We are continuing the series of posting on the confession of faith found in the Cape Town Commitment. The 2nd point focuses on loving God. In a world with many rivals an undivided love for God is easier said than done. Moreover, expressing that love to others in a way that is bold, loving, and engaging is also not a very easy thing in world that prizes “tolerance” and “inclusiveness” above all else. And yet, it is to both of these that we as Christ-followers…are called.
2. We love the living God
Our God whom we love reveals himself in the Bible as the one, eternal, living God who governs all things according to his sovereign will and for his saving purpose. In the unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God alone is the Creator, Ruler, Judge and Savior of the world. So we love God – thanking him for our place in creation, submitting to his sovereign providence, trusting in his justice, and praising him for the salvation he has accomplished for us.
A) We love God above all rivals. We are commanded to love and worship the living God alone. But like Old Testament Israel we allow our love for God to be adulterated by going after the gods of this world, the gods of the people around us. We fall into syncretism, enticed by many idols such as greed, power and success, serving mammon rather than God. We accept dominant political and economic ideologies without biblical critique. We are tempted to compromise our belief in the uniqueness of Christ under the pressure of religious pluralism. Like Israel we need to hear the call of the prophets and of Jesus himself to repent, to forsake all such rivals, and to return to obedient love and worship of God alone.
B) We love God with passion for his glory. The greatest motivation for our mission is the same as that which drives the mission of God himself – that the one true living God should be known and glorified throughout his whole creation. That is God’s ultimate goal and should be our greatest joy.
‘If God desires every knee to bow to Jesus and every tongue to confess him, so should we. We should be "jealous" (as Scripture sometimes puts it) for the honor of his name — troubled when it remains unknown, hurt when it is ignored, indignant when it is blasphemed, and all the time anxious and determined that it shall be given the honor and glory which are due to it. The highest of all missionary motives is neither obedience to the Great Commission (important as that is), nor love for sinners who are alienated and perishing (strong as that incentive is, especially when we contemplate the wrath of God) but rather zeal — burning and passionate zeal — for the glory of Jesus Christ. … Before this supreme goal of the Christian mission, all unworthy motives wither and die.’ John Stott
It should be our greatest grief that in our world the living God is not glorified. The living God is denied in aggressive atheism. The one true God is replaced or distorted in the practice of world religions. Our Lord Jesus Christ is abused and misrepresented in some popular cultures. And the face of the God of biblical revelation is obscured by Christian nominalism, syncretism and hypocrisy.
Loving God in the midst of a world that rejects or distorts him, calls for bold but humble witness to our God; robust but gracious defense of the truth of the gospel of Christ, God’s Son; and prayerful trust in the convicting and convincing work of his Holy Spirit. We commit ourselves to such witness, for if we claim to love God we must share God’s greatest priority, which is that his name and his Word should be exalted above all things.