Read Isaiah 6 — even quickly and superficially — and you understand the horror of sin when standing before a holy God.
One of our many difficulties with sin is that even for the redeemed and forgiven man, sin still exists. Even when declared righteous by God, we still sin and God is concerned with that sin. That’s why Paul has been so adamant to say that it is time to take our sanctification — our call to holiness that flows from justification — seriously (Rom. 13:11-14).
God takes sin seriously.
Some other commentators and pastors have said it particularly well. Consider A. W. Pink:
“For one sin God banished our first parents from Eden. For one sin all the posterity of Canaan, a son of Ham, fell under a curse which remains over them to this day (Gen. 9:21). For one sin Moses was excluded from Canaan, Elisha’s servant smitten with leprosy, Ananias and Sapphira cut off out of the land of the living.”
And A. W. Tozer adds:
“Until we have seen ourselves as God [sees us], we are not likely to be much disturbed over conditions around us as long as they do not get so far out of hand as to threaten our comfortable way of life. We have learned to live with unholiness and have come to look upon it as the natural and expected thing.”
And John MacArthur concludes:
“…no one can stand in the presence of God without becoming profoundly and devastatingly aware of his own wretchedness and sinfulness.…If we don’t understand the holiness of God, we don’t understand our own sinfulness.”
One of the two greatest gifts God can give us is a clear understanding of our sinfulness and the sobering condition in which that places us. There is no redemption and no forgiveness and no righteousness (the other great gift of God) apart from comprehension of sinfulness.
When we see the holiness of God for what it truly is, we won’t be self-justifying and self-righteous. We will shrink back in horror with a clear understanding that you are worthy of all God’s wrath. And then we will run with joy to the Savior who justifies and sanctifies us.
God takes sin seriously. But that does not leave us in a hopeless condition when we acknowledge our spiritual emptiness and embrace Christ’s provision of complete righteousness for our sin.