Do you fear God? When I’ve asked an unbeliever this question, the answer today that usually comes back is ’no’. And then what is added to their answer is that they respect God, but do not fear him. And when I ask why don’t they fear God, they usually say something like: what is there to fear about God, isn’t he supposed to be loving and kind?
But sadly, there is also a growing number of Christians today who do not fear God – I hope you are not one of them. And so instead, they prefer to say that they respect him. Friends, I am not completely sure why this is the case – maybe it is because of wrong teaching in the church, or lopsided teaching all about how nice God is, or simply ears that do not want to hear certain things – but irrespective of the reason, one must fear God. I’ll repeat that: one must fear God!
If one was to sum up the whole human race, Romans 3:18 is a good (yet sad) statement of what people are really like: There is no fear of God before their eyes. This is a reference to Psalm 36:1-2, which says: There is no fear of God before their eyes. For in their own eyes they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin. These verses, in our context today living under the New Covenant, refer to what one is like before knowing Jesus.
Did you notice what happens when one does not fear God, or, what is a sure sign that one does not fear God? The answer: we don’t think we are sinful, or in other words, we think (flatter ourselves) that we’re nice people – we’re ok – everything is alright. And so, when an unbeliever does not fear God, an unbeliever will never see the need to have their sins forgiven, and therefore, they will never really see their desperate need for Jesus. Jesus, to them, is just a nice example of how to love people, or just the means perhaps of having a better life – something some churches sadly teach today.
Yes, not only should the fear of God keep a believer from sinning (Exodus 20:20 and Cf. Hebrews 12:26-27), but the fear of God should cause an unbeliever to see their sin.
And so for me, not only did I start to fear God back in 1988, and therefore came to see my sin and therefore my desperate need for Jesus, but I still fear God today, and should. And why? It keeps me from sinning, as I know he’ll whack me into line, because he disciplines his children (Proverbs 3:11-12 and Hebrews 12:6). And when God whacks you back into line, you know you’ve been whacked!
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