What’s More Important Than Love?
[ Preached by Pastor Kenneth Chin at Acts Church Malaysia on 8 July 2018 ]
What could be more important than “love” to God? Although “love” is extremely important to God, “holiness” is actually the most important thing which God values in us.
The word “holy” is stated three times when attributed to Him (Revelations 4:8, Isaiah 6:3). When something is mentioned twice, we pay attention. And if Scriptures repeated thrice, it’s well established that God is undoubtedly a Holy God.
When Jesus was on the cross, He cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27: 46) Jesus was carrying the sin of the whole world, and the Father looked away from Jesus. God loves His Son so much but He still couldn’t cast His eyes upon Jesus.
Read | John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
As we have all sinned and fallen short of His glory (Romans 3:21-26), we would have perished if Jesus didn’t take our place of condemnation. God is faithful and law-abiding, He had to send His Son to fulfil His law for us, so that we can achieve “holiness” and be redeemed.
Sometimes we feel that we have an unfettered “licence” to do anything we want because of the power and significance of “love”, and His love for us. If God is not holy, He would compromise. But because of His “holiness”, He acted with His “love”.
At the cross, “love” and “holiness” met. “Love” had to meet the demands of “holiness”. God can now look at us through the righteousness of His Son. That’s the reason Jesus died for us.
Read | Exodus 3:5
Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”
Moses was asked to remove his sandals as he approached God for where Moses stood was holy ground. This story was also repeated in Acts 7:33. There is a certain way to approach God and we should treat God as how He ought to be treated.
Do modern Christians still kneel before God out of reverence of His holiness? How do we honour Him through the care of our physical bibles? Do we treat the things of God so lightly? Even if you’re a close friend with the king, there’s a protocol to follow when you meet with the king, so what’s our posture towards God?
Read | Psalms 24:3-4
Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully.
Who may stand in His holy place? Why isn’t the answer, “those who love the Lord” or “those who the Lord loves”?
Read | Ezekiel 44:23
And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.
The priest must teach His people God’s holiness as the Bible continues to highlight (Leviticus 11:44-45; Leviticus 19:2; 1 Peter 1:15-16) the significance of holiness and how God values that we be holy for He is holy. It is never written in the Bible that God wouldn’t mind our sin.
Read | Isaiah 6
When we catch a glimpse of our Holy God, we see a mirror of our unclean selves. When Isaiah experienced that, he reacted, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips…” (Isaiah 6:5)
Then one of the seraphim took with tongs a live coal from the altar, touched Isaiah’s mouth with it and said, “Your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.” Only God’s holiness can make us holy. And today, we can trust the Holy Spirit to make us holy.
Three things which can define “holiness”:
We were full of stains. But by the blood of Jesus, we can be holy before the Lord as He has cleansed us.
2. Set Apart
We need to be set apart or consecrated for the Lord. Our tithes are set apart, that is holy. God commanded Adam and Eve that they are free to eat from any tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that is holy. Let’s reserve our life for God and don’t mess around with unholy things.
Though we might sin and fall again, it doesn’t mean that we can’t be holy again. King David sinned but he was forgiven by God because he repented and remained steadfast. King Solomon, on the other hand, had so many wives and was led astray from God. Solomon was no longer loyal to Him and became both unclean and unholy.
The righteous may fall but we can rise again (Proverbs 24:16). Let’s no longer return to our past, but seek to please God in our journey to be holy before the Lord.
Written by Writer’s Ink
Edited by Hailey Chung