Monday, October 08, 2012
There is a lot for serious consideration here. I like the sequence he lays out, but I am not sure I agree with his use of the term "lethargy" when it comes to the problem of the church. To often the gratitude response is to do something - for the church, when the gratitude response should simply be to do something for holiness, which may look like we are not doing anything at all.
How, then, can we get Christians to embrace the gospel every day? I believe Isaiah 6:1-8 gives us a paradigm for addressing this need. Isaiah sees God in His holiness, that is, His supreme majesty and infinite moral purity. In the light of God’s holiness, Isaiah is completely undone by an acute awareness of his own sinfulness. This is what we need in our churches today. Because we tend to define sin in terms of the more flagrant sins of society, we don’t see ourselves as practicing sinners.
It is only after Isaiah has been totally devastated by the realization of his own sinfulness that he is in the right position to hear the gospel proclaimed to him by the seraphim: “Your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for” (v. 7).
What happens next? Isaiah hears God say, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Immediately he responds, “Here am I! Send me” (v. 8). What causes such an immediate and spontaneous response? It is gratitude for the forgiveness of his sins as he hears the gospel from the seraphim. Jesus said, “He who is forgiven little, loves little” (Luke 7:47). It is because the vast majority of Christians do not realize how much they have been forgiven that there is so much lethargy in the church today.
Holiness is not something you do, it is something you are. If we are holy, then what we do will be holy, whether that is for the church, our jobs, or our family. We are not called merely to be forgiven, nor are we called merely to solve problems - we are called to be remade into the image of our creator.
The humility and shame that springs from an understanding of God's holiness is not a call to action, but a call to submission.