Consider these two words; transcendence and immanence. Now, you’ve heard of these before, but just for review – God’s transcendence means that he is high and holy and set apart and other – there is none like him – his glory fills the heavens where the angels cry “holy, holy, holy” forever and ever. God’s transcendence means He is perfect and pure. Transcendence is what we’ll sing of today with these lyrics, “the eye of sinful man” his “glory may not see.” As a worshiping church, we want to raise our gaze upon the beauty and holiness of the Lord and worship him in his transcendence.
But God is not ONLY transcendent, he is also immanent. He is near to us. He is with us.
In my reading this week I was struck by the juxtaposition of God’s transcendence and immanence in Isaiah 57:15.
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, AND ALSO with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. (Isaiah 57:15 ESV)
Isn’t that beautiful? Doesn’t that make you long to be near to God?
The overwhelming power of the glory of God is sheer terror to the rebellious who will one day meet God in judgment where “they will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.” (2 Thessalonians 1:9 ESV)
But to the contrite—to the lowly, to the repentant who cling to Jesus—God revives the heart. He mends what is broken, he (as the Psalmist says) restores my soul (Psalm 23:3)
That’s my prayer for us today—that we would be humble and lowly and repentant. That we would heed the words of Peter from Acts 3 – “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19–20 ESV)
Those are the two options: eternal destruction from the presence of the Lord, or times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.
Perhaps you’ve been straying from the Lord lately, may the Lord use our time together in song, prayer and the preaching of his Word to draw us to repentance and renewal.
Prayer of Preparation for Worship
Heavenly Father, you are majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, there is none like you.
Lord Jesus, we confess no merit within ourselves to draw near to God, except for the punishment you received on our behalf and your perfect obedience imputed to us by faith.
Holy Spirit, help us today to grasp the greatness of God, cut through our pride and apathy and help us draw near to God in contrition and repentance.
May you be honored today in our worship – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.