30 December 2008

Banishing the Holy

"The bane of modern and current religion is [the] loss of the idea so closely identified with Love's might, majesty, judgment, and glory: the idea of the holy. Either it is lost, or there is substituted for the moral meaning of it the aesthetic, and for the ethical the seemly; so that the response is but reverence instead of real worship, attrition instead of repentance, an extreme regard to religious decorum and good form . . . but no equal regard for the type of life."
-P.T. Forsyth in The Justification of God

We don't like the idea of a holy God. It's so inconvenient. And so we substitute a more pleasant deity, institute a moral code with plenty of wiggle room, and dress the whole mess in saccharine tolerance.

But what does God say about His own holiness?

"Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire . . . and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years."
-Malachi 3:1-4

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