Life in the Spirit

REASONS FOR FEARING GOD

 

The first motivating factor is His Sovereignty or Majesty.

As stated in Jeremiah 5:22, "Do you not fear me? Says the Lord! Will you not tremble at my presence; who have placed the sand as a bound of the sea, by a perpetual decree that it cannot pass beyond it? And though its waves toss to and fro, yet they cannot prevail; though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it.
 
 But this people has a defiant and rebellious heart; they have revolted and departed, they do not say in their heart, let us now fear the Lord our God, who gives rain, both the former and the latter in its season, He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest. Your iniquities have turned these things away, and your sins have withheld good things from you."

Holding God in high esteem and honor is His rightful due. For, "Inasmuch as there is none like you, O Lord (you are great, and your name is great in might), who would not fear You, O King of the nations? For this is your rightful due, for among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like you? (
Jer.10:6-7).

To openly demonstrate one's fear of the one and only true God, who created the heavens, the earth, the seas, and springs of water, God has appointed specific days and times so that His people can come together to reverence His name, and give Him glory and honor.

For, "who in the heavens can be likened to the Lord? God is greatly to be praised in the assembly of the saints (which they are admonished not to forsake, even though not commanded), and to be held in reverence by all those who are around Him" (
Ps.89:6-7).

The appointed times which honors and glorifies the Lord as the one and only true God, who created the heavens, the earth, the seas, and the springs of water is His Sabbaths.

The Lord said, "You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord" (
Lev.19:30, 26:2). Again He said, "Surely my Sabbaths (plural) you shall keep for it is a sign between me and you through out your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you" (Exo.31:1`3).
 
Apart from the weekly Sabbath, the Lord has appointed three times or seasons in the year, when His people should appear before Him as the Lord God. (Exo.23:14-17, 34:18-24, Lev 23:1-4).

The Sabbaths are blessed, sanctified, hallowed, a time of refreshing, rejoicing, and celebration. The word of the Lord says, "I am the Lord your God; walk in my statutes, keep my judgments, and do them; hallow my Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God" (
Ezek.20:19-20, 44:24, Isa.58:13-14, Jer.17:22-27).

The true significance of the Sabbaths is to make us aware, or to remind us that The Lord is God.

What relevance has the Sabbath to a Gentile?

Gentiles who at one time "were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having (at that time) no hope, and without God in the world, but now, in Christ Jesus, gentiles who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ.
 
For He (Christ) Himself is our peace, who has made both (Jews and gentiles) one, and has broken down the middle wall of division between us" (Eph.2:12-14), giving gentiles now the opportunity to rejoice and glorify God (not in isolation or in opposition, but rather) together with the children of Israel.

Therefore, we are told, "receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God (to preserve and perpetuate God's truth), to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: "For this reason I will confess to you among the gentiles, and sing to Your name". And again He says; "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!" (
Rom. 15:7-10, Deut.32:43).

When someone appears before the Lord on days which He has not appointed, it becomes an abomination.

The Lord says, "When you come to appear before me, who has required this from your hand to trample my courts?

Remember, the lord has specifically ordained appointed times for His people to come before Him, to glorify and give reverence to His name as the one and only true God who created the heavens, the earth, and the streams of water.
 
We are admonished to, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come: and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water" (Rev.14:7).

The only sign the Lord God gave to identify Himself as the Creator of heaven and earth is His Sabbath. He said, "The children of Israel shall keep (observe, celebrate) the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generation as a perpetual covenant.
 
 It (the Sabbath) is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever: WHY? "For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed" (Exo.31:116-17).

Therefore, those who appear before the Lord and trample His courts on days which He has not appointed, He says to them, "Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me. The new moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies- I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your new moons and your (not mine) appointed feasts my soul hates. They are a trouble to me I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my face from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood"
(Isa.1:12-13).
 
The second motivating factor for the rightful fear of God is HIS HOLINESS.

