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Good Shepherd News
"Current Editon - excerpt"
GOOD SHEPHERD LUTHERAN CHURCH
Holy, Holy, Holy
God, the Holy One of Israel, is perfect, pure and
absolute righteousness cannot tolerate the slightest of error. He demands that we too be perfect,
as He is perfect (Mt 5.48; Lev 11.44).
Yet, and this we cannot deny, we are sinful, error-prone, and rebellious against God
our Maker. Because our sin separates us from His presence, our heavenly Father sent His Holy One, Jesus, to
save us from ourselves and sanctify us in His presence. Christ Jesus’ blood purifies us so
that we might live with the God of all eternity and serve Him as His holy people.
In the last year of King Uzziah’s life, Isaiah had a vision of God
sitting upon His throne in the heavenly realm.
He saw the seraphim (six-winged angels) flying above the throne of
shouted out to each other: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts” (Is 6.3). Isaiah was awestruck; it was as if
he were standing in the presence of the Thrice Holy - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy
Like Moses and Gideon before him (Ex 33.20; Jdgs 6.20-23) Isaiah
was frightened because he knew that no one could see God and live. In the presence of the Holy One of
Israel, Isaiah was instantly aware of how sinful he was. He was impure in a place that
required absolute purity. But God, in His mercy, sent one of the seraphim to take a coal from the altar of sacrifice and
touch it to Isaiah’s lips. This purged the prophet of his sin, and Isaiah was made fit to bear God’s Word to His
people. When God
asked, “Whom shall I send?” Isaiah replied, “Here I am! Send me.” (Is
This heavenly vision made a deep and lasting impression on
Isaiah. One of
his favorite titles for God became “the Holy One of Israel.” He used the title 24 times in his
writing; it appears only six other times in all the rest of the Bible.
Isaiah warned God’s people not to mock the Holy One of Israel,
believing that He would not bring judgment on them (5.18,19). If God’s people would repent of
their sinfulness and trust in Him, Isaiah said, they’d be saved. Instead, they chose to depend on
other foreign resources (30.16; 31.1) for their help and assistance. In His anger, God called the
foreign nations to come and destroy His nation (5.26).
But the king of Assyria, who was God’s instrument, in turn,
blasphemed and insulted the Holy One of Israel. Therefore, God promised to send
sickness to kill Assyria’s soldiers and fire to destroy their forests (10.16,17). Although this army would destroy
Judah, God would preserve some of His people in safety. They would look to Him for
salvation (17.7); Isaiah said they would rejoice that the Holy One of Israel was with them
God kept these promises during the reign of faithful King
Assyrian army captured all of Judah except for Jerusalem. The angel of the Lord struck down
185,000 of His people’s enemies.
King Sennacherib of Assyria withdrew the remaining forces to his capital, where
his own sons assassinated him.
During the remaining years of Hezekiah’s reign, Judah lived in
Isaiah knew the people of Judah would soon disobey again the Holy One of Israel. He warned Hezekiah that the
day would come when Babylon would carry Judah away into exile (chpts 38-39).
The Holy One of Israel kept His promise to free a remnant of His
people. And He
had even greater plans in store, for Jew and Gentle alike. He would be their Helper, their
Redeemer, their Savior (41.14; 43.3, 14; 47.4; 48.17; 49.7; 54.5). He sent His Holy One, Jesus, to
live a perfect, sinless, holy life for us.
God’s sinless Son became the sacrifice for all our many sins and gained for us our
when God sees us, He sees us as clothed in the righteousness of Christ; we are holy in His sight (Col
Before God made the world, He chose us in Christ Jesus to be His
children (Eph 1.4). Just as Isaiah was cleansed when the coal from the altar touched his lips, so our Heavenly Father
has cleansed us in the waters of Holy Baptism by joining us to Christ in His death and resurrection (Rom
Christ Jesus, He has made us new creations who love Him, trust in Him, and have His power to live holy
lives. We are
now His saints, a word that means “holy ones.”
Yet, in this existence, our old sinful nature still lives
within. It urges
us to give in to the temptations of the unholy trinity – the devil, the world, and our own unruly
flesh. We often
yield to them, bringing evil into our lives.
We often serve ourselves first, trying to please our friends; we attempt to fit into
our world, satisfying our urges to seek pleasure and comfort at all costs. We’re not too much different than
were God’s people of old. We are saints and sinners at the same time.
As we strive to live as the saints God created us to be, we are
not alone. The
Thrice Holy – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – is always with us. In His Holy precious Word, God
gives us direction and purpose for life.
In the Lord’s Supper, we receive strength for the journey. When our sins depress us so that
we cry out, “Woe is me!” and wonder if God can ever forgive us, we hear in the voice of our pastor, God’s pardon
for every evil we have done.
As we contemplate death, we have the same vision of God’s throne
as did Isaiah and all the saints who have entered the heavenly temple before us. God in His great love let His own
Son suffer the punishment we deserve.
Through Him, we have complete forgiveness and are counted as holy in His
sight. (Is 41.14; 48.17)
Adapted from The Lutheran Study Bible, CPH, 2009 pg
Noel D. Koss, Interim Minister
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