I once heard someone ask RC Sproul a question. “What is the point of creation?” His answer was, “Holiness.” He nuanced it a bit to include “that people would glorify God by means of holiness.” If Sproul is correct (and I think he is) then this is a staggering statement. God is pursuing his glory through the reflection of his own holiness. The obvious problem here is the reality that none of us perfectly reflect this holiness. When we sin we are failing to be holy as he is holy.
When you think about the divine pursuit and the human problem then the Bible’s tone makes a lot of sense. What you basically have is God speaking and acting in order to procure holiness by waking people out of their rebellion.
How does God do this? How does he get people’s attention? How does he get your attention?
It’s interesting. People and situations are different; and God uses various means to make this uniform point.
Think of David when confronted by Nathan the prophet. He told a story and then wrapped in David to it to show his vileness (2 Sam 12.1-15). Then there is thundering of the Law in Exodus 20. The mountain quakes and is wrapped in smoke. This scene communicates God’s otherlyness and our sinfulness. Then you have the ground swallowing people up (Num. 26.10), food coming from heaven (Ex. 16), Elijah hearing the voice of God in a “low whisper” (1 Kings 19.2), strange street preachers like Ezekiel, a donkey speaking to a prophet (Num. 22.8), even the entire history of Israel is to be a sermon to the church to promote holiness (1 Cor. 10.6). Then you have statements about God’s character that are to promote holiness. It is God’s kindness and patience that is to lead us to repentance. It is his love that is to cause us to reflect his love. His holiness is to inform and direct our own.Then you have warnings upon warnings in a book like Hebrews (chapters 2, 4, 6, 10, &12). There is also the book of Revelation which shows how this thing is going to end up. Regardless of your eschatological position, all Christians can agree: Jesus wins and his people dwell with him forever.
These are but a few examples of what God does to confront sin and promote holiness. They are all commonly connected to one loud divine exclamation point. The cross of Christ is the thread that combines all of these patches into one seamless garment. It is as if the entire Bible is hyperlinked to Calvary!
The narrative is punctuated as the last Adam wins all (and more) that the first Adam lost. The thundering darkness of Sinai is seen as Christ is suffering amid the blackness of noon day. Christ bearing the unmitigated, undiluted, fully fermented wrath of God. The barrel of justice is upon him there on Calvary. He is bearing the consequence of our lack of holiness while securing our eternal holiness. And he succeeded! He declared that it was finished. He had completed the work that his Father had given him: he became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in him (2 Cor. 5:21).
Since all of Bible points ahead to Christ (Lk. 24:27) then all of the warnings, encouragements and actual judgments from the OT point to ahead to another day when the need for holiness would be on full display.
Whichever tool God uses to get your attention, waste little time in “clicking the link” to Calvary. It is there that you find your unholiness atoned for and your eternal holiness secured. This gets my attention.