“Thus it comes about that we see men who in his absence normally remained firm and constant, but who, when he manifests his glory, are so shaken and struck dumb as to be laid low by the dread of death – are in fact overwhelmed by it and almost annihilated. As a consequence, we must infer that man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God’s majesty.” Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion 1.3
When the natural man is fresh and far from God it seems as if he is almost untouched by conscience. The natural man sees no need to reconcile with his sin because he doesn’t see it. It isn’t till the light of the Law of God shines on man’s sin that man is then able to see that it was there all along. It isn’t till man sees the sheer holiness of God that he is able to perceive true beauty. When we ourselves are compared to God we cannot stand and our knees break. Who can stand in His aweful presence? When a sinful being is seeing the majesty of God his only desire is for self annihilation.
The Gospel however, is that God condescends to us. He enters into Creation as a helpless babe. Ordained to die and then through the death and resurrection of his son we can live. Now we don’t stand before a holy majestic king on our own strength but IN the one who has earned the right to stand before God. God the Son. Jesus Christ.