THE FEAR OF GOD
By Elder Larry Wise
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (Eccl. 12:13)
The children of God are to fear God, but until they are born of the Holy Spirit there is no fear of God present. “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Rom. 3:8). God instills that fear into their hearts. “And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” (Jer. 32:39-20)
It takes the grace of God to fear him in a reverent and loving manner. “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). This is a godly fear because it comes from God. The devils also believe and tremble, but this is not from God; they do not reverence God because they know what their end will be. The fear of the Lord brings a strong confidence that He is able to do His will in a sovereign manner. “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of the Lord is the fountain of life to depart from the snares of death.” (Proverbs 14:26-27).
There is a strong confidence in a loving Heavenly Father who cares for you and will continue to care for you. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6). The fear of God brings a profound respect for the God that dwells in the heavens and does as His soul desireth. The child of God that realizes this through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit should be inspired to serve Him sincerely and in truth.
When we meditate in the law of the Lord day and night and consider the things God has done for us, our zeal for His service should be kindled to new heights. “Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth, with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.” (Isa. 12:24). “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” (Psalm 103:1-2).
That which is within is a miracle because He has cleansed the inward man. “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Rom. 2:29). Paul could therefore proclaim, “For I delight in the law of the Lord after the inward man.” (Rom. 7:22).
The children of God are taught to fear God, but the love of that same God removes certain fears that might disturb their soul. “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.” (I John 4:18). Yes, when one has seen the perfect love of Jesus and His Father, and what it has accomplished, any fear of facing a white throne judgment with respect to eternity is eliminated. It is removed because our sins have gone before into judgment on the body of the Lord Jesus Christ and when that body arose from the grave, it proved that every sin of His bride had been banished from God’s holy sight. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.” (Rom. 8:33).
When the God of heaven and earth is for us, who can be against us? Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of man and adversity, for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Deut. 31:6). God will always be for us as far as eternity is concerned, but he may not always be for us when we walk contrary to His precepts in this time world. We are told by the apostle James to draw nigh unto Him and He would draw nigh unto us.
May we all fear the Lord in a reverent way and not fear anyone and the circumstance that we face in this world. We are to fear not him who is just able to destroy the body, but we are to fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell. Solomon did not fulfill his admonition to fear God and keep His commandments as he turned to idols. His admonition would be to do not as he has done but to do now as he says. Solomon learned the hard way that all is vanity and vexation of spirit. There are examples in the word of God to follow and there are those that we are not to follow. Certainly Solomon’s late life example is one we are not to follow; he entered into the snares of death rather than being delivered from the snares of death. He went this route because he did not fear God as he should.