Begin with the title: Have you ever felt unworthy before God? In the presence of Jesus glorified in an apocalyptic vision, John fell at the feet of Jesus as though dead. Jesus laid His hand on John and comforted, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades” (Rev 1:17). God’s holiness has a presence of fearful conviction and yet overwhelming comfort.
The prophet Isaiah recounted a vision of God on His throne high and lifted up. Isaiah saw God having a robe with a train that filled the temple (Isaiah 6:1). Angelic beings called seraphim covered their faces to their feet with their six wings (6:2). In Isaiah’s vision, the angelic beings called to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts.” God is holy and separate from the heavenly creatures. However, God’s glory filled the whole earth (6:3). The voice of God trembled the foundation of temple, and the smoke of God’s presence filled that spiritual house (6:4). Isaiah’s vision captured God’s glory invoking fear.
Before God’s awesome presence, Isaiah exclaimed distress and grief because of his own sinfulness. The prophet expressed, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (6:5). The prophet saw God’s holiness and knew that he was not clean. The prophet realized his wickedness and those of all flesh before God. How could he even speak? Isaiah experienced this vision to hear the voice of the Lord call for whom to send to Israel, and God sent Isaiah (6:8).
Many of us have felt unworthy and unholy before God like Isaiah. The Scriptures depict a sense of sinfulness and humiliation that overcomes all who experience God’s presence. In God’s presence, humanity realizes its uncleanness and shame. God’s holiness exposes the wicked works of humanity (John 3:19–21). Job heard and saw God, and for this reason, Job despised himself and repented in dust and ashes (Job 42:5–6). Jesus commanded Simon’s boat to cast their nets on the other side, and they caught so many fish that two boats could barely hold them. Peter declared to Jesus, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8).
Why do we experience great fear and humility before the greatness of God? God’s holiness is absolute contrast to evil. God’s nature is counter to the filthiness of sin. The basic problem for humanity with holiness is that God is holy and He desires fellowship with sinful humanity living in a fallen world (cf. Hab 1:13). Because God cannot become less holy, humanity must become holy by way of being made holy — sanctification (1 Thess 4:1–8).
Every one of us has been alienated and hostile in mind toward God in doing evil things (Col 1:21). However, through Jesus’s death in the body, He makes those who continue in the faith holy and blameless before Him (Col 1:22–23). In Christ, the faithful will put of the works of the flesh being buried with Christ in baptism, so the faithful are raised with Christ by God’s powerful working and made alive having received the forgiveness of sins (Col 2:12–13).
Furthermore, John wrote of continual fellowship with God stating, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:6–7). Thank God that you can have fellowship with Him and receive the cleansing of ALL sin by the blood of Christ.