How may I, a sinner, draw near to Him in whom there is no sin, and look upon
His face in peace?
This is the great question which, at some time or other, every one of us has
asked. This is one of the awful problems which man in all ages has been
attempting to solve. There is no evading it: he must face it.
That man’s answers to this question should have been altogether wide of the
mark, is only what might have been expected; for he does not really understand
the import of the question which he, with much earnestness perhaps, is putting,
nor discern the malignant character of that evil which he yet feels to be a
barrier between him and God.
That man’s many elaborate solutions of the problem which has perplexed the race
since evil entered should have been unsatisfactory, is not wonderful, seeing
his ideas of human guilt are so superficial; his thoughts of himself so high;
his views of God so low.
But that, when God has interposed, as an interpreter, to answer the question and
to solve the problem, man should be so slow to accept the divine solution as
given in the word of God, betrays an amount of unteachableness and self-will
which is difficult to comprehend. The preference which man has always shown for
his own theories upon this point is unaccountable, save upon the supposition
that he has but a poor discernment of the evil forces with which he professes to
battle; a faint knowledge of the spiritual havoc which has been wrought in
himself; a very vague perception of what law and righteousness are; a sorrowful
ignorance of that Divine Being with whom, as lawgiver and judge, he knows that
he has to do; and a low appreciation of eternal holiness and truth.
Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness