What stands between us and God?
If our goal is to move closer to God, what prevents us?
Do we sometimes think that our sinful nature, the mistakes which we have made, our guilt, or our sense of guilt are enough to keep us out of God's presence?
It works that way with people. When we do something wrong, when we hurt someone, it can be painful enough that the other person would not want to be around us. It makes sense, doesn't it, that our relationship with God would be the same? It makes sense that perhaps if we behave better, if we try harder, that God would desire to be near us more than if we sinned.
Makes sense. Except it's wrong.
And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’ Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: ‘Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.’ Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’ Isaiah 6:5-8Isaiah knew that he had sinned, but so did God. God doesn't send Isaiah away from Him, telling him to go practice being less sin-ful and then to come back.
Instead he does something which purifies Isaiah. God takes an action to remove the soon to be prophet's sins.
Great! Lucky Isaiah.
He does the same thing for us. He has done the same thing for us. When Christ died on the cross, he removed our sins. The ones we have committed already, and the ones we have yet to commit. The things that have not yet done wrong are already forgiven.
And we are invited, every day, to come into the presence of God. He moves to make us clean, to take away our sin.
That's grace, and no wonder they call it amazing.