Therefore, because we know the fear of the Lord, we seek to persuade people.
We are completely open before God, and I hope we are
completely open to your consciences as well.
2 Cor. 5:11
In my continuing investigation into what must be purged from the Church, I have come across one that would certainly make the Top Ten list. For years, I have felt that the fear of God seems to have disappeared from our churches. He is presented as our best friend who saves us and lives in our hearts. The American Church has remade Him into someone who will be easier to live with and to present to the lost world. This is disastrous since, according to Exodus 20:20, the fear of God is the greatest deterrent for sin. Since sin is what separates us from God, we can never really know God without a reverential fear of Him. Those who see God as a smiling gently grandfather won’t take sin seriously because there is no fear of what He will do
Like the Hypocrites
If we continue to remake Him into a god of our choosing, then we have become like the hypocrites to whom Jesus uttered His harshest warnings (Matthew 23:13-15). We may be fellow heirs with Christ, but we are not God’s equals. If we claim to be His children but continue to reshape Him according to our own desires, He will deal with us as our sins deserve. He will protect His name and reputation. Living life on our terms (rather than God’s) never ends well. God’s discipline can be severe. Remember what happened to Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5:1-11).
A Desire to Please Him
It’s true that God loves us. That’s not the issue. The problem lies in our love for God, or lack thereof. If we genuinely love Him, we won’t want to disappoint Him. We will have a reverential fear of disobeying Him just as we all desired our earthly father’s love and approval. This is not about measuring up to a list of rigorous standards. That’s legalism. It’s about a desire to receive a nod or smile that says, “Way to go,” “Great job,” or “I’m so proud of you.”
The Judgment Seat of Christ
Consider 2 Corinthians 5:11 (above). It’s part of the section dealing with the judgment seat of Christ. It’s saying that because of their fear (or awe) of Christ Who will judge their works one day, they persuade people to devote themselves to pleasing Christ. Jesus plainly told us that if we love Him we will obey Him, and the best way to obey is from a desire to bring a smile to His face.
It Starts with the Leadership
Often, the failure of the people in a local assembly to fear God had its origins with the church’s leadership. Paul has given the local assemblies clear guidelines in key areas including the proper roles and responsibilities for men and women in the local church, speaking in tongues in the assembly, and how to administer church discipline. Churches that stray from these clear mandates have abandoned any fear of God they may have once had and are asking for trouble when Christ’s purging kicks into high gear.
The Awesome Benefits
All these failures become more tragic when we consider the awesome benefits for the one who fears the Lord. According to Psalm 25:12-14, God will directly help him with all his decisions and reveal His secret joys to him. This takes intimacy with God to a new level, and it begins with a reverential fear of the Lord. A reverential fear of a holy God will dramatically affect the way a person lives. Carefully read Isaiah 40:12-26 and meditate on the awesome holiness of God. Allow the Holy Spirit to instill in you a proper reverence for Almighty God.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
Those who say there is no such thing as gender are the same ones demanding a female President.
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