“Thus says the LORD: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.'”
– Isaiah 66:1-2 (ESV)
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!”
– Psalm 111:10 (ESV)
Something that hit me in particular in verse three of Isaiah 66 was the person that God hears or listens to. And having just posted on moralism and stating that if you’re in Christ, there’s nothing that you can do to make yourself any more or any less acceptable in the site of God because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, how is that God only hears the one who is humble and contrite in spirit? If we cannot attain it on our own merit, works, or effort, how do we get there? Very simply, look at Christ on the cross. Let’s observe for a minute, not look at ourselves at all for just a moment, and simply look at the cross. We have the Son of God, existing from all eternity at the right hand of the Father; perfect, without blemish, the Lamb of God; the One through whom creation came to be; He is the prophecied Messiah; the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega; Jesus is the one who defines reality; there is no reality apart from what He has set forth; He is the sovereign King over all His creation; all things are subject to Him; not even a sparrow falls in creation apart from His command; His power is infinite and the words from His mouth are as sharp as a double-edged sword; He is the great lion of Judah, the one who will display His anger in great fury against all wicked people on the day of His glory.
And yet willingly, He set aside His heavenly realm and divine power to dwell amongst us; He became a person, just like any one of us. He suffered all the things we do so that He can make intercession on our behalf. And though He set aside His heavenly dwelling and powers, He was still God, existing fully as God and man at the same time; He was absolutely sinless, living a perfect life, without blemish; He came to save any who would believe in Him, and yet we killed Him. We killed, murdered even, the Son of God! With our sin and wickedness we drove the nails into the King of the Universe; we beat, mocked, scorned, insulted, humiliated and murdered the Son of God, the King of the universe.
Now let’s turn and look at ourselves based on the things spoken above: if we did this to the Son of God, what does it say about our nature as humans? I believe it speaks volumes. It says that even the morally best of us are wicked and corrupt, without hope of being saved on any merit of our own, any merit at all. It speaks things that cannot even be conveyed in words, mainly that we are so desperately blind, sinful, and wicked that we cannot even understand a fraction of our nature until we look at what we did to the Son of God.
When we consider this, that we/I/you murdered the Son of God, the Creator of the universe, we should all mourn and fear for our souls of being tormented in hell forever because of this great God’s wrath against sin (i.e. the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom). God is just, and to act out in any way other than pure wrath against people who trample on His glory constantly, would be to not consider Himself the most important being in the universe, something He cannot do, because He is the most important being in the universe. But what else happened at the cross beside us murdering Him? Jesus Christ, by the will of the Father, was submitted to the cross where He suffered, died, and rose from the grave, for the sins of any who would believe in Him, for the purpose of saving them from His awful and terrible wrath, raising them to eternal life.
How do we obtain a contrite spirit? How is it that we come to a point where we’re truly repentant for our sins against Him? It is through looking away from yourself, throwing away your righteousness, giving up on your works, your deeds (both positive and negative), or looking to any other thing to save you or do anything for you spiritually, and looking to Christ as the great sufficient One. He has fulfilled all righteousness by His work at Calvary on the cross, and having risen from the dead, we can have true life in Him. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” We look to Him as our God, Savior, Lord, and King, and seek for Him to change our hearts, knowing that in our deadness, we can do nothing to create an affection for Him apart from Him. In my flesh, I desire nothing of God, but in Christ I am made new and renewed by the Holy Spirit every day. But it is a continual process of sanctification by the application of Christ’s work of redemption in my life on a constant basis. Every day, I must recite the Gospel to myself, lest I forget Him and His work, and slide back into moralism, becoming sinfully prideful because of any self-righteousness I may have or loathing myself because of my wrong-doing. The whole point of the Gospel in this regard is that we come to an end of ourselves, forget ourselves, lose ourselves in the light of the glory of Christ and His love very clearly displayed on the cross. We turn to Him because He is glorious and has shown so much love to us through the cross. A contrite spirit is born in you by the Holy Spirit by comparing yourself to the glory of Christ. Fear the Lord in His glory and yet know that You are perfectly accepted by Him because of Jesus Christ, not anything within you.