The Locus and Display of God’s Holiness and Beauty

As I near the end of reading Isaiah By the Day: A Devotional Translation by Alec Motyer, I want to pass on to you some really important thoughts from the author which serve to challenge each of us. Today’s reading was Isaiah 63:15-64:12, which compares and contrasts the Lord’s heavenly habitation with His earthly dwelling place. Applying the passage to us, Motyer writes in his thought for the day:

“In the divine intention the earthly was meant to be the replica of the heavenly (cf., Exod. 25:40). The truth remains the same today: the Lord’s earthly people are themselves the temple in which he lives by his Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16), the locus and display of his holiness and beauty. Well may we mourn that our sinfulness, divisiveness, our failure in biblical distinctives, and our manifest lack of holiness have marred the image. Who, looking at today’s church—denominational or local—can see the likeness of Jesus? And this is not a matter only of denominational failure, though that is all too plain. The Bible knows nothing of our ‘denominationalism’, and if Isaiah’s wording prompts us to put our hand to reform and renovation then its proper focus is the local church to which we each belong. When we look at the merest sliver of a crescent moon we don’t say, ‘Oh, there’s part of the moon’. We say ‘Look, there’s the moon.’ In the same way each local church, however small—or in the eyes of onlookers, insignificant—is meant to be a mirror and image of the whole, an earthly replica of the heavenly reality where Christ is all. We should be able to look at the fellowships to which we belong and say, ‘There is The Church’, bearing the two outstanding marks of holiness and beauty; obeying the command, ‘Be holy because I am holy’ (Lev. 19:2), and displaying the beauty of Jesus in all its gatherings, relationships and individual characters.”

As we strive to be replicas of God’s holiness and grace we appear as lights in a dark and mean-spirited world, and our local churches display the heavenly reality that Christ is all in all. May we be strengthened in the inner man, by God’s Spirit, to reflect His glorious beauty!

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