Holiness is the unique quality of divinity; a life totally void and separated from sin. Therefore, if we are instructed to be "as obedient children, not conforming ourselves to the former lusts, as in our ignorance, but as he who has called us is holy, we also be holy in all our conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy" (
1Pet.1:14-16), this should generate a tremendous measure of fear in us, if indeed we have proven that the Lord is gracious.

Holiness is purity, completely free from defilement and profanity. We are to give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; and worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness (
Ps.29:2).

Holiness is associated to people, time or object, consecrated to God for holy use. Christians are called "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own special people, that they may proclaim the praises of Him who called them out of darkness into His marvelous light" (
1Pet.2:9).

This again should stimulate the rightful fear in every one who has indeed proven that the Lord is gracious.

To the chosen people of God, He says; " I am the Lord who brings you up out of the land of Egypt (sin), to be your God, you shall therefore be holy, for I am holy" (
Lev.11:45).

Not only has God set apart His people for holy use, He has also set apart certain things as holy, and for holy use.

The word of the Lord came to Ezekiel saying, "Her priests (Israel's) have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished (make a distinction) between the holy and the unholy (profane), nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them" (
Exek.22:26).

Therefore, having a blind eye to the Sabbaths, especially when Jesus Christ said, emphatically, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath, Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath" is a dishonor to God (
Mk.2:27-28).

For Christ to be Lord (Master) of something holy as the Sabbath, should generate a certain amount of fear in those who have indeed proven that the Lord is gracious. Closing one's eye to the holiness of the Sabbath is profanity.

The rightful fear of God, because of His holiness, should stimulate the awareness of making a clear distinction between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean (
Lev.10:10).

One of the Holy things of God is His law. We are told that, "the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good" (
Rom.7:12), and within the context of the holy commandment, we are specifically reminded saying; "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy."  Because, "the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it (made it holy)" (Exo.20:8, 11).

There are also specific times of holy convocations or holy assemblies, which the Lord specifically instituted. The Lord spoke to Moses saying, "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them; the feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are my feasts". Again He said, "These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times" (
Lev. 23:2-4, 7, 8, 21, 24, 32, 35, 36, 37).

God alone is holy, and He has set apart holy times to worship Him in the beauty of holiness. Each appointed feast or holy convocation commemorates an event which the Lord has made in His master plan for the salvation of humanity, and they also foreshadows things to come.

 
The third motivating factor which ought to stimulate the rightful fear of God in those who have indeed proven that He is gracious is:-
His Forgiveness;

It is written, "If you, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared
(Ps.130:3-4).

Thankfully, "the Lord has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities; but he is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger for ever"(
Ps.103:8-10).

The willingness for the Lord to forgive ought to stimulate the rightful fear in us, by holding Him in high esteem, reverence, adoration, and departing from evil. For, "if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (
1Jn.1:8-10).

The gracious thing is that, Jesus Christ has made all the provisions for his people to live in holiness, and be constantly cleansed of their sins, through the cup of the New Covenant (agreement) which he instituted on the night before his death. For it is written; “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life” (Lev. 17:11, Eph.1:7; Col.1:14, 20; Heb.9:22; 1Jn.1:7; Matt.26:28).
 
The cardinal error which most people make is, accepting sin as part of their new nature.

How often do we hear comments such as, "God understands!" when someone exercises a lack of faith by not trusting God, or being disobedient, or exercising a lack of self control, by habitually living in sin.

This is so prevalent, the basic assumption is, God understands their needs, their predicament, the weakness of the flesh, and therefore will sympathize with them when they compromise with sin.

But what does the Lord truly understands?

He truly understands:-

a. "My little children, these things I write to you that you may not sin" (signifying that there is the possibility of not sinning (
1Jn.2:1).

And if anyone sins (not and when anyone sins, as though it is expected, but "IF" signifying that it is optional), we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (
1Jn.2:1).

b. What the Lord understands and sympathizes with us is, "As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust" (
Ps.103:13-14).

Notice; His pity is not towards those exercising lack of faith, or lack of self control, or who violate His laws with impunity, but towards those who fear Him. That is, those who departs from evil.
 
We are told that, "The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them" (Ps.103:17-18).

