Thankfully Broken

“When I see the Lord on His throne, I figure I won’t be able to stand, much less be able to chit chat with others about something that is suddenly not so important. I figure when I see God exalted, I will fall down in awe and worship. What will you do?”

 

I often wonder how I am doing with my thoughts about who God is. I wonder if I am really in awe of Him or if I’m just going through the motions. One of the best ways I think to figure this out is realizing how much sin I have committed, how much of my sin He has forgiven, and How holy He is. I really don’t have to contemplate this too much though. We have a wonderful encounter with God’s holiness and the brokenness of a sinner recorded in Scripture. We find this passage in Isaiah

In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.” – Isaiah 6:1-7 NASB

The first thing we experience here is that Isaiah sees something.

“…I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.”

This whole scene unfolds in a difficult time for Isaiah. Their earthly King – Uzziah –  had just died. I have little doubt that Isaiah was feeling a bit depressed and discouraged at this time. But in the midst of his discouragement, God gives Isaiah a vision of the Throne Room. Let’s read through the images Isaiah conveys to us.

First, Isaiah sees the Lord lofty and exalted.  What a beautiful description of God. Then Isaiah sees the train His royal robe filling the Temple. Now this probably refers to the entire Temple Mount. That is a lot of area to fill with the train of a robe.

Next Isaiah sees Seraphim – angels – who were attending the Throne of God and worshipping God by stating Holy, Holy Holy, is the Lord of Hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory. Imagine being there and experiencing this sight. This is followed by the foundations of the thresholds trembling at the voice of Him who called out while the temple was filling with smokeSo we have a vision of the Lord Himself, His holiness, demonstrated by the length of the train of His robe, angelic hosts worshipping God and an earthquake at the sound of his voice. Umm, wow. Wow.

The next thing I want to emphasize if that Isaiah realizes something.

Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”

Isaiah realizes who he is in light of the holy God who is before him. Look at what Isaiah says…

woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, 

Isaiah realizes that he is in bad shape because, as a sinner, he cannot be in the presence of the absolute holy God of Israel. But Isaiah’s realization doesn’t end there…

And I live among a people of unclean lips; 

Not only does Isaiah recognize his own sinful situation, but he also realizes that he lives with an absolutely sinful people. This poses a major problem for Isaiah and the nation. No unclean thing or person could stand in the presence of God and survive. Isaiah, is broken over this. Not that he is in pickle. No, I think he is broken over the holiness of God and his sinful nature.

Isaiah recognizes his sinfulness in light of the holiness of God. Think about how you would react. Would you or I react the same way? I wonder.

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When I hear Christians talk about eternity in trite terms, I cringe. I hear some Christians who say “When I get to heaven, I’m gonna give Adam a piece of my mind…” or they say how they want to speak to Paul or something along those lines. I’ve realized as I have grown older in the Lord that those things – while they may be neat to think about – probably won’t happen.

imagesWhen I see the Lord on His throne, I figure I won’t be able to stand, much less be able to chit chat with others about something that is suddenly not so important. I figure when I see God exalted, I will fall down in awe and worship. What will you do?

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Finally Isaiah experienced something.

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”

In short, Isaiah experiences the forgiveness of God. His sins are immediately cleansed. As a result, Isaiah volunteers (in the verses that follow these) to go on a mission that will not bear much fruit. But Isaiah goes on this mission quite enthusiastically.

Isaiah has seen the glory of God. He has seen God’s holiness. He has heard the angels, he has seen heavenly worship. And the result of all this?

Isaiah realizes his utter sinfulness. And he is broken over that. In that brokenness, God forgives him and cleanses him.

How are we doing?

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When we meet God – either at salvation or during prayer – do we realize what Isaiah realized? Do we realize that God’s holiness is so awesome that our puny mind cannot fully comprehend it? When we see that holiness and remember the forgiveness and cleansing God has performed on us, are we thankful? Are we broken?

I think we should be thankfully broken about our sin and our new life in Christ. We should never become arrogant – thinking we deserve this life. We should always remember whence we came. We should always remember the cost of our forgiveness. We should hit our knees in thankfulness. And brokenness. Like Isaiah, we should be broken.

