“And the men of Bethshemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God? and to whom shall he go up from us?”
I Samuel 6:20
The Philistines defeated Israel and captured the ark of God. Because of the problems and plagues the Philistines had experienced, they decided to send the ark back to Israel. The ark arrived in Bethshemesh where the men rejoiced to see it. However, because the men of Bethshemesh looked into the ark, fifty thousand and seventy of their men were killed. The quick and severe judgment brought this response from the men of Bethshemesh, “Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God?” They had a new appreciation for God’s power and holiness after seeing the way He promptly judged their sin. They were made aware of their own weakness and inability to stand before the Almighty.
Their question deserves our serious consideration and a biblical answer. “Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God?” The answer is that no one, in his own merit or ability, is able to stand before God. The Bible clearly states, “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). We cannot come before God in our own works or good deeds. God is infinitely holy. The only way that sinful man can be made fit to come before holy God is to be purified and cleansed of sins.
At the time of our salvation, holiness and righteousness are imputed to us. This is made possible through the grace of God and the perfect forgiveness provided through Jesus Christ. Christ died for our sins that we might be forgiven and cleansed through the power of His blood that was shed at Calvary. When a person acknowledges his sin and repents to God, receiving Christ by faith as his Savior, he is born again by the Spirit of God. At that instant, His righteousness is imputed unto us. We are able to stand before God, not in our own righteousness, but in that righteousness which is by faith in Jesus Christ.
Thank God we are able to stand before God because of our position in Christ. We stand before Him redeemed, cleansed, justified, reconciled, adopted, accepted, and holy because of the gift of righteousness that is found in His great sacrifice. And one day, because of His great love, we will stand before Him in Heaven, in His holy presence. “Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God?” Only those who are redeemed by His grace, washed and made clean in the blood of the Lamb.