Thursday, November 8, 2007

Pure and Holy in His Sight

Are you a good person? Most of us are inclined to say "yes" at first impulse, but--if encouraged to stop and think--we become considerably less certain. Chances are you love your family, have never murdered anyone or even picked a pocket, and do "good deeds" on a fairly regular basis. That's the world's basic definition of a "good person"--someone who never does anything obviously evil and who has a fair amount of compassion for others.

Still, when we look closely at ourselves, we have to admit we aren't as "good" as we want to be. We get angry without cause; we ignore others' needs for the sake of our own selfish desires; we turn immature and petty when we don't get our own way. And ironically, those people who are "best" by human standards are usually most aware of their failings, while the most blatantly evil rarely feel guilt or shame.

The bad news is that even the slightest taint--a single sinful attitude or thoughtless act--is sufficient evil to bar us from the presence of a holy God, Whose very nature can tolerate the presence of no impurity. But that fact is what makes the good news so good--not only in that we no longer have to worry about "qualifying" for heaven, but in that Christ loved us enough to meet the qualifications on our behalf and to take the full punishment we deserved. That was no casual "glad to do my pals a favor" love--it was akin to a person's willingly becoming a cockroach, joining the other insects for months of crawling through dirt and eating garbage, and finally taking the exterminator's poison on their behalf. It was an act of compassion and courage deeper than any human mind can fully conceive--and it was all so we might be reconciled to God forever.

Loved while we were lost in sin,
Saved by blood of sinless Man,
Changed from enemies to friends,
Chose before the world began,
We are cleansed and pure in Christ,
Crimson sins bleached snowy white,
Made the apple of God's eyes,
Pure and holy in His sight.

We are stones that build His home,
We are priests within His care;
None of us can stand alone;
All of us are welcome there.
Servants joyful in His tasks,
Called into His glorious light,
To accomplish all He asks,
Pure and holy in His sight.

All of earth shall one day end,
Sun and stars shall cease to be:
By our gracious heavenly Friend,
We shall live forever free,
Crowned with greatest of rewards,
In a world forever bright
With the glory of our Lord,
Pure and holy in His sight.

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