14 January 2022

What is perhaps the most obvious implication is to grow to be like Him. Communion with Him would invariably mean being conformed to His image and character (2 Corin. 3:18). Holiness is one major aspect that will follow and is expected in those who know their God (1 Peter 1:14-16).
God as creator has a right to prescribe how His creatures should behave. In our character and conduct, our desires, our decisions, and our delight, He desires us to be holy. We are to invest all our powers in living a life of grateful worship and loyal service – a life of faithfulness, uprightness, integrity and love toward both Himself and our fellow humans. In other words, total righteousness is called for, expressing total devotion and commitment. Nothing less will do.The purity of God’s own character and His judgements of values are fixed and immutable. God cannot be other than Himself -He is against the lawless, the sinners, those who are impure and hostile to His righteous rule and majesty. Sinning against God deliberately and being indifferent to His values and judgement is no small matter.

The parable of the Good Samaritan reminds us that religious positions without godliness and practical love do not impress God at all; the priest and the Levite were rushing along to fulfil their religious duties without pausing to care and to love those in need – ‘serving God’ and being involved in religious activities count for nothing in the eyes of God unless they flow forth from loving Him and His desires. That explains the frightening statements by our Lord Jesus when He told those who claimed to serve Him and work on His behalf that He does not know them at all. Loving God would invariably mean loving our neighbour, particularly those who are our brethren in the Lord. We love because He first loved us.

Isaiah 66:1-2 reminds us that God value those who are humble and contrite in spirit and those who fear Him and obey Him. Jesus is our supreme example when He left the glory of heaven to become a man and to die as a criminal on the cross for our sins, and to drink the cup of wrath on our behalf. More specifically, He told His disciples to follow Him in His example as He took the part of the servant to wash the feet of His disciples. Humility, servanthood, compassion, meekness -these are the characteristics of true servants who seek only the glory and honour of God, rather than their own. Those who seek to build their own kingdoms and their own profile in ministry, even ministries which appear spiritual, are set to face the displeasure of the Triune God. Knowing God and loving God are always in the context of community and the church; God has no place for inflated individualistic persons who claim to be someone ‘great’ in Christian ministry.

Ultimately, it is God’s evaluation and judgement that matter, not man’s idea of greatness. It is before God that we would stand in judgement. When people know God, as one godly man said, losses and crosses cease to matter to them. Because we have known God and loved Him, the pleasantness we have not had, or the unpleasantness we have had,through being Christians does not matter to us. What matters is whether God is pleased and that He approves of us.