Big Picture of the Bible – Lesson 2

A HOLY GOD

All Biblical understanding must begin and end with a knowledge, as much as possible, of God. The character of God is defined by the attribute of holiness—the absolute absence of any evil—”For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You” (Psalms 5:4). John says, “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). John is telling us that God is completely free from any moral evil – He is the essence of moral purity (see Job 34:10-12). He is repulsed by even a hint of evil.

It is God’s holiness that governs His attributes of omnipotence (infinite power), omniscience (perfect knowledge), and omnipresence (everywhere present). Holiness makes all of His attributes perfectly good. It is His holiness that makes Him worthy of our praise and devotion (see Exodus 15:11). I want to be with Him forever because He is holy

GOD’S PURPOSE

God has purposed to have spiritual beings with Him in heaven. We are spirits created and placed in these temporary containers, physical bodies, in order to train our spirits to love, serve, and worship Him. God wants a spiritual relationship with us based upon our choosing to love and serve Him out of our own free will and not out of compulsion (see also Is 43:7; Eph 1:14; Ps 149:4; Phil 2:14; Acts 17:27;
Col 1:16).

GOD’S HOLY DEMAND

God repeatedly states that we are to be holy because He is holy. “Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine” (Lev 20:26). God created us as spirit beings (Gen 1:26). Only if we are holy can we then have the spiritual union or spiritual relationship that a holy God desires with our spirits.

GOD’S HOLINESS IS DEMONSTRATED IN HIS JUSTICE AND LOVE

Our relationship with God is defined by these two characteristics of His holiness. “For the word of the Lord is upright,…He loves righteousness and justice; The earth is full of the loving-kindness of the Lord” (Ps 33:4-5, Ps 89:14; Rom 11:22). God is just—he is fair and will always do what He says, and He is a God of love.

Sin Separates Us From God

THE PROBLEM OF SIN

God is God. God is Holy. God is King. Any breaking of His law results in His absolute revulsion in response to rejection of His will. Breaking God’s will, to any degree, is called sin (1 Jn 3:4). Sin produces a three fold death that we experience and must recognize:

1. SPIRITUAL DEATH

Because God is holy, any sin, regardless of its motivation, magnitude, or consequences, must result in separation from a holy God. “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden his face from you” (Is 59:2; Hab 1:13). A holy God must turn away from sin. To be separated from God, the essence  of spiritual life, is so dreadful it is referred to in the worst possible term, spiritual death (see Eph. 2:5; Col 2:13; Rom 6:23; 1 Tim. 5:6). It is as if our spirit died.

2. MORTAL DEATH

As a result of Adam and Eve’s first sin in the Garden of Eden we will all die a mortal death (limited life span). Mortal death is a reminder of the seriousness of sin. Other consequences resulted also (see Gen 3:14-24). While spiritual and mortal deaths are consequences suffered by each individual, nothing has been done that would deal with sin, that is, remove sin or restore man’s spiritual relationship with God.

God’s Justice Demands Life as Payment

3. JUDICIAL DEATH

Our nation’s laws require that a monetary fine (or even life!) must be paid as a judicial price for breaking its laws. The judicial price God requires as payment for sin is as serious as the offence. Life is the judicial price for sin! The first
warning issued in the Garden of Eden clearly specified this price for sin, “from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Gen 2:16-17). Put plainly, the payment of death is pronounced as the judicial price for breaking God’s law (sin). This price is placed on the head of every sinner (Ezek 18:20).

2 Pet 2:4-9 recounts the examples of the Genesis flood and Sodom and Gomorrah and their destruction due to sin. God was demonstrating in the OT the price for sin—death, and that His justice must be served. The New Testament flatly states that “without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin” (Heb 9:22). God was teaching us throughout the OT how bad sin is, its terrible consequences, and the high judicial price required to be paid.

ALL HAVE SINNED

Looking over the scope of history, the New Testament writers reflected this chilling and disturbing characteristic of man by observing that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). We are all in a very desperate situation: We have broken the laws of the God of the universe, this has separated us from Him, and the judicial price of death is required by a just God! If we die a mortal death in this condition we will be eternally separated from God! Yet we are unable to pay the price for sin ourselves.

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