Sometimes we need more than love. It is wonderful to call God our Daddy, and wrap ourselves in his unconditional embrace. But a covering of love doesn’t change our weak and wounded sinful state.
We need righteousness.
I watched a documentary last night, “Desire of the Everlasting Hills,” about three homosexuals who chose to live a life for God and be chaste.
One of them had engaged in over one thousand sexual encounters with men. He discussed how 90% of the people he knew died of AIDS, so finally he went to get tested for AIDS. On the way, in the car, he had a spiritual experience. He said God told him that he did not have AIDS, that there was a purpose for his life.
Sure enough, in spite of his flagrant promiscuity, this man did not have AIDS. It was profoundly life changing for him. He, who thought his acts had given him the sentence of death, had been given the gift of life.
But that wasn’t what he was most grateful for. He went to a priest and confessed his sins, not just his sexual immorality, but the selfishness that pervaded every area of his life. He felt that he was forgiven, and in a right relationship with God. For him this was the best thing.
And that is what we all long for, a state of righteousness.
God is righteousness. He isn’t just love, He is a consuming fire, blindingly radiant, awesomely holy.
- God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see… I Tim 6:15-16
- “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” Ex 3:20
- Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Ex 24:17
- And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled his temple.
I Kings 8:11. The same thing happens in Exodus 40:35,
- I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Is 6:1-3
We’re the opposite. No matter how good we are, no matter how hard we try, our righteous acts are as filthy rags (Is 64:6), we wallow in a slimy pit. But God offers us his righteous, and it is like light covering a ball of sludge.
- “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” II Cor 5:21
- In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.” Jer 23:6
- It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. I Cor 1:30
- I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Is 61:10
In the documentary, I loved to watch how God orchestrated times in these peoples’ lives when they could SEE. They saw their moral poverty. They saw that God is good. They saw that there was hope. They saw the truth.
God gives us all such times in our lives. Times when we realize, as in Rev. 3:17, that we are, “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”
What a comfort it is that we can approach an amazing transcendent God, who fills our heart to overflowing, and covers our inadequacies with his beautiful brilliance.