Living in Awe of God…

My Pastor said a great line in church this past week. He told the visitors in our church that his hope for them, is that they would see a people in awe of God, and that they would themselves experience that in our church. He said if they didn’t have that experience in our church, he hopes they would find a church in which they would. That is our goal as a church, to show the world a people that are in absolute awe of God. That is something you don’t see so much in the Church today. It is a sad reality.

A couple of passages of Scripture come to mind for me, in speaking of being in awe of God. First you have John, the author of Revelation who gives an amazingly detailed description of the throne of God, and the “one seated on the throne”. (Revelation 4) I love his description, because He uses word pictures of jewels, gold, rainbows, fire, crystal, thunder and lightning to try to paint us a picture of what He was seeing. He told us about strange creatures that even with his detailed descriptions are hard for us to imagine. I think as hard as he tried to give us an accurate description…he still fell short. When reading Revelation 4, you get a sense of wonder, and amazement, that the author must have felt.

In Isaiah 6:1-7, you have another description of the throne of God. He also describes creatures that are hard to imagine, and tells us that the “house” in which he was in was “filled with smoke”. Isaiah also was filled with awe…look at his words as he was before the throne of God, “Woe is me! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Another passage that comes to mind for me is the transfiguration in Matthew 17. When Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, Matthew tells us that, “his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.” Peter was so taken aback, and didn’t know what to say. He knew he had seen something special, and wanted to set up tents to mark the occasion. Then in Matthew 17:5-6, we read that a “bright cloud overshadowed them” and that God spoke out of the cloud. The three disciples were so afraid they fell on their faces. Verse 6 tells us that they were “terrified”.

The other two passages that come to mind for me are both in Exodus. In Exodus 33:18-23. Moses asked God to see His “glory”. God partially grants his request by placing Moses in the cleft of a rock, and covering his face until He has passed by him, and allows Moses to see His back. God doesn’t allow Moses to see His face, because the glory of the Lord’s face is too much for him to handle, as He tells Moses in verse 20 that “man shall not see me and live”.

The next Passage is in Exodus 34:29. After Moses has been on Mount Sinai with God, the Scriptures tell us that the “skin of his face shone”. After seeing this, the people were afraid to go near Moses. Not only were the people in awe of God, they were in awe of His glory, that was now in some way upon Moses, and in their midst.

If we are to be a people that truly love God, and truly worship Him, we must be a people that are in absolute awe of Him. We must see Him for who He is, and fall on our faces before Him. If we have truly been in His presence, and have experienced His glory, then it is going to show in us, the way it showed on the face of Moses. People will see that, some people might even fear it. It is my prayer though that people will want to experience it for themselves. That people will want to come into the presence of God, so that they too can experience His glory. May our church, your church, your life, and my life be one in which we can all help people experience God for themselves. May we be a People that doesn’t forget who the God we serve is. May we be a People always, living in awe of God. May that be our prayer…

Reformed Baptist?

Recently I mentioned a book that I have been reading, “A Reformed Baptist Manifesto”, which inspired the question by some, “What is a Reformed Baptist?” Below is my response in an attempt to sum it up very briefly.

In an effort to try to be brief, a “Reformed Baptist” is basically someone who holds to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. Someone who is reformed in their theology generally identifies with the early reformers of the Church, such as, Luther, Calvin, Knox, etc. Many people debate whether or not someone can be both Reformed and Baptist, as there are significant differences in the theology of the two groups, such as mode of Baptism, subjects of Baptism, and what exactly Baptism symbolizes, etc.

I personally think the debate on whether or not someone can be both Reformed and Baptist is silly, and frankly don’t think it matters.

I more than likely fall into the category, as I do identify with the Reformers. They were right on so many levels. The Church was in dire need of being reformed. They took the church back to Biblical Christianity, a belief in the sovereignty of God, Salvation by grace alone through faith alone, and the authority of the Bible…

I also believe though many of the reformers got it wrong, in relation to the issue of baptism. I believe that historically the Baptists have been right in that area. As well as who exactly the New Covenant is for. Again though, I think this is an issue that has been made a much bigger deal than it should be, and has caused too much division in the church. That is why I am glad to be in a church (Crossmark Church) now that allows for the difference of opinion on which stance on baptism and the New Covenant is correct. We have strong opinions, but ultimately, this isn’t an issue that determines whether or not one is a Christian, and should not divide.

By the way, the book I’m reading, is basically a defense of the Reformed Baptist position, in contrast to the other doctrinal stances within the church. For those of you who are interested, the book again is called, “A Reformed Baptist Manifesto” by Samuel Waldron and Richard C. Barcellos.