Unbalanced weights. That is the phrase that comes to mind when I think of how some Christians think of God, the Father. They tend to major on one aspect of His character, thus nullifying the rest of His glorious nature. This causes people to have an unbalanced view of Him.
I want to talk about the subject of fear. Now, we all know the scripture that says,
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2Tim. 1:7)
And rightly so. However, this verse is talking about fear, in general. We can all agree that, in Christ, we have been delivered from fear. Nevertheless, there is one fear we have not been delivered from and are still expected to keep and that is the fear of the Lord.
Here is where the unbalance enters in. I believe it is derived from two scriptures and they are:
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. (1John 4:8)
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1John 4:18)
IS God love? Absolutely. I do not deny or make light of that. God is indeed, love. However, I think people have put these verses together to mean the following: If God is love and there is no fear in love, then we should not fear God because God is love.
It has been said to me, “It’s about a relationship, not fear.” Yes indeed. Yet, how can we have a proper relationship with Almighty God, without fear? Now, I’m not talking about the kind of fear that enslaves, but proper reverence of God is sadly missing from this generation and the church.
Because we have so majored on this one aspect of God’s character, He is love; it has caused a paradigm shift. We see everything through this one view. What has been the result of this?
A God of love would not send people to hell.
A God of love will not bring judgment.
A God of love accepts all people, no matter what they believe.
A God of love will allow me to live any way I want to live, because a God of love would never rebuke me.
The church has been preaching this for many, many years. If not in word, in attitude. Therefore, the world has picked up on this and it has driven them further away from the truth of the Gospel, because, if God loves them just the way they are, why do they need to make a change? Why need a Savior? Will we not be held accountable for this, saints?
I want to remind you of some scriptures that, I know I haven’t heard preached, in about 25 years.
Twenty eight times in the Old Testament (and that’s just the ones I discovered), we are commanded to fear God. But, lest I be told that we don’t have to adhere to the Old Testament, let’s take a look at what the New Testament has to say about fearing God.
And fear not them, which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him, which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matt. 10:28)
And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. (Luke 1:50)
But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. (Luke 12:5)
Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. (Acts 9:31)
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 Cor. 7:1)
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (Eph. 5:21)
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom, which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. (Heb. 12:28)
Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. (1 Pet. 2:17)
And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. (Rev. 11:8)
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. (Rev. 14:7)
Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. (Rev. 15:4)
These scriptures do not even include those who feared God personally or the parables that Jesus taught.
I hear two scriptures that you are thinking right about now…
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (Rom. 8:15)
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:16)
Because of our acceptance of what Jesus did for us, can we now call God, our Father? Because of our acceptance of what Jesus did for us, can we now come boldly before Him?
In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. (Eph. 3:12)
Praise God, yes we can! That is the very reason Jesus came – to build a bridge between God and man. In this, we greatly rejoice!
However, we must never forget that this wonderful God, whom we have the glorious privilege of calling our Father and whom we can come boldly before, is still a consuming fire.
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom, which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire. (Heb. 12:28-29)
We must be reminded that this God of love is also the same God that sits upon the throne of heaven full of majesty and power. I encourage you to read the book of Revelation and see this God who does not change.
For I am the LORD, I change not…(Mal. 3:6)
What does that tell us?
Everything He was in the Old Testament, He is still today. This is a true saying. Just because Jesus made a way for us to come to the Father, does not change the Father’s character one bit.
He is still holy.
He is still mighty.
He is still glorious.
He is still greatly to be feared. For He is God.
He is not your homeboy.
Or your pal.
Or your buddy.
He is Almighty God who you have been given the privilege to know personally. Never take that for granted. You do not have the option of being irreverent (as one church celebrated), for He is holy and worthy of your respect.
Perhaps the reason we do not see God moving in our churches anymore, or to the degree that we once did, is for this very reason. We have lost the fear of God. We no longer respect or reverence His Holiness.
Therefore, what Jesus said may be applied to the modern church:
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. (Matt. 7:6)
Because He is Holy and worthy of utmost respect, He will not go where He is not reverenced or feared.
We must keep a holy fear of God. After all, it is the beginning of wisdom. (Psalm 11:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10)