The Holiness of God

The other day I came across a very unusual story which illustrates how we often behave towards news we don’t want to hear!

In the latter part of the 19th century a missionary in India showed a Brahmin a beautiful microscope which had just arrived from England. The Brahmin was fascinated by the wonderful things he saw. At last the missionary happened to focus on a drop of water. To the horror of the Brahmin he saw that the drop of water was full of living creatures. This distressed him greatly because a Brahmin is under pledge never to take life and he now realised that every time he drank water he was breaking his vow and his caste; an awful thing for a so called “holy man”. He left the mission compound in a terrible state.

A strange thing happened after this event. The next day the man came back to the missionary with the unusual request that he actually wanted to buy the microscope! The missionary didn’t want to part with it at first, but day after day the man returned with the same request. This went on for so long that in the end the missionary felt he must give in and let him buy it. After the price was paid the Brahmin went off with the microscope, the missionary following at a distance curious to see what was going to happen next. To his horror the Brahmin went over to some rocks and smashed the microscope to pieces. He then confessed to the missionary that he had been made miserable since the day he had seen life in the water and now he was relieved to have destroyed the instrument which had caused him so much distress!

The man was so relieved to have destroyed what had made him unhappy that he failed to see that his action in no way altered the truth of there being life in the water he drank. Nothing had changed at all! Reality and truth was just the same as before. His behaviour and relief was totally irrational.

Sadly this kind of thinking is all too common when it comes to spiritual matters. Over many years of ministry I have frequently come across people who are only too keen to acknowledge God’s love and care for them; but at the same time refuse to acknowledge God’s command for them to repent and change their ways. This refusal leads to some bizarre behaviour, in many ways just like the Brahmin. For example, they might deliberately read portions of the Bible which speak of God’s love but actively ignore parts which tell of God’s Holiness and command to change. They might reflect on His care and concern, but at the same time ignore “the elephant in the room” of God’s infinite and unchangeable Holiness. Again, they might say to themselves that God doesn’t really mind their sin or in extreme cases they might even deceive themselves into thinking that their sinful way of life is actually a gift! The reasoning behind all these thoughts seems to be that by ignoring this subject; God’s Holiness and His commandments will somehow go away.

Today’s generation often turns “a blind eye “ towards the reality of God’s Holiness, punishment for sin, judgement and so on. If God is thought of at all, He is often regarded as a namby-pamby, Father Christmas kind of figure Who doesn’t require anything from us and Who can be sinned against and ignored without consequence. When people do this they are describing God according to their own ideas and desires, often because they don’t want to confront sin in their lives. They don’t want to change, so they try to change God instead!  They imagine God to be what in reality He is not and are in state of “denial” regarding His character. But God will never change. He is infinitely holy and infinitely loving and always will be; eternally. What they imagine God to be like doesn’t change this fact anymore than destroying a microscope stopped their being creatures in the water.

Instead of trying to deny His character to ourselves we should acknowledge and embrace it because by so doing we begin to embrace real life. As difficult as it maybe, we shouldn’t run away from God’s call to change because the purpose of this call is actually for our own benefit and welfare! Human experience shows that sin can never bring true happiness. (Unless of course you think this world is a happy place today!) The truth is, God wants the very best for us, which is eternal life shared and enjoyed with Him. The real reason God wants us to turn away from our sins is because His desire is to give us a quality of life which passes all understanding and a joy which is beyond all earthly pleasures!