Peter Meadows answers your questions about God
A great question. And when it comes to ‘real life’, to talk about God as being ‘holy’ has everything to do with it.
The focus Jesus gave was on ‘real life’ being about knowing – as a friend – the God who made us. And experiencing His help to live the kind of life He has in mind for us. All of which involves taking into account ‘what God is like’. Which is where ‘holy’ comes in.
It is easy to imagine– or hope – that God is much like a puppy dog. Safe, agreeable and OK to take on—no matter what. That’s not how Jesus conveyed Him. Not as ‘safe’ at all. That’s not because God is nasty, cruel or vindictive. But because of the very substance of what He is. Let me try to explain this to you.
Day by day you sit within reach of an electric socket and don’t give it a second thought. Of course you are careful. You don’t stand in a bowl of water, lick your fingers and stick them in the sockets just for the fun of it. You are simply happy to use electricity to run your appliances.
But many miles from you a huge power station is generating raw, naked, electrical power. This electricity is nothing like the few meager watts that help keep your hair curled, your model train chuffing or your kettle boiled. No way. If this kind of electricity went straight into your home it would be meltdown. Everything would be left as a charred blob on the landscape.
We can too easily assume the great God of the universe to be like common domestic electricity. Tame. Safe. Manageable. But those who heard Jesus’ offer to follow Him knew God to be like the raw power that comes from the electricity plant.
The ancients had a technical word for this kind of power—“holy.” God is holy. Pure, powerful and unspoiled goodness. A searchlight, not a flashlight. A forest fire, not a flickering match. A tsunami, not a wave.
And “holy” consumes anything that is not of the same substance—in the same way darkness is consumed by light, forests are consumed by fire and whole swathes of land are consumed by a tsunami.
What turns that raw electricity in to a safe power that makes life work better? A transforming sub-station. A go-between that stands between the ultimate power and us. And that is exactly what Jesus came to be – so we could have real life.
By His death on the cross Jesus stood between God and us – and He still does. Through our faith in Him we have a way to relate to an all powerful and ‘holy’ God. To know Him. And to make it possible for that same God to be our strength and help. This is what makes ‘real life’ possible.•