>The Holiness of God – Chapter Four-

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The Storm of the Sea of Galilee; Rembrandt Harmensz. Van Rijn

Chapter Four. The Trauma of  Holiness

“Hence the dread and amazement with which, a Scripture uniformly relates, holy men were struck and overwhelmed whenever they beheld the presence of God… Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God”
John Calvin

God you are Holy. Let me never forget this, O Lord, please!

Sproul leads us through this chapter to different scenes, places, the first one is the Sea of Galilee. It was the night in which Jesus calmed the storm with His Word, yes, this is the event we all love to read about while trials and storms raise against us with fury. However, this time this event seems to be written to teach me more that the power of Jesus to calm storms. It is there to teach us about God’s holiness.

Jesus was waked up by his disciples who were in panic.

“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4: 38)

and in Sproul’s words,

“Their question was not really a question. It was an accusation. Their suggestion was thinly veiled. They were actually saying, “You don’t care if we drown” They were charging the Son of God with a lack of compassion. This outrageous attack on Jesus is consistent with mankind’s customary attitude toward God.”

Jesus did not say a word to them, instead He raised Hos voice and rebuked the wind and waves. Then He turned and asked His disciples “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:39-40)

And for some reason it seems that we have memorized only this part of the story. A powerful Jesus willing to calm the raging sea even when we have little faith. But the story hasn’t finished and Sproul encourages us to look at the reaction of the disciples, now that the sea was calm:

“They were terrified and asked each other ‘Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey Him!” (Mark 4: 41)

The storm was calmed and now, for the first time, Mark tells us that the disciples were terrified.

“The storm had made them afraid. Jesus’ action to still the tempest made them more afraid. In the power of Christ they met something more frightening than they had ever met in nature. They were in the presence of the Holy…
It is one thing to fall victim of the flood or to fall prey to cancer; it is another thing to fall into the hands of the Living God

We all have fall into some kind of desperation and fear in the midst of storms, rumors of cancer, tumors, broken finances, etc. and we seek desperately to the Master, we call Him, but truly, do we really want to see His Holiness in the storm? Maybe we will find out that the most terrible storm is not the one outside, but the one in our heart.

Now Sproul takes us to the same lake, however, the scene is another one (Luke 5:1-7). Luke tells us of the day when Jesus, the carpenter, told Simon, the fisherman, how and when to cast the nets to fish. And the question here that we must ask is this:

“How did Peter react? How would you have reacted? …
When the nets were bursting, Peter couldn’t even see the fish. All he could see was Jesus. Hear what he said ‘When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am asinful man!”

Again, we love this story because it tells us about a Jesus who provides miraculously, but why we always stop recalling the story when we feel we can’t benefit from it?

My country is plagued with the so called “Prosperity Gospel” and the “Modern Evangelical Christianism” of TV shows and praise and worship meetings, and what they have missed (among so many other things) is always the “next verses” those that bring us to our knees before the Holy One.
I feel rage when I see many looking after the gifts, the power, the provision, but run away before they meet the Holy One.

Our response to God’s power, to the manifestation of the Holy One, should be falling on our knees “undone”, crying “I am a sinful man”.

“We notice that Jesus did not lecture Peter about his sins. There was no rebuke, no word of judgment. All Jesus did was to show Peter how to catch fish. But when the Holy is manifest, no words are need to express it. Peter got the message that was impossible to miss. The transcendent standard of all righteousness an all purity blazed before his eyes. Like Isaiah before him, Peter was undone”

The chapter goes on, and Sproul warns us about the fake holiness of the Pharisees and Sadducees; I will not extend into that but you can read other comments on this chapter here, at Challies.

Today, as I consider all these, I can’t but be thankful for Jesus Christ. It is only through Him that I can come before a Holy God and not be consumed.

May we see Him as He is. May we find Him today as we consider His Word.

Related Posts:

The Holiness of God -Chapter One-
The Holiness of God -Chapter Two-
The Holiness of God -Chapter Three
The Holiness of God -Chapter Five-

6 thoughts on “>The Holiness of God – Chapter Four-

  1. >Love your thoughts! I loved how Sproul emphasized the disciples' reaction to Jesus after He calmed the storm…and I completely agree with you that we tend to stop too soon and overlook important points like that!

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  2. >"but truly, do we really want to see His Holiness in the storm? Maybe we will find out that the most terrible storm is not the one outside, but the one in our heart."This is the acid test isn't it? I'm so glad that Christ is our strength and shield. Only He can give us the desire to put His glory above our own personal comfort.Beautiful words Becky! Much love to you!

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  3. >Love the Rembrandt.Sproul’s zeroing in on the disciples’ reaction of fear AFTER the storm was calmed really hit home with me, too. You’re right that we often stop our stories too short! We need to see them through until we see the ONE whom the story is about, in all his holiness. Thanks for sharing. I always look forward to what you’ll have to say.I appreciate Mrs. DH above pointing out the difference in the Greek words for fear. Interesting and relevant.

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  4. >Becky,When reading Mark's account of Jesus calming the storm, my curiosity was piqued and I wondered if the same Greek word was used to say that the disciples were afraid of the storm and that they were filled with fear. As we would expect, the Greek words are different. When Christ said that they were afraid of the storm, the Greek word deilos was used which means timid and implies faithless. When the disciples were filled with fear following Christ's calming of the storm, the Greek word phobeo was used which means to be alarmed, in awe of, and to revere.I thought that was interesting and thought you might enjoy it as well.

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