by James Merritt

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High and Lifted Up
James Merritt
Isaiah 6:1-8


1. Several years ago Life Magazine devoted an issue to God. On the front cover was one big question:


2. I began to imagine if that magazine came out today, how we, here in America, might answer that question. I believe there are some people who see a God who looks like Santa Claus, and really doesn't care whether we are naughty or nice; a God who winks at sin and giggles at iniquity; a God who is ''too loving to let anyone go to hell;''

3. a God who accepts everyone just the way they are, and never bothers trying to change them; a God who gives us everything and never expects anything in return; a God who honors all religions and sees one way to Him just as good as another; a God who is so sweet that He eventually is going to let everybody into heaven.

4. Well, quite frankly, any of those visions of God might be absolutely on target, except for one small fact-God is a Holy God. Even with the booming economy, and the peace we have both at home and abroad, relatively speaking, an overwhelming majority of Americans, with some polls as high as 75%, are saying, ''There is a moral crisis in this nation.'' I believe one of if not perhaps the greatest cause of that moral crisis, is we have lost a vision of the holiness of God. This is true not only in the world, but also in the church.

5. David Wells, in an outstanding book entitled, No Place for Truth, made this salient observation:

The loss of the traditional vision of God as holy, is now manifested every-where in the evangelical world. It is the key to understanding why sin and grace have become such empty terms. What depth or meaning. . .can these terms have except in relation to the holiness of God? Divorced from the holiness of God, sin is merely self-defeating behavior or a breach in etiquette. Divorced from the holiness of God, grace is merely empty retoric, pious window dressing, for t ...

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