Holiness That Fills the Earth
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3 ESV). Today at International Lutheran Church we join the angelic seraphim that encircle the throne of God and proclaim His holiness to all. The first Sunday after Pentecost is celebrated by Christians around the world as Holy Trinity Sunday as we focus on the trinitarian nature of our faith in God.
While the word “trinity” does not appear anywhere in the Bible, the theology and doctrine of the triune nature of God are found from Genesis to Revelation. Some passages, like Matthew 28:19 (“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”) specifically name our Three in One God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit and announce His saving work. Others are perhaps less explicit, as in the threefold cry of “Holy, Holy, Holy” from the angelic beings that encircle the throne of God in Isaiah 6:3. But within this event of Isaiah’s call the sanctified nature of God is revealed in His sanctifying work. Isaiah’s vision, like that of Ezekiel’s last week, is a part of the Spirit-filled work of calling and appointing the prophet for the work of the LORD. This vision in particular reveals how the Lord of Hosts put Isaiah to the task of making the holiness of God known to all the world. Three parts of this call to Isaiah reveal the triune activity of the Lord of Hosts as he is sent as the mouthpiece of the LORD.
First, the kingship of God is central to the vision itself. While Isaiah references Uzziah, the king of Israel, it is God the Father and Creator of all who is the true and only King of Israel. The world and all that is in it is filled with His glory. There is no other king or god. There is no other lord besides Him. He alone sits enthroned over all and His presence fills all things. Isaiah’s response of woe and feeling undone before the Lord of Hosts cries out to the holiness of God and His complete otherness. No one is like Him. He is completely One.
Yet, the Lord of All is there in the fire of His love for the prophet and for all. He sends the seraph to the prophet with holy fire. This simple but divine action to touch the lips of His creation is for one purpose only – to atone for the sin and separation of the Creator with His creation. This God enthroned above comes down to remove that separation. The work of God the Son is revealed in this action even as the action of Moses lifting the bronze snake on a pole healed all who looked and declared the action of God through the Son to remove our guilt and sin.
But it is not enough that the Holiness of God would be revealed and extended to you and me. The Lord of Hosts intends for all to hear and look and believe, that all would be saved. And so the call of God the Holy Spirit goes out, “Who will go for us?” And the Spirit-filled response “Send me!” uncovers the sending and sanctifying work of God the Holy Spirit. He is the One, this Lord of Hosts who sends you and me into all the world with the good news of His love for all.
As our voices sing of the holiness of God this morning, we acknowledge the grace of God the Father that has made us holy through the atoning work of God the Son and the sanctifying work of God the Holy Spirit in sending us out into His world that all would know this Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.