Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Heidelberg Devotions: Measuring the Infinite Glory of God

Measuring the Infinite Glory and Majesty of God

11. Q. But isn’t God also merciful?

A. God is certainly merciful, but he is also just. His justice demands that sin, committed against his supreme majesty, be punished with the supreme penalty---eternal punishment of body and soul.

Psalm 90:11

In our criminal justice system there is a simple rule: the greater the crime committed, the greater the punishment imposed. The worst crime in our criminal justice system is murder, which sometimes is punished by death. What makes murder so wrong? Man was created in the image of God. An attack against man is an attack against God, in whose image we were created. This makes the murder of a human being much more serious than killing a grasshopper or an ant, for example.

If it is a great crime to sin against man because he is in God’s image, then consider how great a crime it is to sin against God himself! But in a sense, all sin is directed against God. As David said about his sins of adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” (Ps. 51:4).

There is an order or hierarchy in God’s creation from the lowest amoeba to cats and dogs to human beings. Even among humans there are policemen, judges, and leaders who deserve special honor, and a crime against them calls for even harsher punishment. But God deserves total honor from human beings. God deserves an absolute reverence, fear, and love that reaches beyond the heavens!

The point is that human rebellion against God’s supreme majesty deserves the supreme penalty. If you can measure how valuable God’s name and glory are, then you can measure the punishment people deserve for their dishonor of God’s glory and name! My guess is that we can’t measure his infinite name and glory, therefore we cannot measure his punishment, which, amazingly, Jesus Christ took in our place!

Discussion: In Q&A 11, what two nouns does the adjective supreme modify? In Q&A 11, how long is the punishment of hell? Why is killing an ant a small thing, but murdering a human being a big thing? Why is sin against God worse than sin against a human being? Have you learned anything about how serious sin against God is?

Prayer Starter: In your prayer praise God for his supreme majesty. Ask him to help you understand and know the reverence you owe him. Confess areas of your life where you haven’t honored him as you should. Thank the Father for Jesus Christ who honored God in our humanity, and bore the punishment that we deserved on the cross.

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