“Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5)

Isaiah was overwhelmed with terror when he beheld the Lord God Almighty in all His glorious splendor. He feared to stand in the presence of our Holy God because he knew he was an unclean sinner unworthy to be in the presence of Divine holiness.

I have felt that terror myself. Many years ago, I came to a point where I was totally overwhelmed by my sinfulness. I knew I was a sinner filled with all sorts of evil habits and desires. I knew that I could not go before God the way I was because He was so Holy and I was not. I knew that there was a huge unbridgeable gap between me and Him. I despaired because I could not understand how to bridge that gap. I saw it as an abyss, a bottomless pit, the entry to hell. I felt like I was about to fall in and be lost for eternity. Even though I knew the truth from reading the Scripture and hearing the gospel proclaimed, I could not figure out how to earn God’s grace and mercy.

The Lord used that terror to impart faith in me. By faith He revealed that grace and mercy are given freely, not earned, for, in fact, they can’t be earned!

Did you ever feel that kind of terror? Did you ever feel that sense of your own disgusting sinfulness? I hope you have. Because without a sense of our own sinfulness we will never know how serious sin is or how hopeless our condition without a proper atoning sacrifice is. We will never see how much we need God. We will never see that gap between us. We will then not see that there is a bridge over it. That bridge is Jesus. This is good news!