My friend Michael Earls commented on my last post and expressed appreciation for my respect for God. (Hi Micheal, good to hear from you!) I’ve been thinking about respect for God. First let me say that respect for God is a a rare thing in today’s world and I know Michael too respects God. So many people have no respect for God because they do not believe in Him. Or if they do believe in God, he is not occupying much place in their thoughts. So I really appreciate Michael noticing that and it is something everyone should take a step towards. But respect for God is not a final destination rather it is just a step or a move towards God. Although God is worthy of respect because respect has the meaning of being honored and esteemed, somehow respect does not rise to the level of adequately describing my attitude toward God.
What attitude then glorifies God? I’d like to say that I love God but even that sounds like too much like me giving something to Him. (I do love Him, I’m just trying to find the attitude that really glorifies God.) You see God is the source of everything; He is always the giver and never the receiver as if He needed anything from us. I might say and do in fact fear God because of his holy righteousness. That’s good and true too certainly in the sense that God is all-powerful and all-knowing. (Don’t you fear someone who could squash you in an instant and moreover knows all your secrets?) Let’s see, how about grateful…yes that works too because of God’s great mercy. Mercy is the part that keeps God from squashing me or making me pay for all those dirty dark secrets that only He and I know about.
But someone did pay. God paid. God absorbed the righteous wrath of God against my sin. Wait a minute. Did I say that right? God paid God’s penalty? Yes of course, Jesus Christ paid it all. And all the while God the Son was hanging on that cross suffering for my sake, it was God the Father in heaven pouring out his wrath. That way he is both just and the one who justifies. God’s wrath was spent not withdrawn.
How do I know all this is true? Of course I got it all out of the Bible. But God provided proof by raising Jesus from the dead. The ressurection is the proof that God is satisfied.
That’s why respect, love, fear, and gratefulness as attitudes toward God don’t seem enough. Oh they are necessary and right. I suppose gratefulness comes the closest because it describes my receiving instead of my giving. But when I talk about God and see His work in everything around me including in the budding forth of spring foliage and flowers, I am delighted. Delight, yes that’s the word. I am really delighted and soul-satisfied when I consider God. And I am not giving him anything in my delight rather I am soaking it all in: His love toward me, his mercy toward me, his goodness all around me, his magnificence in his creation.
He made me and he made you to delight in his glory!