Fear is a human emotion that most people try not to entertain. Fear, however, can be a healthy emotion because it may keep you from harm when there is legitimate danger looming in your life.
It has been reported that the Bible tells us 365 times not to fear or be afraid. The opposite of faith is fear, and so the Bible is saying, trust in God rather than fear the world.
There is one fear, however, that every human being needs to take seriously:
Matthew 10:18 Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Fearing God is the foundation of wisdom and the beginning of knowledge according to:
Proverbs 9:10 Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.
Fear in the sense the Bible is using it here is a holy reverence for God. He not only created this world, He also rescued it on the Cross. His ultimate curtain call will be when Jesus returns to this world to set up His reign and take back the kingdoms of this earth from the evil one:
Jude 1:15 To execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
Think about that for a moment. What should you fear? You should fear greatly if you are not prepared to stand before God Almighty without representation. Your sentence will be swift and just. Jesus told us that there will be a day of reckoning where justice for all time will be done:
Matthew 13 40So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 42and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This is harsh by today’s standard, and yet it is what the Bible says we should fear. There is no coming back from the judgment of God. There will be no pleading mercy … the time for that is now, and that mercy is in His Son Jesus whose blood is your mercy ticket into heaven and out of the fiery furnace. This was the kind of emphasis the church talked about up until about 30 years ago. Then we wanted people to come to church and not be confronted from the fear of hell or the fear of punishment. We shifted the emphasis to the hope God gives to us in this world. We eliminated the conclusion of God’s story, when His mercy is rejected, and when the judgment comes.
Fearing the judgment of God is a valid preaching theme. It is as much a part of the Gospel as John 3:16 that brings us the hope we have in Jesus. The fear of God is as much a part of our walk with God as anything other emphasis we hear in the church today. So, the question I ask repeatedly is why do we not fear God as we should? Have we been so inundated with the idea that God’s love is all we need to think about, and all other aspects of God are irrelevant to us? I heard an older preacher once say: “How can you appreciate the measure of God’s love for you when you haven’t known the measure of His judgment against you?”
It is true … the law told us what perfect people would have to do to be righteous before God, which is impossible to fulfill, and Hell was the place unrighteous people went. We were quite doomed before Jesus entered the picture. That is why the hope Jesus brought to us is an amazing story, a story so bold and rewarding, He should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. No one has done more for humanity than Jesus Christ. No one.
His offer of mercy by believing in Him is an incredible offer. Your rejection of that offer is the most insane decision any human could make. I have come to the conclusion that people I will listen to and respect must have wisdom and knowledge, which both come from a fear of God.
Sorry atheists - no wisdom, no knowledge - you haven’t much to offer.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler