This relationship we have with our God is an incredible thing. I've been pondering, off and on, these last months, one of the many tensions in our faith. In this case, reverence and intimacy.
We are commanded, as I've written previously, to come before God with reverence and awe. He is a consuming fire. Looking at various passages, both in the Old and New Testaments, we see how great a problem irreverence is. It is deadly. It destroys our walk with God; and it has terrible consequences - for it is a great and terrible sin.
And, at the same time, we read that we are to pray to the Almighty God by beginning, "Our Father..." We read in Romans that we call out to Him, "Abba, Father." Abba is Aramaic - and it means "Daddy." We come before the throne of God with confidence, because we have been ransomed to be not merely His servants, but His friends, His children. Incredible. We are the children of God - His sons and daughters.
So here we have a tension unique to Christianity, a glorious mix that is all but incomprehensible. The Almighty God, who we dare not approach with anything less than the greatest of reverence, the utmost humility: He is the same God who invites us to sit at His feet, to lay our head on His chest, to be intimate with Him.
Many religions have a God who is awesome and terrible (in the original sense of the word): fearsome and majestic. Others have a God who is intimate in personal.
Only in Christ Himself do we find God both so infinitely glorious that the only possible response is to fall at His feet as dead, and so incredibly personal and loving that it is He who bids us stand and draw near to Him. Christ is uniquely both King and friend. He alone is both righteous judge - fearsome and imperious - and kinsman redeemer - intimate and closely tied, saving from destruction.
Christ is the very manifestation of the glory of the Father. He is Lord and He is our friend. We mingle awe and reverence with deep intimacy. We dare not become comfortable, familiar in the presence of the Almighty - for He is good, but as Lewis wrote, He is not safe (as we think of it). Yet we must approach Him with confidence, with assurance of His abiding love, of His perfect fellowship with us.