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Wait till your Father gets home!

Posted by appolus on June 8, 2011

If a man has a relationship with the law, if his behavior is modified by the law, then that man cannot have a relationship with Jesus. Why not? Because that man would be an adulterer. You see, after the New Covenant was put into place, we now have a relationship with the law-giver. The giver of the Law gives us a new heart and resides in it. The new man is dead to the Law and alive to the law-giver. His behavior is now modified by Jesus Himself from within and it changes his character and nature. The law that he once tried to follow out of an abstract fear of an abstract God, has been replaced with a living relationship with the God that he encountered. The man’s behavior is now modified out of love for his Lord and a desire to see his Lord gloried in all the earth. He fears not being able to draw close to the Lord; he knows that sin “separates,” him from the presence of God. No –where is this more plainly seen than in Psalm 51. “Hide thy face from my sins and blot out all of my iniquities.” “Create in me a clean heart oh God and renew a right Spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of my salvation and uphold me with thy free Spirit.”

 

When I was a young child growing up in Scotland, more often than naught, the discipline of the children fell to the mothers. Fathers would typically be working long hours in the shipyards and often went to the bar aftwerwards, so they were never around much. This was the way it was in my house. My mother was the one who administered discipline, and it usually consisted of a slap on the back-side, or on the bare legs or sometimes just a flurry of slaps to the head when I had pushed her over the edge. I always deserved it and it was never much on my mind. Yet, every now and then I would mess up bad and I would hear these dreaded words “ You just wait until your Father gets home boy.”

Now, that last sentence would strike fear into my heart. I heard it several times growing up. There was the agony of knowing that it would be my Father who was dealing with me and was not as “ soft,” as my mother. Also, there was the agony of the wait. In my own little mind it would be like being on death row . The minutes would drag by. There was no commuting this sentence. It was not used much, but when it was used, there would be no appeal.

Now, the reason that this threat carried so much weight was , and this seems obvious, I knew my Father. I had a relationship with him, I had many encounters with him. I knew for a fact that he was coming through the door at some point. My Father was real, I had a real relationship with him and I respected him. On a night following the words “ You just wait until your Father gets home boy,” there would be no wrestling with my Father when he came home from work or the pub. There would be no change given to me from his pockets to go and buy some candy. No, there would be a reckoning. I knew it, just a sure as night follows day.

 
Now I say all that just too simply illustrate the relationship. If, for instance, my mother was a single parent, then the phrase “ Wait until your Father gets home,” would be meaningless. Someone without a Father could mess up bad and never have to worry about that phrase or having to deal with a Father. The words would carry no weight and there would be no fear involved. We hear a lot about the fear of God nowadays and how it is lacking in the “ church.” Now there is no doubt what-so-ever that there is little if any fear in the “ church,” today. One could say the church has lost its fear of God. Yet if one were to say that, then that would imply that there was a fear of God before, now it is lost, and it has to be regained. And perhaps that is the case for a portion.

Now, I do now want anyone to be confused by my anology, it was simply stated to re inforce the notion of relationship. I have never feared my heavenly Father in the way that I feared my earthly Father. Many times I came before the Lord and wanted and expected to suffer at His hands for the way I had acted. Yet, I can honestly say that my Father is a gentle and patient God. I have undoubtedly been scourged by the lack of His presence in my life at times. In fact my fear of my Father is based on my love and respect for Him. I have also been scourged by the consequences of actions taken without His advice, He has allowed it, and that scourging , when understood and yielded too, has shaped me.
The fear of God is something that flows out of “ knowing ,” God. If a man or a woman who carries the name of God, yet does not fear Him, there should be no surprise that they do not fear that which they do not know or have never encountered. It would not make any sense to expect a person to fear the Father that they have never encountered. So, if we want to see the fear of God in Christendom, then Christendom must encounter the Living God. Remember the children of Israel at the mountain after they had been delivered from Egypt. For three day they prepared to meet the living God. It was not the preparation that that made them tremble, it was the encounter itself. In fact they cried out, they thought they were going to die as the mountain trembled, as the thunder cracked, as the lightening fractured the sky above. The heavenly trumpets blew and every sense of the Israelites were “ assaulted,” by the presence of the living God. This was something to fear. Much as the prophet feared and considered himself undone in the presence of God, yet was able to lift up his eyes and say “ My eyes have seen the King.” This was truly an encounter.Now neither Isaiah nor the Israelites cried out because someone gave a sermon, or they were afraid of some philosophy or theology, no , they cried out at the presence of the Living God.

