Imagine you are stepping out onto the streets, and you ask this question to a cross-section of people: “How would you describe God and who he is to you?” What are five things people might say?
I am guessing many of the things listed cannot be describing the same God because some of the items are contradictory.
Who we are before God
You see it time and time again in the Bible. When sinful people come face-to-face with a holy God, there is fear. It is intimidating to be in the presence of greatness.
Here is a crude example.
I like to play golf. When I play golf with my brothers, I feel like a great golfer compared to them. But put me in a foursome with Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, and Matt Kuchar, and suddenly, I realize just how bad at golf I am!
In the same way, when I am around sinful human beings, I can feel like I am a pretty good person. Then put me in front of a holy God, and I realize just how sinful I am!
St. Augustine said, “He who understands the holiness of God despairs in trying to appease him.” Yet many feel they are good enough to “get into heaven.”
Read Exodus 33:20 and Romans 3:23; 6:23.
What misunderstandings do people have who believe that God will accept them because they are good people?
Jesus is the only way
Read Leviticus 16:2.
No one could come into the Most Holy Place—except for the high priest on the Day of Atonement—or he would die. Grab a piece of paper and draw the Holy Place, Most Holy Place, the ark of the covenant, and as many other elements of those spaces that you can. Feel free to search the internet or a study Bible for reference!
Read Hebrews 7:26; 10:11-14; and 1 Peter 3:18.
When Jesus died, “at that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:51). Explain the significance of what happened on Good Friday based on these readings.
Read Acts 4:12 and John 14:6.
Based on those passages and the rest of this study, respond to those who say the following:
“Christianity is too exclusive. No one can claim to have the truth exclusively.”
“There are many paths into God’s presence.”
Author: David Scharf
Volume 107, Number 02
Issue: February 2020
- Q&A: Is anger sinful? - 2023/05/31
- Q&A: How can parents encourage adult children who wander from the faith? - 2023/04/30
- Q&A: Does the doxology belong in the Lord’s Prayer? - 2023/03/31