"With reverence and awe"
Ephesians 1:7 and Hebrews 10:28-29
A missionary in West Africa was trying to convey the meaning of the word redeem in the Bambara language. He asked his "local" assistant for some help.
We say the God "took our heads out."
Years ago, their ancestors had been captured by slave traders, chained together and driven to the
seacoast. Each prisoner had a heavy iron collar around his neck. As the slaves passed through the village, a chief might notice a friend among the captives and offer to pay the slave traders in gold, ivory, silver or brass. The slave would be redeemed by the payment and his head would be taken out of his iron collar. Ephesians 1:7, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." 1 Peter 1:17-21 & Hebrews 12:28-29
Without Christ's death we are held captive with a heavy iron collar of sin around our neck.
Whether we know it or not, we carry this huge weight with us everywhere we go. God sees, picks us out of the line-up and says, "I want that one." Redeem: "to buy out." For the African Chief, he came up with the most valuable possessions he could find to buy back his friend or relative. There is nothing we could use to buy our way out of sin. It is so important to know that we are saved by grace alone (Sola Gratia) and that our sins are continually forgiven because of grace.
The good news is that God knows that and provides a way out. Sin costs so much that only
Christ, the perfect sacrifice could pay for sins for all time. How can sins be forgiven past, present and future? Remember, with God there is no time. Christ' death is a timeless event. It covers all. "If you picture Time as a straight line along which we have to travel, then you must picture God as the whole page upon which that line is drawn." C. S. Lewis Redeem: "to release upon receipt of ransom."
We are released from the bondage of sin. The ransom of full amount was paid. Not only are we
redeemed from sin, we are also liberated from the guilt and doom of sin and set free to live a life ofvictory. In light of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ, we need to approach him with reverence and awe. "If we are not careful we slip into a flippant familiarity as we address God in prayer. None of the godly people in the bible ever adapted the casual manner we often do. We need to address God with reverence." Jerry Bridges
In Hebrews, the writer tell us that we can have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place (10:19)
and at the same time tells us that we should worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. (12:28-29) The balance is important. Hebrews 12:28-29 What is acceptable worship? A type of music? Certain songs? Prayer? Silence? Acceptable worship is with reverence and awe. That's all we need to be concerned about! Paul reminds us in Rom. 8:15 that the Holy Spirit dwelling within us causes us to cry "Abba Father."
He also reminds us that this same God is an "unapproachable light." 1 Tim. 6:16. It is our prayer that every Sunday at Coastlands we will recover a sense of awe and profound reverence for God. God is infinite majesty, the Creator, Sustainer and Supreme Ruler of all there is. Even though we've been created in the image of God, there remains a gap? To fear, love and respect God is to recognize this gap, initially as one first comes to Christ and daily as we confess sin. This is not about doom and gloom living, wallowing in sin. It's about sheer exaltation of God.
Conclusion: (vs. 29) For our God is a "consuming fire." Deuteronomy 4:24, "For the Lord you
God is a consuming fire, jealous God." The writer on Hebrews emphasizes that God is not to be
trifled with. This is God's character: holy majesty and righteous judgment of evil. God is equally consumed with love as he is righteous judgment. "The grace of God should never be promised to us without being accompanied by his righteous judgment. Since we are prone to indulge ourselves, without the application of these stimulants the milder doctrine would prove ineffectual. The Lord is propitious and merciful to those that fear him unto a thousand generations. He is a jealous God and a just avenger, when despised, unto the third and the fourth generations." John Calvin