It’s interesting that in revivals of the past, especially the great awakening , we look back and see that Jonathon Edwards read out a sermon called “Sinners in the hands of an angry God.” He simply read it out verbatim , no theatrics, no special skills, he simply read it out. And we see that great fear fell upon the people as they considered what it meant to fall into the hands of the Almighty. And so we look back and think “ oh what a mighty sermon,” “this is what we need today,” “this is what is lacking.” And yet, can I tell you, that this sermon had been read out at least six times previously.

Now I am sure that people were affected each time it was read out but not like the time that is recorded. Where we see men panicked and fearful and crying out to God and falling down as dead and trembling in their fear. What was the difference? Can I suggest to you that the difference was that the presence of God fell upon that assembly.Now why that time and not the others? That would be akin to knowing which way the wind will blow next. God knows. Yet the undeniable fact is that the very foundations of a healthy fear of God lies in relationship. One must “ know ,” the Father in order to fear the Father.

Now there are many men who can produce fear in a gathering of peoples. A witch-doctor can create fear in whole villages and regions. Priests can create fear in towns and cities around the world. Pharisees have been promoting fear for endless centuries. Yet what fear is this? The kind of fear that modifies outward behavior but does nothing to change the heart? Now let me give you a small example of fear that comes from the outside , modifies behavior to a certain degree but does nothing to change the heart. If a person speeds, drives faster that the posted speed limit, breaks the law, he undoubtedly fears he will get a ticket. Many times the threat of getting a ticket will make people slow down, not always. The man that slows down because he fears getting a ticket, has a relationship with the law. He is afraid of the consequences therefore he modifies his behavior.

If a man has a relationship with the law, if his behavior is modified by the law, then that man cannot have a relationship with Jesus. Why not? Because that man would be an adulterer. You see, after the New Covenant was put into place, we now have a relationship with the law-giver. The giver of the Law gives us a new heart and resides in it. The new man is dead to the Law and alive to the law-giver. His behavior is now modified by Jesus Himself from within and it changes his character and nature. The law that he once tried to follow out of an abstract fear of an abstract God, has been replaced with a living relationship with the God that he encountered. The man’s behavior is now modified out of love for his Lord and a desire to see his Lord gloried in all the earth. He fears not being able to draw close to the Lord; he knows that sin “separates,” him from the presence of God. No –where is this more plainly seen than in Psalm 51. “Hide thy face from my sins and blot out all of my iniquities.” “Create in me a clean heart oh God and renew a right Spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of my salvation and uphold me with thy free Spirit.”

And so when Mr. Edwards recited his words, the words penetrated hard hearts by the power of the presence of God, a God that they were now “aware,” of. This awareness of God is the same awareness that Duncan Campbell speaks of in the Hebridean revival where people were so aware of His presence that they cried out “Is there mercy for me, is there mercy for me?. And at Pentecost we see the same reaction to Peters words spoken in conjunction with the presence of God, for men were “stabbed in the heart,’ thoroughly penetrated and they cried out “ What must we do to be saved.” If we want to see men fear God, if we want to see revival, we must cry out to God that His Spirit would come down. We must repent of all of our works that are done without His presence, without His Spirit. We must repent of the fact that we have went on in Christendom with business as usual despite the fact that we have not seen His presence in our midst.

It’s very telling that the Pharisees and the Israelites carried on their rituals for hundreds of years without the Ark of the Covenant. When Jesus died on the cross and the veil was ripped in tow, it exposed the fact that the Holy of Holy’s was nothing more than an empty room. And yet for hundreds of years the priests had went about their business with no ark of the covenant. We look for God in certain places that we expect to find him, and yet here He was, outside the city, tortured by the world and rejected by His own.

Psalm 114:2 “Judah was His sanctuary and Israel His dominion. “ God lives within the heart of His people. His people are the temple of God. Psalm 114:7 “Tremble thou earth at the presence of the God of Jacob.” You see brothers and sisters; it’s at the presence of God that men tremble. Whether men of God or men of the world, they tremble at the presence of God.

