06 January, 2009

True Worship Involves Confidence in God and Reverence For God

John Calvin understood that true religion was one which reverenced God, had confidence in His promises, and resulted in worship according to His Word.

We live in an age where many Christians will say that they have confidence in the promises of God. We live in an age where Christians find the concept of 'fear for God' as something foreign. We hear a lot about the love of God, which is good and biblical, but the Scriptures (even the New Testament Scriptures, mind you) show that we are to fear God because he is a consuming fire. His holiness next to our unholiness should leave us quite humbled. We also live in an age where the 'what does this text mean to you' method of biblical study is supreme. This is foreign to the Scriptures- God has said how we are to worship Him, and God has prescribed what pleases him.

As we care for and reverence God, we should also consider how the Word of God reveals what true piety is. What is true religion? Calvin answered it this way:

Such is pure and genuine religion, namely, confidence in God coupled with serious fear - fear, which both includes in it willing reverence, and brings along with it such legitimate worship as is prescribed by the law. And it ought to be more carefully considered that all men promiscuously do homage to God, but very few truly reverence him. On all hands there is abundance of ostentatious ceremonies, but sincerity of heart is rare.


Mrs. P said...

Interestingly God also answered that question, in a typically God-like way in James 1, specifically vs 27 and 26.

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

27Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Good luck with the move btw! Hope all goes well for you. Thinking especially of Lyd and the new Eshelbaby, and praying for safety for them both!

Nathan Eshelman. Living a life unto the glory of Jesus Christ. said...

I agree, and having read a good deal of Calvin, can say that he would agree as well.

This section, Book I of the Institutes, deals with the question, 'who is God and how can we know him'. This is the indicative.

The James quote, is an imperative, meaning that it is a command. Our imperatives flow out of indicatives. That is the 'if any man seems religious...' (he has believed the indicative) then he must do this (imperative).

Great thought Mrs. P. So many Reformed Christians seem to think that as long as they believe the right thing, they can act anyway that they want!


Mark said...

Can't help but think of Matthew 15:8 - "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me." Orthodoxy doesn't equal orthopraxy, though you certainly need the former for the latter.