Whom Do You Fear?
Last month in my article I visited the subject of the Christian’s view of God. I surmised that a low view of God always produces a high view of self and that a high view of God will always produce a low view of self. You can carry that even further and say a low view of God will produce a low view of scripture which would cause us to understand the reason why the reading and study of the Bible is seldom done in our homes. We use it at church if we use it at all. A great preacher of the middle part of the last century named Vance Havner once said, “If everyone who owned a Bible picked it up and opened it at the same time it would create the worst dust storm our country has ever seen.”
I would also like to include that a low view of God will also produce a low fear of God. Having a low fear of God might be the dagger that has been thrust into the heart of our churches and the wound could become fatal if not dealt with immediately.
For many believers God has been reduced to a best friend, or a spiritual vending machine to answer prayers in times of crisis, or to the “Man Upstairs” or to the “Boss”. If perception is reality in our world then the perception given of a Holy God has been watered down to a point of the ridiculous. The only doctrine some Christians understand is the doctrine of bumper stickers and t-shirts. You know what I’m talking about, “I’m not perfect, just forgiven”, “God hates the sin, but loves the sinner”, “We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Is there truth in those sayings? Absolutely! Is it good theology? Not exactly.
Let’s look at some Scripture about a Holy God:
Proverbs 9:10 NKJV
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Proverbs 1:7 NKJV
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 8:13 NKJV
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.
Psalms 111:10 NKJV
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understandings have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.
Deuteronomy 10:12, 20-21 records,
12 “And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
13 and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good.
20 Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name.
21 He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.”
And lest we think the fear of the Lord is only in the Old Testament then let’s look at the New Testament:
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
And Jesus Himself tells us in Luke 12:4
4 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
5 But I will show you whom you should fear; Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him.”
There are many meanings of fear in Scripture, but don’t be misled into thinking that this word fear, as it is used here in the text, simply means “reverence and respect”. The usage here is, “a mixed feeling of dread and reverence.”
What I am trying to relate to you is this. We seem to have lowered our view of God so far as to not understand His worthiness of our worship and awe. After all, He is a Holy God and the Bible tells us over and over that He hates sin. What we need to understand is when the Bible says He hates sin it’s not just the unbelievers sin He hates it is our sin as well. We can grieve the Holy Spirit which IS GOD.
And if what the Scripture says is true, and I believe it is, then when it tells us the fear of God is the BEGINNING OF WISDOM”, I have to ask myself this question. If the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and we don’t have a healthy fear of God, is there any way we can begin to be spiritually wise until we know who God is and learn to have a healthy fear of Him?
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