The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. (2Sa 23:3)

And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. (2Sa 23:4)

Are you like the light of the morning? Do you fear God in such a fashion that makes you like the sun rising in the morning to the world? Does God inhabit you like He wanted to inhabit Judah? Do you walk in the presence of God, the awareness of God? The men and the women of God who walk in this awareness are the light of the world.

David gave us these instructions lying on his deathbed. Yet he also says this, a sentence that must have broken his heart “Although my house be not so with God.” (2 Sam 23:5) How tragic. His house did not walk in the fear of God. They walked outside of relationship with God. And so it is with Christendom. And yet we have a wonderful covenant with our God….

Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow. (2Sa 23:5)

 

5 Responses to “Wait till your Father gets home!”

  1. Rachel said

    This is an excellent post … you covered very well a topic that is greatly misunderstood. When I started to truly draw near to God in truth and spirit in His Word seeking Him as He is, then a fear of Him developed in my life – something I lacked before in all my days of churchgoing. The fear of God is often passed over as reverance … in this dismissal of the fulllness of a fear of God as you described, people lose yet one more sign that they aren’t rightly related to God. The fear of God is a tremendous gift. It is the beginning of wisdom. It is a sign to your own heart that you are His.

    Rachel

    • appolus said

      Rachel writes…..

      “The fear of God is a tremendous gift. It is the beginning of wisdom. It is a sign to your own heart that you are His.”

      Amen sister. To be His is all the world. He is our ” exceeding great reward.” Its interesting that He says that to Abraham in Gen 15, after Abraham has just been enriched greatly by material things. The riches of a King are nothing in comparison to the riches of His presence. And more interesting again He says to Abraham ” Fear not.’ And so we see that the Love of God is poured out on His children and they need not fear Him as men of this world would fear a tyrant. We, as chidren of the living God, love and honor and respect our Father, we fear His dissapointment, we ever live to please Him who has ruined us for all of this life by His presence. We could have all the riches of this world and they would mean nothing in compasrison to the great ” I am,” who is our exceeding great reward………..brother Frank

  2. What a perfect analogy you have presented here! One cannot experience the fear of God without the relationship and knowledge of Him. You have presented so many points that have been glossed over (or totally omitted) by modern christendom and these things must be brought to light. To be satisfied with “christianity” without the presence of God is to accept a false religion – a religion based on traditions which Peter calls “aimless conduct” in 1Peter 1:18. A yearning for the presence of God and the unsatisfaction of anything less exposes a heart open to the promptings and life of the Holy Spirit.

    Thank you for a post which points to the root of it all – relationship. As Rachel says “The fear of God is a gift, the beginning of wisdom and a sign to our own heart that we are His” – well put! May we all desire nothing less.

    Bless you and may the Lord continue to bless your writing as you share the truths He reveals to you.

    • appolus said

      Fivepeasinapod writes……..

      “To be satisfied with “christianity” without the presence of God is to accept a false religion – a religion based on traditions which Peter calls “aimless conduct” in 1Peter 1:18.”

      Amen! Once a man or a woman has tasted the living waters that flow from the throne of His presence, all other waters are foul tasting………… brother Frank

  3. W.E. Smith said

    Thank you my brother, for his is something I have struggled with all of my life. I had no father coming home actually, and my brothers and I became somewhat fearless in many respects. I treated this subject a while back and if I may, I would like to share it with your readers.

    Do We Modern Christians Fear the Lord?

    It is easy, is it not, to affirm our love for our Precious Lord and God. But can we go so far as to say that we actually fear Him, and that we tremble at His Word? Put another way – does not keeping His every word and instruction fill us with a sense of dread and foreboding? And does it at all bother us in the Spirit that we dishonor Him so? What has happened to the fear of God among us dear brethren? Have we listened to the lie that says the fear of the Lord is of the old, yet love is of the new? As the Spirit permits, let us look into this a little closer by the light of His Word.

