NO FEAR OF GOD
As it is written, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.’ (Psalm 14:1-3) ‘Their throats are open graves; their tongues practise deceit.’ (Psalm 5:9) ‘The poison of vipers is on their lips.’ (Psalm 140:3) ‘Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.’ (Psalm 10:7) ‘Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.’ (Isaiah 59:7. 8) ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.’” (Psalm 36:1) Romans 3:10-18.
Wow, Paul! These are strong words against humanity! But Paul didn’t write them; he only quoted them from the words that others had written. This was God’s diagnosis of the state of the people of the world.
Paul sandwiched the description of the human race between two statements which summed up what the world was like then and what it is still like now:
“There is no one who seeks God…There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
It all comes back to the problem of the human heart which Paul stated at the beginning of his discourse. When people want to live their sinful lives, they conveniently forget that God exists; that there are consequences for everything they do and that they are accountable to Him for their actions. Refusal to acknowledge God does not make Him go away, nor does it make Him ignore them.
Paul’s conclusion is that those who insist on doing things their way have no fear of God. What does it mean to fear God? Are we supposed to be terrified of Him because of what He can do to us?
The fear of the Lord is a big subject, too big to discuss here, but it would do us good to grasp a few of the elements of godly fear if we want to live our lives in peace.
To fear God is to honour and revere Him because He is holy and because He knows everything about us. We cannot escape His scrutiny or His judgement. It is to live transparently before Him, in submission and obedience to His ways because it is the right thing to do. Righteous living honours Him and benefits us, bringing His blessing and favour on our lives.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10.
“Beginning” here is the foundation or building blocks of wisdom – like the alphabet is to learning. Wisdom, in very simple terms, is doing what works.
“To fear the Lord is to hate evil.” Proverbs 8:13.
Since God is holy, completely separate from everything imperfect, and He made us to have fellowship with Him, He requires that we also separate ourselves from everything that offends His holiness.
“Come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord. “Touch no unclean thing and I will receive you.” 2 Corinthians 6:17.
Jesus is a perfect example of one who feared the Lord. It was prophesied of Him in Isaiah 11:2, 3 – “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him…the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord – and He will delight in the fear of the Lord.”
Compare His life with the lives of those who ride roughshod over God’s commandments and pollute everyone and everything they touch. People who ignore God leave misery and suffering in their wake, while Jesus and those who follow Him bring blessing and hope to unhappy people.
God created us to be one with Him. We cannot live in harmony with Him and with the world around us unless we honour Him and do what He requires of us, remembering that He is the inescapable God. Whether we face Him in honour or in judgment, we will face Him and receive from Him the reward for our deeds.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”2 Corinthians 5:10.
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