“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Ps. 36:1)
While there are plenty of scriptures that no longer seem to fit with the church’s perception of who God is today, there can be no command more seemingly out of place based on that perception than this one: the command that we fear God. (Deut. 5:29, 2 Cor. 5:10-12) With the hyper-grace lens that currently serves as our view of God these days, this command just doesn’t seem to fit with our perception as to who we’ve been led to believe God is. So, what is this command to “fear God” all about, and how can we apply this command to better understand His love and know Him better? To get an accurate assessment as to how any one scripture, or command, applies to your understanding of who God is, you must understand how that scripture/command applies to His full message of Truth. In other words, you cannot remove, ignore, or underappreciate any of God’s commands and claim that you have an accurate picture as to who God is. There is no question that God commands that we fear Him; this command is listed hundreds of times in scripture. (Deut. 10:12-13, Luke 12:4-5) Therefore, if God commands that we fear Him, it is paramount that we understand how that “fear” applies to knowing the Lord as opposed to trying to find ways to simply suggest that somehow God doesn’t really mean what He says.
Without question, the church message goes through ebbs and flows as cultural influences heavily impact what kind of interpretation of scripture will be tolerated from the pulpit within a given generation. Today, in a generation of entitlement, we are witness to a message grossly perverting the grace of God coming from the church… a message that claims that you can live like the devil and still be saved by His grace as long as you believe that He exists and run through some rituals/prayers created by man. Many of my writings address this predominant false teaching across the church today, but here I will focus on how that deception essentially removes the fear of God from before believers’ eyes and the consequence that brings.
The fear that God commands that we have, is a fear of the consequence of sin. Fearing the consequence of sin is the first step in coming to know God. (Ex. 20:20, Prov. 1:7) Without believing in an Almighty God that hates sin, and believing that the wrath of God comes on those who disobey His commands (live in sin), you will not have the proper motivation to earnestly seek His knowledge and understanding. (Prov. 2:1-6, Col. 3:5-7) Fearing the consequence of sin IS the grace of God! That fear is His grace which enables you to say “No” to ungodliness and encourages you to live a holy life! (Titus 2:11-12) It is by the grace of God that we fear the act of sin, and know that He is the righteous Judge. (John 16:8-11) It is the sin in our heart that defiles us, and it is living with a fear of that defilement that motivates one to seek the Lord for refinement. (Mark 7:20-23, Rev. 3:17-20)
For just a second, do me a favor… forget about what your church, pastor, or priest tells you regarding the “security” of your eternal salvation and consider only what the Truth in His Word has to say. Imagine kneeling before the Almighty Judge upon your day of judgment and having God lay bare all the sin in your heart that you were unwilling to surrender to the Lord. Imagine how you would feel if that sin revealed all the many things that you had before the Lord in your heart, and you were faced with the cold hard Truth in His Word about what that means regarding your eternal fate. (Matt. 25:10-13) You can believe your pastor over God’s Word all you want, but God’s Word makes clear that there can be nothing before Him in your heart! (1 John 2:15-17, Matt. 10:37-39, Luke 9:23-24) Anything before the Lord in your heart reveals where your treasure (love) really is! (Matt. 6:21) Well, for those unwilling to fully surrender their hearts to the Lord, according to scripture, eternal hell will be the verdict for an unrepentant heart from the Judge when His Word stands as your accuser. (John 12:48-50, Luke 13:3) And if you believe that (if you believe God), then you know, and understand, the biblical relevance of a fear of the Lord!
Sin is what the believer is to hate, and sin is what the believer is to fear the consequence of. “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9b) The act of sin demonstrates your spiritual obedience to darkness (evil). (Rom. 6:16-18) “God is light; in Him there is no darkness. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in darkness (sin), we lie and do not live out the truth.” (1 John 1:5b-6) The lie that is told by your pastor suggests that repeating some shallow lip-service cleanses all past, present, and future sins. Not only is that biblically inaccurate, it is completely contrary to scripture! This premise is foolish and utterly stupid! Come on, it isn’t that by simply saying, “Okay, Jesus, I’ll allow you to forgive me,” that we are reconciled to God, rather it is by obeying His teaching that we receive His Spirit! (John 8:31-32) If you believe that simply muttering some words will bring the promised gift that you desire (salvation), then you are ignorant of God! Satan’s greatest deception within the church message today is in the lie that simply repeating a fancy phrase, “accepting Christ as your Savior,” brings about eternal security. No! Accepting God’s conditions and wholeheartedly, giving your life to Christ (repentance – no more sin) brings about your salvation! Without following the teachings of Jesus, “accepting Christ as your Savior” boils down to irreverent babble to the Lord!
