by Diane Ury, National Ambassador for Holiness
People have always tended to decide how God is supposed to act. One of God’s biggest problems with us is convincing us what He is like, Who He is, and what He is able to do. The concept of holiness has suffered as a result. But we can humble ourselves to His merciful heart. There we find His dreams for our lives are so grand and beautiful we are left in grateful wonder.
What is God like?
He is holy. Justice, righteousness, truth, compassion and others-oriented love are found in His nature (Exodus 34:6). They’re not standards He thought up. They’re Who He is. There is a huge difference between saying “God is loving” and “God is Love.”
Who is God?
He is the One Who created us for intimate belonging with Himself. He is the One we are made for.
Because our willful rebellion has separated us from God (Isaiah 59:1-15), we have lost His holy, moral image He created us in. We have turned our face away from God and become corrupt and vile (Isaiah 53:6). He looked for someone to intervene, but there was no one. So, He Himself stepped in to save us (Isaiah 59:16). Isaiah 53:6 continues, “Yahweh has caused to meet in Him the iniquity of us all.” This means the depths of all our evil comes into (not on) Christ in Whom is all the goodness of God; our evil meeting that goodness in Him.
What is God able to do?
On the cross we are forgiven of our sins, but that is not the extent of God’s intended salvation. Jesus not only pardoned our guilt as a substitutionary atonement, His sacrificial goodness destroyed the power of evil. He bears our nature within Himself (Hebrews 2:14). “Christ, who never sinned, became sin, so that we could become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21) He offers us what is called “The Blessed Exchange”—our vile, ruined lives in exchange for His. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Cor. 5:17, NLT) That new life is His image restored.
Paul speaks of this saying, “The great mystery, the hope of the Gospel is Christ in you!” (Col. 1:27) We can live and love as Jesus not because we work really hard at following His example but because He’s given us Himself.
The Salvation Army believes that holiness is possible for anyone, no matter what they’ve done, because Jesus offers His life in exchange for ours.
This Easter season, turn your face to Jesus, Who is the Face of God. Surrender any cynicism to the depths of His love, the power of His goodness. Be holy because He is holy, and you belong to Him!