Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
How does human nature treat the presence of God? The answer to that question may well depend on two factors. First, are we talking about a human nature that is fallen and sinful, or are we talking about human nature which is sinless, as God created it to be before the Fall? The second factor is exactly which god’s presence we are talking about.
Let’s imagine for a moment a relationship with one of the gods of folk religions, maybe a sky god, an earth god, a water god, some sort of a powerful spirit that is able to provide or withhold resources. If we are talking about that kind of a god, from an earthly standpoint we ought to be really scared. These deities of the folk religions are uniformly capricious and self-serving. They enjoy inflicting pain and suffering on humans, especially on those who violate their desires. The Christian might not be frightened of the spiritual power, but there is something decidedly troubling about spiritual forces, sometimes showing real power, who other than the true God. They normally bring trouble in their wake.
Let’s imagine, on the other hand, a relationship with the true God, the one described in the Bible. This God is holy, loving, just, all-powerful, and wise. The part about “justice” might bother us if we realize that we are not always characterized by justice. Yet on the whole, since this God is consistent with himself, we don’t have to worry about capricious actions. However, when dealing with the true God, we do have to think about the two issues of human nature.
The human who is not fallen has nothing to fear before God. There is no separation. That person is just, God is just. That person is righteous, God is righteous. It’s really not a bad situation. Prior to the Fall, Adam was used to talking with God when God would take a walk in the Garden in the cool part of the day.
What of the fallen human? Since the events in Genesis chapter three, we confess that all humans are sinful by nature. Can the sinful person stand before the holiness of God? Not at all. We would fear and tremble, flee and hide. This would be the most normal and natural reaction we could imagine, since that which is unholy can’t stand in God’s presence.
Since we are fallen humans, and God is the God described in the Bible, thanks be to God, He has provided a savior, Jesus, to break the wall of separation between humans and God, to be a mediator for us, to bear our sin and be our savior. In this situation, we are able to stand before God and not flee in terror. We can stand with confidence knowing God is our God and we are His people. Thanks be to God.
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