As Far as the East is from the West

“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14

“I will honor the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations—the name you have profaned among them.” Ezekiel 36:23

God is holy. The eternal God who knows the number of hairs on your head and sets the boundaries for the oceans is perfect in every way. Because he is perfect and set apart and far above all things, he will not allow sin to enter into his presence. He will not allow his name to be associated with sin. And he will not live in community with people who are carrying the crimson stain of their sin.

This is why he told the people of Israel through his prophet, Ezekiel, that he “will honor the holiness of his great name” which God’s people had profaned. Essentially, these are people who said they belonged to the family of God, yet they were living their lives in complete rebellion to him. They were associating God’s name with their profanity. God will not tolerate the sin in his people. He demands that his people be holy, like he is holy (1 Pet. 1:15).

Do you see a problem emerging? The problem is that our sin keeps us from being holy. So consequently, our sin keeps us from seeing the Lord. The solution? We must become holy. But again we see the problem...we don’t have the power cleanse ourselves from the stain of our sin.

Thankfully God did what he said he would do. He honored the holiness of his great name, and dealt with our sin. Not by punishing his children for their sin, but by sending his Son to die in our place as our substitute—bearing the full weight of our punishment for sin. Our sin is dealt with, and we are made holy in the eyes of God!

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14).

Now when we stand before God each day, he does not see the stain of our sin. Instead he sees the very righteousness of his Son Jesus Christ on our account (2 Cor. 5:21). We stand justified by his grace as a gift because of the redemption that is in Christ (Rom. 3:24). And because Christ dealt with our sin on the cross, God no longer deals with us according to our sin. Instead he calls us holy.

“He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities…As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:10, 12). 

Thanks be to God who sent Jesus Christ to remove our sin from our sin as far as the east is from the west, so that we could come into his presence as his holy, adopted children.

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