Monday Devotions – Approaching God

"O Father of Jesus, Help me to approach you with deepest reverence, not with presumption, Not with servile fear, but with holy boldness. You are beyond the grasp of my understanding, But not beyond that of my love." My view of God tends to one of two extremes. Either I think of Him as familiar, approachable, and very much like me; or I imagine that He’s distant, fearsome, and completely alien to me. These opening lines, from the prayer "The Love of Jesus" in The Valley of Vision, succinctly capture the tension of worshipping the God who is both transcendent and immanent. "O Father of Jesus." I’m reminded from the start that while I am God’s son through adoption, Jesus is God’s Son eternally and unchangeably. We can only approach God through the work of the one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ. (1 Tim. 2:5). We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ, chosen in Christ, and adopted through Christ (Eph. 1:3-6). What a joy to address God as our Father because Jesus has made himself our brother. (Heb. 2:11) "Help me to approach you with deepest reverence, not with presumption." Reverence is the proper response of the creature to the Creator. It’s being aware that God is like no other and that He is infinitely superior to his creation. A synonym might be “fear of the Lord.” Deepest reverence is the opposite of presumption, defined as “behavior or attitude that is boldly arrogant or offensive.” lists brashness, forwardness, and nerve as synonyms. Presumption is revealed when I think I can say whatever I want to God, when I assume He doesn’t really care about my sin, and when I relate to Him like a genie in the bottle, who should respond to my every wish. “Not with servile fear, but with holy boldness.” Servile fear refers to the attitude a servant might have towards a cruel, harsh, demanding master. It’s characterized by repulsion, anxiety, and unrelieved guilt. How different from the relationship our Savior has made possible through His once and for all sacrifice in our place! God now invites us to come to Him through the new and living way, opened up for us through the atoning death of His Son. (Heb. 10:19-22). There is no reason to hold back! We can approach God through Jesus Christ, “in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.” (Eph. 3:12) “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16) Feelings of doubt and condemnation, fears of rejection, and an awareness of guilt have all been dealt with authoritatively and finally at Calvary. “You are beyond the grasp of my understanding, but not beyond that of my love." God’s blazing holiness should instantly consume us, but His tender mercies persistently draw us. How do we resolve this paradox? By always looking to and trusting in the finished work of the Savior, whose substitutionary sacrifice both satisfied God’s perfect justice and displayed His lavish mercy. There will surely be times as we gather to worship God when we feel like we don’t know Him. But we must never let what we don’t understand about God keep us from loving Him for what we do know – "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son." And for that we will thank Him forever.

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