“In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures. . . . Day and night they never stop saying: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” – Revelation 4:6, 8
In chapter 4 of Revelation, the Apostle John has a vision of the throne in heaven. He sees one sitting on the throne with the “appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling and emerald, encircled the throne” (vs.3). I’m not exactly sure what jasper and carnelian look like (they are colorful types of quartz), and I’m not sure how to envision a rainbow that looks like an emerald, but I think that is the point. Our minds cannot comprehend the beauty and magnificence of the throne while we remain on the earth side of heaven. But then, who is to say we’ll be able to wrap our minds around it when we finally see it?
However, that is not what bothers me. What bothers me is the day and night singing of the cherubim.
Cherubim, like us, are created beings. They are not all powerful and all knowing, but they do pre-exist mankind. Although most of us think of cherubim as supernatural angelic beings covered with eyes and having four faces, who protect the throne of God and may even have tremendous power, there is one thing we have that they do not: an experience of the saving mercy and grace of Jesus.
God’s Grace vs. Jim’s Pride
“But where sin increased, grace increased all the more” – Romans 5:20
I really despise job performance evaluations. I dread knowing they are coming, for inevitably the person doing the review will find it necessary to point out my weaknesses, errors, mistakes and foibles. And, if they are in a good mood, mention a few of my strengths. Hey, I’m well aware of my shortcomings. I don’t need a yearly reminder by someone who feels they have the privilege to criticize me simply because they sign my paycheck.
Okay, now you know my bad attitude regarding evaluations.
I was talking to God about my attitude the other morning while walking on a treadmill, and somehow it occurred to me that there was a connection between grace, forgiveness, sin and pride. This is how I think it works.
Through every fault of my own, sometimes I find I am in need of another person’s grace and forgiveness (yes, even in a job performance evaluation). Although I am grateful for their kindness and grace, I feel their grace puts me in an awkward position. I couldn’t quite figure it out until I made the connection between forgiveness for something I’ve done wrong, the humility to accept the grace of the person who offers such forgiveness, and my need for forgiveness. The connection is pride.