Christians must approach God with reverence and awe, Akin tells SBTS students

Communications Staff — March 20, 2007

Contemporary terms like “buddy” and “pal” used to refer to Jesus do not show appropriate reverence to the One whom Scripture describes as the King of glory, Danny Akin said at a chapel service March 8 at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Preaching from Psalm 24, Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the passage teaches that God is holy and sovereign and should not be approached lightly. Akin is president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. He served as dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary from 1996-2003.

“We need to be reminded in our culture today, and even in our churches today, that God is not some cosmic cheerleader committed to your happiness and self-fulfillment,” he said. “God is not your buddy. Jesus is not your homeboy. To call Him your homeboy is disrespectful and rude and indicates that you have not yet comprehended the greatness and the glory of this One who died for you.”

Akin said Psalm 24 is the third in a series of Psalms that revolve around the Messiah King, Jesus Christ. Psalm 22 defines Jesus as the suffering King, Psalm 23 reveals Him as the shepherd King and Psalm 24 teaches that Jesus is the sovereign King, he said.

Over what is Jesus sovereign? All things, Akin said.

“Anything and everything belongs to the Lord. All people and every single thing is His,” he said. “He stamps everything with the word, ‘mine.’ And everything is rightly His because He made everything out of nothing by His own sovereign will.”

As Creator, God defines the terms by which people may enter, and remain, in His presence, Akin said. This passage reveals four qualities that must characterize people who would ascend God’s holy hill, Akin said.

“Number one, he must have clean hands. He must be free from guilt,” he said.

“Second, he must have a pure heart, he must be blameless, free even from impure motives, thoughts and emotions. Third, he must not lift up his soul to an idol, meaning he must not worship an idol. Fourth, he must not swear by what is false, that is, there must be no deception or false motives in his heart. He must know nothing of dishonesty or deceit.”

Akin noted that only Jesus Christ perfectly meets these requirements, thus only Jesus is worthy to enter God’s presence. However, through Jesus’ atonement and sacrifice on the cross, all who believe in Christ receive His righteousness and also may enter God’s presence, he pointed out.

Akin said the students of a seminary community should reflect the work of Christ through personal holiness. Lying, cheating and plagiarizing are sins that should never be a problem on seminary campuses and yet they often are, Akin noted. Seminarians are also susceptible to ingratitude and arrogance, two temptations that must be avoided, Akin said, because they demonstrate neither clean hands nor a pure heart.

Finally, Akin said Psalm 24 speaks of the ascension of Christ into heaven. While some commentators suggest the passage refers to the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, Akin said he thinks the passage ultimately teaches about the entrance of Jesus, the victorious Messiah King, into heaven.

“This King of glory is a powerful and strong God. This King is a warrior who is strong and not weak,” he said. “This king is the Lord of hosts, the Lord of armies. This King is prepared to make His entrance back into heaven because He has fought the holy war on Calvary’s holy hill. There our holy King engaged the forces of evil, conquering death by death and by His glorious resurrection.”

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