contempt for the cross. They are those of whom Paul writes, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent” (1 Corinthians 1:19). In this, Paul echoes the word of God through the prophet Isaiah (29:14) hundreds of years earlier.

As a young boy, one of our students at India Bible College & Seminary was allowed (and probably encouraged) by his parents to see The Passion of the Christ. Instead of being traumatized, his life was permanently and positively transformed by the cross of Jesus Christ. To him, even as Paul wrote, the cross is not gratuitous violence, but it is “the power of God.”

Even as a 12-year-old, this young man wanted to tell others of the saving power of the cross. Even as a child, he saw the horror and violence to Jesus as the result of God’s love for him and his unsaved Hindu friends. To the sophisticates of our day, his decision to follow Christ is just a poor boy’s traumatic response to seeing a horror movie. We should not be surprised.

In The Message, Eugene Peterson contrasts the offense and beauty of the cross:

“Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse. This is a terrific responsibility. Is anyone competent to take it on?” (2 Corinthians 2:15:16)

The cross of Jesus Christ will always be an offense and a thing of infinite beauty. Jonathan Edwards wrote of the smug men and women who find the cross an absurdity:

“The reason why men are not affected by such infinitely great, important, glorious, and wonderful things, as they often hear and read of, in the word of God, is undoubtedly because they are blind; if they were not so, it would be impossible, and utterly inconsistent with human nature, that their hearts should be otherwise than strongly impressed, and greatly moved by such things.”

As we approach Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, let us thank God for His wonderful gift, and help to spread its fragrance to those He is preparing to receive it.

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Ants in His Garden

Colorful-garden-flowers-hd-wallpaperAnts are highly organized, hard-working creatures who know nothing about the larger world around them. They work oblivious to planes, barking dogs, passing people. They care only about their little world. But that world can change in a second with the introduction of earth-moving equipment, or gardeners or builders. What means nothing to their world can change their world forever.

Many times, we humans think like ants. For the most part, we humans pay no attention to God. Yet God’s larger world can overrule our lives in a second, causing great terror for those who never think of Him.

Most of us never see God, but some people get glimpses of Him. Moses saw His back parts. Isaiah saw God’s holiness and said “Woe is me!” John saw Jesus’ divine nature, and he fell down as a dead man. Three disciples glimpsed Jesus divinity on a mountain, and the sight overwhelmed them.

Every person who glimpses God’s holiness is overcome by a sense of sin and shame. Even the smallest sin becomes a mountain next to God’s holiness. When God intervenes, nothing remains the same.

What is the holiness of God? Someone has described holiness as a distinct class by itself with no rivals or competition. It means to possess transcendent purity, surpassing all others. God’s holiness relates to every other part of His character and nature.

Dr. R.C. Sproul says, “The Bible says that God is holy, holy, holy. Not that he is merely holy or even holy, holy. The Bible never says that God is love, love, love, or mercy, mercy, mercy, or wrath, wrath, wrath, or justice, justice, justice. It does say that He is holy, holy, holy, the whole earth is full of His glory.”

Too easily, we say that “God accepts us as we are.” His holiness should make us re-think that casual idea. God never compromises His holiness. When Moses disobeyed God before the people of Israel (Numbers 20), he was not allowed to enter the Promised Land because He insulted God’s holiness. Irreverence toward God’s holiness can exact a heavy price upon those who take it lightly. God’s holiness is why we are told to fear Him.

None of us measures up to God’s holiness. Yet in His holiness, God in Christ has reconciled us to Himself and clothed us with His righteousness. In Christ, we have no need to stand in terror before a holy God, apart from stubborn irreverence.

The holiness of God transforms even people like Karla Faye Tucker, a hatchet murderess, who heard the gospel and repented before a holy God. Her life changed so radically, she led many of her fellow prisoners to Christ, and a Christian man became so impressed by her Christ-like character, he married her. She paid an earthly price of execution for her crime, but she died praising the Lord for His holy and eternal deliverance.

A holy God has made a way for all who would take it. There are still many people oblivious to His great salvation, like ants in our gardens. Let us pray that the Spirit of God will awaken them to hear the Good News of what He has already done for them in Jesus Christ.

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