Have we lost our awe?

I was recently reading through the book of Colossians (a book saturated with the gospel in nearly every verse) and was struck with absolute amazement regarding this passage:

[15] He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. [16] For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. [17] And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. [19] For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, [20] and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

The way in which these two paragraphs are related is what brings me a sense of awe.

[21] And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, [22] he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, [23] if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Colossians 1:15-23 ESV)

This may be one of the most beautiful Christological passages in all of Scripture. In verses 15-20 Paul is singing the praise of Jesus; the image of God, first born of all creation, creator of the entire universe, preeminent over everything, all the fullness of God dwells in him and through the cross he will redeem the world that he created. Breathtaking…

Then Paul makes a transition in verse 21, “And you…” The connection that Paul makes is that Jesus, powerful beyond description, has come to earth, died on a cross so that he can make us “holy and blameless and above reproach…”

Jesus (preeminent Creator) has done this for me. For you. How does that make you feel? The way we answer that question may reveal, more than we know, the condition of our spiritual life.

I am glad to say that as I was reading this passage I was momentarily caught up with a sense of awe about Jesus coming to die for a sinner like me. Paul’s writing in Colossians made me think of something Paul Tripp wrote in his book “Dangerous Calling.”

“Awe of God must dominate my ministry, because of the of the central missional gifts of the gospel of Jesus Christ is to give people back their awe of God. A human being who is not living in a functional awe of God is profoundly disadvantaged human being. He is off the rails, trying to propel the train of his life in a meadow, and he may not even know it. The spiritual danger here is that when awe of God is absent, it is quickly replaced by our awe of ourselves. If you are not living for God, the only alternative is to live for yourself. So a central ministry of the church must be to do anything it can to be used of God to turn people back to the one thing for which they were created: to live in a sturdy, joyful, faithful awe of God.”

Allow me to be transparent for a moment, I find it to be incredibly challenging to live in this world with a deep sense of awe for God. There are things all around me that clamor for my affections, worship and awe. I do believe this is why it is so important for Christians to daily immerse their hearts and minds in the truth and power of the gospel. When we daily reflect on the gospel we are empowered to say no to idolatry and to live a life that truly reflects the immense value and worth of Jesus Christ.

“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” -Albert Einstein

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