The Holiness of God - Part 2
God being set apart in regards to sin has been displayed since the beginning of the world. Adam and Eve were expelled from their garden paradise for being tricked by a snake. Not only that, but their sin is the cause of death for all mankind. This punishment was because of what we would call one mistake.
Moses, whom God spoke to as a friend (Ex. 33:11), was punished for his disobedience and not allowed to enter the promised land, because he did not treat the Lord as holy (Deut. 32:51 - 52). The actual event appeared inconspicuous. God had asked Moses to tell the rock to yield its water, instead Moses struck the rock twice with his staff (Num. 20:6 - 11). Moses' punishment seems disproportionate to the actual infraction.
God's expectation is not "good enough," it is perfection. Not even one "mistake" is acceptable. Christians have a tendency to forget this frightening aspect of God's character. Unintentionally salvation has become the focal point instead of our Saviour. Suppose the parents of a child decide that they are no longer going to discipline their child once he becomes an adult. The parents have no problems with the child until he reaches adulthood, at which point he decides to defy all of the principles that his parents taught him. This little illustration shows that this child does not really care about the relationship with his parents as much as avoiding the consequences of discipline. He is not fearful of their displeasure. It is similar to a person realizing that the wrath of God is the consequence of their sin and turning to Him for salvation, only to live contrary to His desires once they are convinced they are no longer under His wrath. Someone who desires to know God will also desire to be holy, since they want to please Him.
God does not change. His requirements for holiness are the same for us as they were for Adam, Eve, and Moses. "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy.' (1 Pet. 1:14-16)" Even though we may no longer face the ultimate consequences of our sin, there is somebody who did, a lamb without blemish or spot (1 Pet. 1:19). We should never treat the sacrifice of Christ with contempt by being satisfied with unholy lives. May you "draw near to God, and He will draw near to you (Jam. 4:8)."