A Right View Of God
By Richard Owen Roberts
A powerful relationship exists between what a person thinks of God, what they think of themselves, what they think of sin, and what they think of salvation.
Many tolerate a view of God which is vastly beneath the revelation which God makes of Himself in Holy Scriptures. God describes Himself in the Bible in such language as, "I am that I am" (Ex. 3:14); "I change not" (Mal. 3:6); "I am holy" (1 Pet. 1:16); "I fill heaven and earth" (Jer. 23:24); "I will do all My pleasure" (Isa. 46:10); "I know thy works" (Rev. 2:2); and "I will ease Me of Mine adversaries" (Isa. 1:24). He never portrays Himself as soft on sin or as loving perpetually unrepentant sinners. He does not favorably compare Himself with man but in a great variety of ways insists that our thoughts are not His thoughts and our ways are not His ways.
God does not indicate that He needs us but insists on our need of Him. He does not accommodate Himself to our lifestyle but demands that we conform our ways to His. Contrary to the thinking of many, God is not evolving into a softer, more cuddly Being, but is as full of righteous indignation now as when He flooded the earth, destroying the civilization of Noah’s day, and when He poured fire and brimstone from heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah. The meek and gentle Jesus is the very God who pronounced, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" and asked, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?" (Matt. 23:23-33). This very same Christ told the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida, "It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you" (Matt. 11:21-22); at the same time warning, "Thou Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee" (vv. 23-24).
Never forget, "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones" (Isa. 57:15).
A Right View of Self
Every person who maintains a view of God as high as is set forth in the Bible is forced into a correspondingly low view of self. No man can be great in his own eyes when his eyes are fixed on the high and lofty One whose name is holy, who alone is great. Conversely, a degraded view of God promotes an inordinately high view of self. The problem of human pride can never be efficiently dealt with – in fact, there is no motivation for humiliation – apart from an exalted view of God. Such phenomenally large numbers of human sins spring from pride that it is called "the breeder sin." Pride is also spoken of as "the barrier sin" in that it erects insurmountable walls between proud sinners and proud sinners, proud sinners and humble saints, and proud sinners and God Himself.
A Right View of Sin
A high view of self invariably leads to a distorted view of sin. The proud sinner demands the right to determine what is acceptable and what is unacceptable behavior for himself. His pride forbids him to bow to God’s definition of sin, and his arrogance enables him to disregard God’s threatenings and warnings. As must be expected, having no ability to yield to God in terms of determining what is right and wrong, he has no tolerance of written rules like those contained in the Ten Commandments, and no willingness to listen to another man – be he prophet, priest, or preacher – tell him what he must and must not do. In his pride, he disdains the dreadful consequences of sin as experienced in all past generations and sets his libertine course in almost complete disregard of all the truths wiser and better men of former centuries have proven valid. Because his doom is delayed while he is filling up the measure of his sins (1 Thes. 2:16) and because the wrath of God has not yet fallen upon him to the utmost, others are attracted to his pernicious ways and imitate his transgressions and iniquities. Since pride prevails both in the world and in the church, new definitions of sin are issued and degradation marches like an army of locusts across the land.
A Right View of Salvation
A distorted view of sin naturally leads to a corrupted view of salvation. If, by human definition, sin is of minor consequence, then the need of a God-sized salvation is eliminated. If sin is an insignificant issue, then a small measure of salvation is thought to be sufficient. Tragically, the evidence is overwhelming that for multitudes of professed Christians, their salvation is nothing more than "a little dab."
When our view of God is right, our view of self will be so low that we will know ourselves to be nothing whatsoever before Him. This sense of nothingness, instead of leading to despair, will drive us to long for Him with all our hearts. This great sense of our distance from the Father who made us for Himself will create within us yearnings for His nearness that can be satisfied with nothing less than a true experience of His grace. When the hunger and thirsting for God is overwhelmingly powerful, no price is too great to find His favor and to draw near to Him. In these circumstances, we will not dare to measure sin by our own standards or those of the wicked about us. Sin will be utterly abhorrent to us, and we will long for deliverance from it much more greatly than a crippled child longs for a new body. No man with a passion for God will content himself with lazy religion or find tolerance in his heart for any plan of salvation which is less than or different from God Almighty’s.
Thus, the highest priority of the day must be that of a full return to the God of the entire Bible.