This two-part series comes as a result of my reading of R.C Sproul’s book entitled, “Reason to Believe“; in particular, chapter four entitled, “Christianity is a Crutch for Weak People“. In this chapter Sproul comments on “Why are we afraid of God?”. There are five attributes of God that causes mankind to fear Him. Today we will look at these as to how they would negatively affect us in our daily living and then follow up in my next post with how these same attributes affect us positively. These are the attributes: Holiness, Omniscience (God is all knowing), Soveriegnty, Omnipotence (God is all powerful) and Immutability (God cannot change).
- God’s Holiness: there is always extreme dread displayed by sinful man when he encounters God in all of His holiness. Isaiah 6 recounts the prophet’s vision; the gospels relay the disciples’ fear at the calming of the sea by Jesus and there are many other accounts through-out Scripture that inform us that sinful man, when confronted with the pure holiness of God, must cower in fear of ultimate destruction. It seems today that we have lost that fear and have lost the knowledge of the holiness of God. A post over at the Purple Cellar informs of why we “stay stuck” in sin: and one reason is that we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re really “okay” in our sin. God’s holiness demands otherwise.
- God’s Omniscience: One of the greatest fears of man is that our most intimate, private thoughts and actions would be exposed to another. The idea that God knows everything strikes fear in all the hearts of men. There is no room in which we can retreat to, shut the door and thereby shut God out. He sees everything. It has been this way since The Fall of mankind. We are always retreating, hiding and covering ourselves in vain attempts to shield ourselves from the all-seeing eye of God.
- God’s Sovereignty: As Sovereign, God has given us His perfect Law. His law stands in opposition to our own self-interests. Because of this, we battle with feeble attempts to become god in our own lives. But as we realize truth, we realize that we cannot do our own thing any longer if God is sovereign. We realize that we will never be god if God is sovereign. In our attempt to assert ourselves as God all we realize is our guilt. And this guilt paralyzes us as we understand that we must one day give an account for our treasonous acts.
- God’s Omnipotence: Power. When it is abused it leads to control over others. God is absolutely powerful. When we see His power coupled with His holiness we must quake at our core. This thought is devastating to sinful man. An absolutely pure God who has absolute power over us should strike fear in all of our hearts.
- God’s Immutability: Why would this fact of God not changing cause us to fear Him? It causes fear because if He cannot change then all hope vanishes that He would somehow compromise on our behalf. There is no compromise of His holiness, His presence, His law & control or His power.
These five attributes of God should cause us to fear God! In our sin we stand condemned, exposed to His holiness; treasonous in His presence and knowledge; guilty against His law; quaking at His power and hopeless in His immutability. Can these attributes of God give us any comfort at all? While the unbeliver may find Him revolting, how can His children be comforted with this view of God? In part two we’ll examine the positive effects of these same five attributes of God.