Thankfully. Broken.

 

 

 

 

 

He Is

This truth – that Jesus is God – should greatly affect us.

 

Just who is Jesus Christ? What did He look like? What did He do? Oftentimes we brush off these questions with a  simple “He’s God, of course.” This is correct but I wonder if a fuller answer would be more proper.

We have such an answer found in Colossians 1:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whetherthrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is alsohead of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.  – Colossians 1:15-20 NASB

Lets take a look at these verses and reintroduce ourselves to our Savior, the Incomparable Christ!

The first thing I notice is the use of “He is”. This small two-word phrase controls the discussion Paul is having with the church in Colossae. Paul repeats this phrase throughout this passage in an effort to stress that Jesus is indeed all these things. We don’t just hope He has these qualities…we don’t just want Him to have these qualities…we don’t just have a Savior who has these qualities. He IS these things!

 

He IS…

 …the image of the invisible God

What a magnificent way to begin a passage dedicated to establishing the identity of Jesus Christ! Paul states emphatically that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. But what does this mean? Israel knew they could not see God and live. This is the reason God allowed Moses to see His back (see Exodus 33:21-23). But Paul says that Jesus is the image of the unseen God…does this mean that Jesus isn’t God HImself?

 

The Greek word used here is the word eikon. According to the standard lexicon for New Testament Greek (known as BDAG to Greek students) this word means here in Colossians 1 “that which is the same form as something else; living image.” So the idea of Jesus being the eikon of God is saying He has the same form of God – He is the living image of God. In other words, He is God in the flesh. Essentially Paul is saying to the Colossians “If you have seen Jesus, you have seen God.” This is a weighty theological statement: Jesus Christ is none other than God in the flesh.

 

When we think of God, we must think of Jesus at the same time. Though they are different persons, they are the same God. Yes that can be confusing. It can give us a headache or two when trying to understand it. But we must not let difficulty in understanding change our view of truth. Since He is God, what does this mean? How does it affect my life? Your life?

 

This truth – that Jesus is God – should greatly affect us.

 

The first way this should affect us is in our reverential awe of Him.

So often we marginalize Him. So often we minimize who He is because our vision is set too low. Somehow HIs rank in the trinity affects our thoughts of His ability to answer us. This is so wrong! He IS God, and He IS able!

 

Another way this should affect us is in our thankfulness for the incarnation, life and death of Jesus.

Since He is God, God came to HIs creation, clothed Himself with flesh, voluntarily gave up the ability to independently exercise some of HIs divine attributes. So God put limits on Himself when He came in the flesh. Think about that for a moment. He did this out of love for us. And when we consider the final act of His love, we are just gonna be awestruck…or at east we should be.

 

He came to be the perfect and only acceptable sacrifice for sin.

Now this means that there is only one way for sin to be effectively and permanently dealt with. This sacrifice had to be perfect – it just HAD to be perfect. No bull, no goat, no dove would suffice. So God decided to sacrifice Himself for our sins. Yes, you read that right: because Jesus is God, God died for the ones He created. And He died not when those He created were lovely. No, He died for us while we were in the midst of being unholy, unrighteous, selfish and rebellious. Wow. I mean, WOW!

 

How do you view Christ?

Is He your buddy? Is He your friend? Your Savior? The answer should be “Yes” to those questions. But He is much, much more. Not only is Jesus my buddy – not only is Jesus my friend – not only is Jesus my Savior –  Jesus is God. May we never forget this simple little truth. May we never overlook this in the life He has called us to walk.

 

God loves me so much that He died for me. He limited Himself (for a time) for me. He loves me so much that He chooses to dwell inside me to guide me into truth and righteousness.

I must understand His deity if I am ever to appreciate HIs sacrifice. Before I can understand His teaching, I must first understand His nature.

When I recognize these truths, my life – and yours –  and outlook must change. When I  understand these truths, my life – and yours –  will forever be changed.

 

Take some time today to simply give thanks for the incomparable Jesus Christ.