God just gave Isaiah a vision from Heaven’s point of view showing Isaiah that God is still on the throne even if it seems our world is falling apart. Isaiah saw that God is perfect as the seraphim were singing “Holy, Holy Holy to God. Isaiah also saw how powerful God was as His voice shakes the foundation of the world. Until we have the right view of God we will not have the right view of our situation and ourselves.
Many people talk about having an experience with God but most of those do not sound like experiences that are recorded in the Bible. (John fell on his face as if dead Rev.1:17) Many leave worship services claiming a certain experience with God but if we truly have an experience with God it will change us forever. What should our response be when we see the Holiness and Power of God? Isaiah’s response to his vision of God sitting on His throne is a response we all should have if we truly have an encounter with God.
Isaiah 6:5-7 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
1) The Response of Humility
“Woe is Me” “I am Lost” I am a man of unclean lips” Isaiah was only given a vision and a glimpse of the presence of God and he was overwhelmed by how much of a sinner he was.
Psalm 15:1-2 O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?2 He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;
Isaiah was the one who was calling out the rest of his people for how they were living. Isaiah would have been known as a righteous or even a Holy man by the rest of the people but now the small glimpse of God he received showed him that he was not worthy to be in God’s presence.
“I am a man of unclean lips” Isaiah does not say anything about his feet or hands but what is coming out of his mouth. Isaiah looked like a very moral man on the outside but his lips would reveal something about himself that he knew and that he was really a terrible sinner.
Matthew 12:34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
You can fool some of the people like the religious leaders but the reality is you cannot fool God The religious leaders looked good but Jesus saw them for who they were by how they spoke.
We might be surprised at how many “ GOOD PEOPLE” we went to church with that are not in Heaven.
“I am lost or I am ruined” Isaiah was devastated because what he experienced he knew he was as good as dead because of his filthiness before God who is Holy (Perfect without Blemish) We do not see our own sinfulness because we see ourselves as good people with a good heart but that is not how God sees us without Christ.
Romans 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
We said last week that in the Lord’s Prayer Jesus first wants us to acknowledge Gods Holiness because until we get a grasp of the Holiness of God we will not understand how sinful we really are. We make excuses for our sin like saying “You made me angry” or “That is just how I was raised” instead of acknowledging that our behavior was sinful. We rename our sins and say “it’s a lifestyle choice” or “It’s a bad habit” instead of going by the standard that God has set by His own nature and character. Isaiah realized that he was not even worthy enough to sing praises to God like the Heavenly beings were doing and he just sat there knowing he was doomed and deserved death. Because God is Holy He hates all sin and Isaiah realized the extent of his sin compared to a Holy God.
Isaiah 64:6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
When Isaiah says he is unclean it is very significant because that is the word the lepers were to yell out to someone if they were approaching them. (Leviticus 13:45) Lepers had to be separated from the rest of the nation and it was a painful experience to realize you would not be able to be around and especially touch your loved ones ever again.
How do you see yourself in front of a Holy God? The reason most people do not accept the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ is because they believe they can stand before God in their current condition or they believe that through good works they can earn acceptance with God. We all must realize, as did Isaiah that we need to be cleansed in order to be in God’s presence.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you
Isaiah realized that no amount of good works was going to change his status with a Holy and perfect God and the only thing he could do is cry out in anguish.
2) The Response of Atonement
“Your Guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for”
Atonement: The reconciliation of God and humankind through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ (Meriam Webster Dictionary)
God did not leave Isaiah to be in this state of dismay but God acted on Isaiah’s behalf. God is the only one who can remove our guilt so that we can be in His presence and we cannot earn our ability to stand in God’s presence it is something only God can do and He has done through Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 59:1-2 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; 2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
Our sins have separated us from our Creator because He is Holy and we need our sins and guilt taken away. We do not need to make too much about the coal and the process used for Isaiah to be cleansed because it was a vision and a representation of what God would do through Jesus Christ. We know that the act of Jesus Christ on our behalf makes us worthy to stand before God. God forgives sinners but He does not forgive sins because our sins had to be dealt with and Jesus paid for them on the cross. We are forgiven because Jesus paid our debt not because God just overlooked the sins we committed. Isaiah will later prophesy about the coming of God to the earth to remove our sins from us.
Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
Transgression: infringement or violation of a law, command, or duty
Iniquities: a wicked act or thing : sin
Would you describe yourself as being a person who has committed a wicked act? If God did not respond for Isaiah then he was doomed and if God did not act on our behalf we were doomed. But God did act on our behalf through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered[b] once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,
3) The Response of Holiness
As we realize the depth of separation we had with God and the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf it should lead us to live different lives than the rest of the world. Holy means to be separate from and we are called to be separate from the world in how we live.
“Many Christians have what we might call a “cultural holiness.” They adapt to the character and behavior pattern of Christians around them. As the Christians culture around them is more or less hol, so these Christians are more or less holy. But God has not called us to be like those around us. He has called us to be like Himself. Holiness is nothing less than conformity to the character of God.” (The Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges, PG. 22)
1 Peter 1:13-16 Therefore, preparing your minds for action,[a] and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Peter is saying because of the grace we received we look forward to Jesus second coming and we should live as if it is going to happen at any moment. Our desire to be Holy is because we have a relationship with a holy God but we must remember you do not try and be holy to have the relationship you have to be declared Holy by the work that he has done and then live according to your new nature.
Yes we will still sin on this earth even the apostle Paul struggled. (Romans 7) but our desire should be to live lives pleasing to God.
“Like fish immerse in water, we become so immersed in ways of thinking and patterns of living that we become unable to recognize them. … As we live in culture, we become committed to its vision of life, unless we’re intentional otherwise.” (A practical guide to culture, Stonestreet and Kunkle pg. 26, 36)
We are called to be in this world but not live as the rest of the world. (1 John 2:15-17 and Romans 12:2) Only a proper view of God will help us have a proper view of ourselves and the world around us.
We live in a corrupt world and we have to make sure we are not corrupted by it.
Satan wants you to believe one of two lies. Either I am good enough to stand before God on my own or he wants you to believe that God sees you as guilty even though God took the guilt away. When we understand the Holiness of God our response should be humility because we are unworthy to be in the presence of God. When we understand the Atonement of God our response should be gratitude by living lives that are Holy and pleasing to Him. Do you understand that it is not by your works or by your effort that you can be in the presence of God? Only by the grace and atonement of Jesus Christ payment for our sin can we be made Holy.