This chapter is such an incredible, fearful image of the throne of God. I cannot help but be stunned to think of what this vision must have been like. How frightening! For those of us who have believed in Christ, this is the great and glorious God we serve. He should be feared, but with a reverential fear, not a fear that causes us to shrink back. And the only reason we don’t shrink back from this all-consuming fire of glory is because of the blood of Christ. In Christ, the Son of God, we are totally accepted by God the Father, by faith in Christ.
While God is loving, kind, merciful, gentle and all of those other things, He is also at the same time just, righteous, and full of wrath against sin, unrighteousness and all wickedness, because all of it is a slap in His face on an infinite level, because His worth and value are infinite. He must punish all wrong-doing.
How is it then that God can forgive anyone? Does He just pay no regard to a person’s sin and let them pass on through? Absolutely not! This would be unjust! How then can He do it? It is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ? Why Christ? Because He is the Son of God having become a Son of Man. He put on our flesh, lived the life we could never have lived in righteousness to the Father, and He died the death (the eternal death even) that was ours. He then rose from the grave three days later defeating sin, death, Satan, and the wrath of God for those who believe in Him.
When we believe in and rest on Christ, He removes our sin, guilt, and He turns away the wrath of God, absorbing it by His infinitely valuable blood. We are then justified in the presence of the Father and receive the very righteousness of Christ. He repairs relationships, heals pain, and is our source of eternal life. How incredible! For those do not believe in Christ though, the wrath of God abides on them, just as Christ said (John 3:36).
One issue though that I see rising more and more among many evangelical Christians though is a lack of reverential fear for this great and awesome God, thinking lightly of His hatred toward sin. And where do we see that hatred toward sin? In the cross of Christ. God hates sin so much that His own Son had to die to pay for us. That just breaks my heart that I am that wicked, that even on my “best” day I need Christ all the more, because I think I’m sufficient in myself.
The God of Ezekial 1 is the God we worship. And the very image of God in Christ is the God we worship as well. He is the Lion and the Lamb. While we are totally accepted by the Father because of Christ and His work, we must not forget that God is an all-consuming fire of glory, to which we would fall on our faces in trembling fear if He showed us even an inkling of His power as in Ezekial 1. We would be like Isaiah in Isaiah 6:1-7, falling on our faces in seeing how far we really fall short. May God break our hearts for the sin in our lives, that we may repent and flee from sin, and may He drive us to the cross where it was all paid for, but at an extreme cost to God, the sacrifice of His own Son.