The Lord pities those who strive for excellence (you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect), those who strive to enter the narrow way; those who, when faced with trials and temptations whilst pursuing the right path, will boldly come to the throne of grace, so that they may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
 
 For, "Indeed, He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham" (Heb. 4:16, 2:16).

Furthermore, we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (
Heb.4:15).
 
And, "for to this we were called, because Christ also suffered for us (in the flesh), leaving us an example, that we should follow His steps: Who committed no sin, nor was guile found in His mouth" (1Per.2:22).

Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, we are to arm ourselves with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin" (
1Pet.4:1).

Yes, if indeed we have proven that the Lord is gracious, his forgiving mercy will stimulate the right fear of God in us, and we will strive to give unto Him the honor, the reverence, and the glory which is due to Him. We will depart from evil. That is, not allowing our independent human nature, which entices man to walk after the imagination of their own evil heart, which is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and not  walking according to the righteous law - way of God.
 
The fourth motivating factor which ought to stimulate the rightful fear of the Lord in us is His Awesome Power.

The Lord our God parted the red sea and dried it up in the presence of the children of Israel, until they crossed over. He also dried up the waters of the Jordan before them until they had crossed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, and that you may fear the Lord your God for ever"(
Josh.4:23-24).

Job tells us that, "As for the Almighty, we cannot find Him; He is excellent in power, in judgment and abundant justice; He does not oppress, therefore men fear Him; He shows no partiality to any who are wise in heart"
(Job.37:23-24).
 
Jesus taught His disciples the fear of God by saying, "My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has the power to cast into hell; yes I say to you, fear Him" (Lk.12:4-5).

Yes, because of the Lord's awesome power and authority, He ought to be feared, by standing in awe of Him, reverencing His name, and departing from evil. For it is written, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity"
(2Tim.2:19).
 
The fifth motivating factor which should stimulate the rightful fear of God in us is His GOODNESS.

The Psalmist David wrote, "Oh, how great is your goodness, which you have laid up for those who fear you, which you have prepared for those who trust in you in the presence of the sons of men! (
Ps.31:19).

It is the goodness of God that leads one to repentance; for this reason, God ought to be revered. That is, love and respect deeply, honor greatly, show reverence, and stand in awe of Him.

The prophet Samuel said, "I will teach you the good and right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you" (
1Sam.12:23-24).

Because of God's goodness, we are to fear the Lord our God, and serve Him, and to Him we should hold fast, and take oaths in His name. He is our praise, and He is our God, who has done for us great and awesome things which our eyes have seen.
 
The sixth motivating factor which should stimulate the rightful fear of the Lord in us is "His Judgment."

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men, to live in fear of Him.

Most people take into consideration, only the goodness of God, and failed to consider the severity of the Lord. We are to consider both the goodness and severity of the Lord, because on those who fell, and do not continue in his goodness, severity. But, towards those who continue in his goodness, kindness.

We all ought to bear in mind that, "the Lord God made the heavens and the earth by His great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for Him.
 
He shows loving kindness to thousands, and repays the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them. The great, the mighty God, whose name in the LORD of hosts, is great in counsel and mighty in work, for His eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doing" (Jer.32:17-19).
-
The Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King- At His wrath the earth will tremble, and the nations will not be able to abide His indignation" (
Jer.10:10).

We better take heed and listen to the angel who is flying in the midst of heaven with the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth- to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people- saying with a loud voice, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water" (
Rev. 14:6-7).

The outward sign of such reverence to the one who, created the heavens, the earth, the sea, and springs of water, is the observance of His Sabbaths. For, "In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it (set it apart for holy use)" (
Exo.20:11).
The Lord also said, "Keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary, I am the Lord" (
Lev.19:30, 26:2).

We should al be joining the heavenly chorus and sing," We give you thanks, O Lord God almighty, the one who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead (nations), that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth" (
Rev.11:18).

Yes! If indeed we have proven that the LORD is gracious, let us fear Him and stand in Awe of Him, giving reverence to His name because of His Majesty-Sovereignty, His holiness, His forgiveness, His Power, His goodness, and His judgment.
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