By: Michael Kaplan, author of "7 Pillars of an Unshakable Christian Faith"
As modern Christianity has moved away from its biblical roots – softening its message for broader appeal, and diluting God’s Word to appease church members – the respect afforded to the Creator has diminished proportionally. Despite proclaimed reverence for God the Father, the actions and attitudes displayed by much of believers suggest they have a much different view of God than the image of Him portrayed in the Bible.
Sermons preached from pulpits across America resonate with the message of God’s love, mercy, and grace for mankind – an unquestionable, absolute truth – but neglect the attributes that cause us to fear and revere Him.
Contemporary art and culture portrays Jesus as meek and emaciated, with effeminate features, and a passion for hugging cuddly sheep. Christians that profess faith in Christ as Lord and Savior have a disturbing tendency to view Him as a genie in a bottle, and fashioned in an image suitable to the individual needs of the believer.
A comparison between Scripture and the views held by believers regarding Christ reveals a startling fact: God takes Himself much more seriously than many Christians take Him.
That proves to be problematic for several reasons. In the following pages, it will be clear that God’s active role in the Christian’s life, as it is throughout all of Scripture, is conditional and fluid. Nothing happens apart from God. Purposeful prayer appeals to God’s Will to act, and prayer with the power to inspire God rests on a foundation of unshakable faith.
That level of faith – which manifests supernatural and miraculous intervention – can only be achieved through fear and reverence of the King of kings, Lord of lords, and Creator of everything: Almighty and Holy God.
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who
abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit,
for apart from Me you can do nothing.
~ John 15:5 ~
Christians sleep well at night in the knowledge that God, who loved us so much He gave His only begotten Son to pay the debt for our sin, is listening to our prayers. Proverbs 9:10 tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” In prayer, we have God’s attention; take that seriously. Our God that forgives sin, gives Salvation, defeats Satan and creates everything is a God to be feared, and always respected.
1. God dwells in unapproachable light. Walking into a nuclear blast would instantly disintegrate a human body; the light, heat, wind, and power is unimaginable. Imagine the same experience in God’s presence, but infinitely more powerful. A Christian’s glorified body will reign with Christ in this Light. Being in the presence of God is no less serious to Him than the gift of Salvation is to you.
He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings
and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in
unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see,
to whom be honor and everlasting power.
~ 1 Timothy 6:15-16 ~
2. God’s presence overwhelms the human mind. Coming in the presence of a spiritual being, such as an angel, is a terrifying experience that overwhelms the finite human mind. When studying the Bible, one discovers many instances in which an angel encounters man, and the angel’s first words are the same: “Don’t be afraid!” How much more so the experience would be when it’s God the Father.
His head and His hair were white like white wool,
like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire.
His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been
made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the
sound of many waters. In His right hand He held
seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp
two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun
shining in its strength. When I saw Him,
I fell at His feet like a dead man.
~ Revelation 1:14-17 ~
3. The angels that terrify Man tremble before God. When angels come into the presence of God’s Light, it so overwhelms them they must cover their body and face with their wings, turn their head away and proclaim, “Holy! Holy! Holy!” in fear and reverence. The fact that Christians will talk about “Guardian Angels” with honor and reverence, while at the same time taking the Lord’s name in vain, is inexcusable.
I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high
and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled
the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each
one had six wings: with two he covered his face,
with two he covered his feet, and with
two he flew. And one cried to another and
said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
~ Isaiah 6:1-3 ~
4. God’s power extends throughout Heaven. When Christ revealed Himself to John in the Book of Revelation, there was much activity in Heaven. One can sense the energy in the text: everything was pulsating with the power of God. Even the spot where God sits – the White Throne of Judgment – emits lightening, thunder, and a host of heavenly voices. In front of the throne are seven lamps burning with pillars of flame. The unimaginable power of our omniscient God extends everywhere.
And from the throne proceeded lightnings,
thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of
fire were burning before the throne,
which are the seven Spirits of God.
~ Revelation 4:5 ~
5. God’s presence demands that you think before you speak. In ancient times, a King’s son had access to the royal court and could speak freely with his father. Even so, hasty speech – such as insubordination, inappropriate demands, insults, and rebellious remarks – met with severe consequences. A son could face banishment from the kingdom, or face execution. In God’s Kingdom, the first (banishment) results at once in the second (eternal death). Choose your words wisely in the presence of your Creator.
Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought
to bring up a matter in the presence of God.
For God is in heaven and you are on the
earth; therefore let your words be few.
~ Ecclesiastes 5:2 ~
6. God demands full payment for promises. When Man violates worldly vows, God’s redemptive plan allows Christ to intercede on Man’s behalf to God the Father. When Man violates vows to God the Father and Christ, who can stand in defense? God takes promises seriously – He never goes back on His Word – and He demands we honor promises made to Him. When Christians foolishly say, “God, I promise I’ll do __ if You do __,” then don’t keep their word once the trouble passes, rest assured He doesn’t take that lightly. The trouble that prompts the impulse to make a hollow promise to God is temporary. The penalty for making an empty promise to God lasts infinitely longer.
When you make a vow to God, do not be late
in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools.
Pay what you vow! It is better that you should
not vow than that you should vow and not pay.
~ Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 ~
7. God makes the choice between Heaven and Hell. In the Roman Empire, an accused person facing judgment would stand in the Colosseum, surrounded by thousands of spectators waiting for Caesar to rule on their fate. If the Emperor gave a “thumbs up,” the accused would live. If the Emperor gave a “thumbs down,” the accused would be put to death. In both cases, the verdict and sentence would be swift and carried out at once. The accused had no power or control over their fate, and were at the mercy of Caesar. If that scenario sounds unnerving, consider standing before a Holy God in front of the White Throne of Judgment. Unlike Caesar, God the Father is just, merciful, and loving. Unlike Caesar’s court, accused are provided representation – Christ Jesus – to act as an intercessor with God the Father. Despite that assurance, be mindful of these truths. First, the verdict and sentence will be swift, and carried out at once. Second, you have no power or control over your fate. Only a fear and respect for God the Father, and a profession of faith in His Son, Christ Jesus, offer any hope on the Day of Judgment.
Do not fear those who kill the body but are
unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him
who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
~ Matthew 10:28 ~
Understanding the true nature of God doesn’t change His relationship with us; His love, promises and gift of Salvation continues to be eternal and unchanging. However, it should change the relationship we have with Him.
In our worldly environment, the way we perceive those around us dictates the way we interact with them. If one wants to stay employed, it’s wise not to curse at the CEO of the company. If one wants to stay married, it’s wise not to lie to the spouse. If one wants to make friends, it’s wise not to be insulting when first introduced to people.
If one wants a good relationship with the Creator, and keep communion with Him through purposeful prayer, it’s wise to approach and treat Him in a manner worthy of His title: GOD. I pray that the Holy Spirit guides you in your studies, and brings you to a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Have a blessed day.