"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." Rev. 4:8
As I was driving home this evening, I was listening to a song on the CD player that I really like. I've heard it many times, but there was a line I realized I hadn't quite caught before, and it intrigued me when I finally made out what the singer was saying.
'Hide my sin from the beauty here before your throne.' The song is Hallelujah by Tenth Avenue North, and it's a picture of the scene in Revelation that talks about God's Throne and all that surrounds it, including the Lamb that was slain. Whenever I hear this song I imagine myself standing before God, gazing upon His beauty and holiness and being covered by the blood of Christ.
But as I was thinking of this line I thought, 'How can my sin be hidden from the beauty of God and His Throne?' Through Christ, yes, but I was looking for something more tangible. Not just to be forgiven and cleansed of my sin so that I can stand before God blameless, but how is my sin actually removed? Or is it? Is it just concealed? When something is concealed, it can't be seen, but it's still there. Does God just overlook it and say, 'It's all right. I know it's there, but I'm covering it up."? Or can it actually flee, never to be seen again?
I'm not asking these questions so much for the future, like when I stand before God in Heaven someday. I'm asking it more for right now. The Bible doesn't just talk about being forgiven of sin and free from it someday. It talks about being free from it now. "It is for freedom that Christ has set you free," Paul says in Galatians. And Jesus says, "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." I think they're both talking about a present reality, not just something for the future when we are no longer alive on Planet Earth.
Somewhere between riding in my car and getting myself some dinner, I changed the words of the song slightly, thinking they were the actual lyrics, and suddenly I had a picture in my mind of what happens to the sin. Listening to the song again as I was eating, I realized that I had changed one of the words to come up with this mental picture. I don't mean to say that the writer of this song wrote it wrong, because I'm sure to him it means something that fits in with however he thinks, but for what God was trying to say to me on this particular night, it works better to say, 'Hide my sin in the beauty of your throne." Not to conceal it, but to swallow it up. Not to just forgive, but remove it. Not to cover it with the blood of Christ, but to make it impossible to exist in light of His Glory. In other words, "To go and sin no more," as Jesus said to the adulterous woman who was brought before him and sent on her way to choose a different kind of life.
You see, sin doesn't exist by itself. It is the result of unbelief. The root of all sin is unbelief. We don't do as God says because we don't believe its what is best for us. We don't believe in His love, only His judgement. We believe that if we do this thing, it's wrong. But we don't believe that if we do what is right, we will be better off for it. If we did, in every circumstance, we would never sin.
But we do sin and so forgiveness is needed. But what is forgiveness? It's the belief that we are okay before God. We did something we shouldn't have, but He loves us anyway and we are set free from the fear of judgement. This requires belief on the back side of sin. But God's greatest desire for us is that we would be set free from our unbelief on the front side and experience the blessings of choosing the right way in the first place. That we would see Him for who He really is, know we are loved, and heed His warning about what isn't good for us and choose what is!
That's the beauty of His Throne. He rules with love. And when I stand before Him in light of all He truly is, unbelief can't exist. It's not just covered up. It's gone. I see the truth of His love for me, and I believe. I see the blood Jesus shed for me and I say, "My God! He loves me! He died to prove that, and He lives to empower me to live!" --Free from sin. Free from unbelief. Free to immerse myself in all that He is and all that He has for me.