Scripture reveals that the blood of Christ cleanses all past sins for those of a repentant heart, not the ongoing sins for those of an unrepentant heart (those who continue to walk in darkness — holding onto all the many sins of “self” including lust, envy, selfish ambition, greed, unforgiveness, and on and on). The fact that there can be no darkness in His light, is exactly why you must repent before you can enter His light! Jesus is the forgiveness of sins for those who wholeheartedly commit to walking in His Light (Luke 24:47). Thus, turning from sin (REPENTANCE) is required for reconciliation and forgiveness; and man born of sinful flesh will not genuinely repent without a fear of the consequence of sin! If you remove that fear (Truth) from your teaching, you essentially remove the ability for someone to truly come to know the Lord.
All sin is considered evil to the Lord. (Gal. 5:19-21, Eph. 5:5-6) Scripture describes those who choose to walk in these sins as those who hate His Light (Jesus). (John 3:19-20) If you walk in these sins, the Word of God reveals that you will not be welcomed into His Light! (Rev. 22:14-15) Believe who you want. Believe Satan, and the deception of a false grace being preached today. Or believe the Word, God Himself! But if you are a Christian who believes that simply because of what Jesus did for you, that there is nothing that you must do for Him, you will spend eternity without Him. That according to His Word! (Matt. 7:21-23)
The question that I pose is this: Would you consider envy and selfish ambition equally as damaging to your spiritual health as a face to face encounter with a grizzly bear would be to your physical health? If not, why not? Because this is how scripture reveals that a believer is to view all sin, as that which will lead to your spiritual death. My point is, to truly live a self-denied life for Christ, you must first perceive sin in such a light — as that which will prevent you from being reconciled to God and receiving His Spirit! Would you consider holding on to unforgiveness in your heart equally as deadly to your spiritual health as stumbling across a black mamba would be to your physical health? According to scripture, you should! (Matt. 6:15) Imagine if you perceived the act of murder to be no different than the lack of regard for your neighbor who is in need. (Matt. 25:44-46) What about perceiving the sin of viewing porn as equally sinful as turning away from the Lord, committing adultery, and deliberately walking in darkness? (Matt. 5:27-30) I could go on and on but my point is that the Word of God provides the proper motivation necessary (the fear of the Lord) for sinful man to crucify sin in the flesh, truly surrender his/her life to Christ, and deception (man’s word) does everything it can to prevent it!
For sure, God desires for everyone to be saved and come to a knowledge of the Truth. (1 Tim. 2:3-5) Scripture reveals that the fear of the Lord is the first step in coming to know God. So, what happens when you remove the very catalyst to one’s coming to know the Lord from your teaching? Well, you buy into Satan’s deception of a false grace and wind up “believing” in a false Jesus! A gross perversion of God’s grace and a false teaching consumes the church today! As a result, just look at how the Christians of this generation view sin. Do you view sin as that which leads to your spiritual death, or that which Jesus approves of? You cannot create a “jesus” that approves of the idols in your heart and still claim to know and worship the One true God! (Deut. 4:15-24)
Satan’s deception always attempts to bring comfort to your life of sin, God’s Word (Jesus) never provides any leeway whatsoever! If you do not hate the sin within your heart, then you will not continue to earnestly seek the Lord and desire to grow in His knowledge. You cannot be “IN CHRIST” and willingly hold on to any sin within your heart! If you believe that Jesus approves of the sin that you are unwilling to repent of, then you do not know the Lord! If it was not the fear of the Lord that led you to the god that you claim to know, then you do not know the Lord! (Prov. 1:7) You come to know the Lord out of a fear of the consequence of sin, you then come to obey God out of the love you have for Him in your heart. Again, Jesus tells us whom to fear… (Luke 12:4-5) If you want to be contentious about this then I would suggest that you would be one of the many Christians who claim to believe in God, but just not believe what He says — believe His Word to be Truth! Repent and Live! Fear the Lord! (Luke 16:27-31)
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