    It is sad, perhaps even tragic, to observe the Church of the present hour, wantonly departing from the sacred truths of Scripture; so ready to embrace the foolishness of the world in the name of Christ. It is doubly sad to watch the redeemed Body of Christ being deluded by methods and philosophies that can never produce the fruit of holiness and faithfulness in the lives of God’s people. Yet, despite this, the self-esteeming church, the psycho-analyzing church, the healing, miracle-seeking church is running headlong after diverse and unsanctified opinions regarding the subject of motivation. “Love, and love alone, must motivate us to follow Christ.” is the message of the day heard from many a pulpit and seminar tape. “Fear is from the devil and is the opposite of faith; nothing done from the motivation of fear is emotionally healthy”, goes the modern message on this subject. Sadly, many are listening with their ears wide open and their Bibles closed.

    By emphasizing love (or other psycho-social forces such as friendship, for example) as the singular motivating influence on our obedient response to the Lord, while at the same time effectively ignoring what the Bible calls the “Fear of God”, the modern church has done a great disservice to new disciples and the Word of God. Clearly, the Bible teaches that we are to obey God out of love for Him and a desire to be formed in His likeness. But it also teaches that we are to approach God from the perspective of created beings in the presence of the Awesome and Terrible One who holds our very existence between His fingers.

    To fear God, and Him alone…this is the plain and consistent imperative of both the Old and the New Testaments. What the patriarchs, prophets and apostles all had in common was this, that they feared the Lord. All wisdom, knowledge and edifying counsel has its source and beginning in the one kind of fear that is sanctioned and promoted in the Scriptures. It is not a negative, irrational and debilitating fear, as all others are, but rather a positive and empowering fear that impacts the heart, mind and the spirit in man. It is the only reasonable and honest response of the creature in the presence of the Creator. It implies, by necessity, a posture of deference and servitude to a higher and perfect being.

    Consider the clear and emphatic words of the Savior, when He said,

    And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

    And the Apostle Peter,

    Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. (1 Peter 2:17)

    Consider the fruits of walking in the fear of the Lord, as described in Acts 9…

    Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied. (Acts 9:31)

    Oh little ones, to walk in the fear of the Lord does not result in psychological ill-health, but peace, edification and fruitfulness. To act from a healthy and informed fear of God is to operate from a genuinely positive and God-ordained motivation. Yet the modern preacher turned therapist, having chosen to borrow from humanist psychology rather than the Bible, has banished all fear as unhealthy, negative, immobilizing, and threatening to one’s self-image. Better to convince the believer that he is loved, and loved unconditionally, that he is a friend to Jesus, and that God accepts Him for what he is. Our Lord does indeed accept the newborn babe for what he is when born, but then He fully expects (and empowers us) to walk in His ways (actually in His Life to be more precise), to please the Holy Father and to present a true and righteous testimony of the Master and His Kingdom in this world. I dare say by His abiding grace this is impossible apart from the fear of the Lord abiding within the child of God.

    The Fear of God Defined

    [Note: The Greek root for fear in the scripture passages above is phobo, (from which we get out English word, phobia) and means: a) to fear, be afraid of; b) reverence; c) to be struck with fear, to be seized with alarm; d) to fear to do something for fear of harm; e) venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience; f) terror, dread.]

    When the Bible speaks of the fear of God (or the fear of the Lord) it truly means fear; a genuine fear, not simply “respect” as some commentators have wrongly emphasized. Fear certainly embodies the notion of respect, but it goes much deeper. Webster’s Dictionary hits it right on the head in defining fear as “profound reverence and awe, esp. toward God” and “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger”.

    Does this not effectively describe the responses of most human beings in the Bible as they came into the awesome presence of the Most High?

    Consider Job’s posture after being questioned by Jehovah…

    Then Job answered the Lord and said: Behold I am vile; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand over my mouth. Once I have spoken I but will not answer; Yes twice but I will proceed no further. (Job 40:3-5)

    Therefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:6)

    And Isaiah, who lost himself in beholding the Lord…

    Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of people of unclean lips. For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of Hosts. (Isaiah 6:5)

    And the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration…

    While he was still speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” And when the disciples heard it they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. (Matthew 17:5-6)

    The Lord Himself asks…

    “Do you not fear me?”, says the Lord. “Will you not tremble at My presence, who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, By a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it?” (Jeremiah 5:22)

    The compelling message of the Bible is that true peace can only result when we fear God and nothing else. How is this possible? If we fear the Lord, we have nothing to fear from the created realm, over which he alone is sovereign. The understanding and God-fearing Christian appreciates that all there is to fear, be it death, loss, pain, etc, abide under the sovereign control of the Lord of Hosts. A true feeling of security, then, comes from a healthy, inspired fear of God that inevitably produces obedience, respect, trust, reverence and deference. Only God can satisfy the real need of the human heart for purification and holiness. The God-fearing man never fails to remember this.

    Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. ( 2 Corinthians 7:1)

    As we dig deeper into the Scriptures brethren, we discover that holiness and the fear of the Lord are beautifully and wondrously aligned. Consider further what the Proverbs tell us of the fear of God…

    But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil. (Proverbs 1:33)

    The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way. (Proverbs 8:13)

    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy one is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)

    Why is this? Because God is the fountain-head of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, meaning, truth, and moral purpose. We fear God because He alone assumes the place of the Uncreated One. He alone is sovereign and all powerful, able to create and destroy by divine decree, able to subdue or promote that which He has made for His glory.

    “Their Fear Toward Me is Taught by the Commandment of Men”

    But isn’t it true today brethren, that in the church that there is a tendency to recreate and redefine God in our own image; to have more of a benign, man-sized God (Isaiah 29:13)? We skip gleefully over the many scriptures that speak of the fearsome, holy wrath of God, yet in so doing we misrepresent His loving-kindness and tender mercies. Again, as with so much in the modern gospel to all people, there is only partial truth, which is no truth at all, but a cleverly disguised prescription for confusion and unfruitfulness.

    Few, if any, churches in America would invite Jonathan Edwards or Charles Spurgeon (let alone the apostles Peter or Paul) to preach from their pulpits, were they alive today. And it would be hard to imagine A.W. Tozer being a regular guest on Christian talk radio, with his customary emphasis on the awesome attributes of God. Is it not true brethren, that we have fabricated a uniquely kinder and friendlier deity, because that is what we modern believers feel comfortable with (it seems that comfort is more important today than accountability or truth); this is the gospel that appeals to those in search of emotional healing and personal well-being. Oh dear little ones, indeed He is a healer, a mender of emotional wounds, a friend and brother to us. Yes, indeed fellow saints, He is all these things and more, but He is also the awesome and terrible God who loathes evil and will not, under any circumstances, allow sin to pollute His universe.

    Should we not fear Jesus Christ, who said…

    Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. (Matthew 15:13)

    And reckon with other scriptures that teach…

    Hell and destruction are before the Lord so how much more the hearts of men. (Proverbs 15:11)

    God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day. (Psalm 7:11)

    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)

    Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, they would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies…but whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil. (Proverbs 1:28)

    And…

    Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will He be thought worthy who tramples the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay”, says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:29-31)

    We should tremble and be undone before the God who pronounced destruction and woe on the religious hypocrites who led people into bondage with their deceptive teachings and practices. We should fear the Lord who said to them in Matthew 23:33…

    “Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?”

    But Does Not Love Cast Out All Fear?

    The fear of God compels us to know, understand, and depend upon the will of the Lord, as represented in Holy Scripture and empowered by the indwelling Spirit. But, says the modern proof-text Christian, does not love cast out all fear? Does not the Bible teach that…

    “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)

    To fear God, unlike the fear of anything that is created, is healthy and good for us. He alone must be the object of our fear (Revelation 15:3-4). The fear of God stands distinct from all other fears, whether they be real or imagined. In this matter and as a necessary principle, we must allow the Ever-teaching Spirit of Truth to place scripture alongside scripture to gain the whole Bible truth.

    The same David who wrote…

    The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)

    also wrote…

    The fear of the Lord is clean (read “pure”), enduring forever. (Psalm 19:9)

    Who is the man that fears the Lord, him shall He teach in the way He chooses. (Psalm 25:12)

    The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant. (Psalm 25:14)

    The man who fears the Lord waits upon Him in a posture of humility, dependence, deference, submission, obedience, trust, respect, and awe. When the Lord speaks, he listens. When He commands, he obeys. When He promises, he trusts Him. When He chastens, he learns. When He teaches, he esteems it as absolute truth. And when He appears in His Awesome Glory, he falls on his face as though dead (see John in the Revelation of Our Lord).

    Oh how I wish this would describe yours truly even on my best days brethren. Oh how we need to pray always for one another that this would be so for all His little ones. Oh Lord, save us from ourselves in Your Beloved and Holy Son!

