Craven or Bold?

One of the mysteries of our relationship to God and our relationship to the world is the inverse demeanor that exists between humbling and boldness. When God is great and man is small, the result is humility before God and boldness before men. But when man is great and God is small, the thing goes the other way—cravenness before men and impudence before God.

Now I am speaking, of course, of the smallness or greatness of God in our minds and hearts, and not about His objective majesty—which is entirely independent of our views on the matter. But when we believe God is great, we are humbled in His presence, and the Spirit grants great boldness before men. If God be for us, who can be against us? “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).

In the confess we are about to make, the language is striking—body trembling, lip quivering and rottenness in the bones. This is not something that results in us crawling on fours before arrogant men on lawless thrones. Just the reverse.

And when we refuse to confess our sins before the God of Heaven, we find ourselves have to beg forgiveness from our earthly masters for whatever arbitrary sins they might deem us to have committed. We are so far gone in our idolatries that these lords of the earth want us to feel bad if the weather misbehaves, and it is clearly our fault for not wanting to pay more taxes.

So remember it well. Glorify God, and you can be bold before men. Glorify man and you will be impudent before God.   

With this in mind, let us prepare our hearts for confession as we sing to Him now.