    When the Bible says that perfect love casts out fear it is referring to all creaturely fears that are unhealthy and unfounded. There is no incompatibility between our love for God and our fear of Him (Deuteronomy 10:12). It is the fear of the Lord that compels (another word for motivation) us to take sin as seriously as God does. It is the fear of the Lord that compels us to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), by inspiring a reverential attitude towards His attributes.

    But as for me, I will come into your house in the multitude of your mercy; in fear of you I will worship toward your holy temple. (Psalm 5:7

    To Truly Know God as He is, is to Fear Him

    It seems evident that the main reason we modern Christians do not fear the Lord as we should, is because we do not truly know Him as He is. With all the emphasis these days on worshipping in the spirit, experiencing God, and true spirituality, there is a disturbing lack of hard, scriptural teaching on the attributes of God. Just recently, I found myself re-listening to a series of sermons given by A.W. Tozer (circa 1956-1958) on this subject, and I found myself grieving the absence of such powerful instruction in the church today. To know Him requires that we see Him as He is; and only His Spirit can lead us deeper into His Very Being dear saints. To see the Lord Jesus Christ in all of His unsurpassed Holiness and Glory and Righteousness and Truth, is to see the Eternal and Most High Father who sits over the Circle of the Earth. Oh that we would be blinded to everything and everyone else that we would truly behold Him, and see with the eyes of the Spirit that we are as nothing, and less than nothing.

    Perhaps more young (and old, for that matter) Christians would take God more seriously if they discovered what He is like, that He is in fact holy, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, all-wise, creative, pre-eminent, infinite, eternal, perfect, loving, merciful, judgmental, exclusive, a god of justice, immense, and so on. Perhaps we all would fear Him more if we were more consistently reminded of the degree to which our God is unlike us. Instead the preachers of the day would bring Him down from His throne as did the serpent in the garden. They would suffer the temptation to present the Most High in man-like terms, so that we might relate to Him easier. They would forget that the man Jesus came to lead us up to the Father, not the other way around. They would devise a theology that is man-centered and humanistic rather than God-centered, God-sourced and God-glorifying.

    Oh Lord, please forgive us, for how we have strayed so terrible!

    There is Fear in the Gospel as Well as Love

    Oh that we would realize and learn dear saints, that both the Love of God and the Fear of God work together to lead us into the very Heart of God!

    The hope of the gospel message does not remove fear entirely, as psychology does, or seek to rationalize it away, but it consists in having the appropriate fear object. Christ’s teaching in Matthew 10 on the fear of God in no way conflicts with other passages that emphasize our love relationship with Himself and the Father. We can love God deeply and spiritually, while also recognizing our utter dependence on Him; our absolute hopelessness apart from His salvation and grace. We can praise Him for His loving-kindness and tender-mercies, while also acknowledging His fearful power and pre-eminence; that indeed our very destiny wallows in the hollow of His hand.

    If we fear God most truly, we should necessarily fear everything else less. Reverence for the Lord includes an acknowledgement of the power of God and a sober recognition of the consequences of trying to violate His ordained will. Reverence for the Lord is a healthy recognition of our creature-hood. Man is dependent upon one greater and more glorious than himself, and it is the very foundation of wisdom to recognize this fact. From the fear of God proceeds a unique outlook on life that influences every thought, action, and intention. When we fear God we take Him into account as He is, and what He thinks about a particular subject is the baseline upon which all opinion and conduct is measured. To acknowledge and exalt God’s exclusive attributes, to recognize that He alone inhabits a place above all else, is to fear Him as the Bible commands. No man can ever be the same after coming to an awareness of the pre-eminent and perfect nature of God.

    Conclusion

    Let us hear the whole conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

    Only those who heed every word and command given by Our Lord Jesus Christ will share with Him in His Holy Kingdom coming soon to this earth. Let us therefore return to a balanced teaching and understanding of this matter among His people. Let us teach from the whole Bible and not just the parts that appease our fickle human sensitivities. Let us bring new converts to the true God and the real Jesus Christ, without neglecting the tougher aspects of His sovereignty, character and judgment. Let us forfeit the counsel of the ungodly and return to instruction in doctrine and righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16) from the Holy Scriptures.

    In Jesus’ Precious and Mighty Name. Amen.

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