The True Fear of God

Today, the idea that our Creator is a God to be feared has all but disappeared from our society. Tragically, most churches no longer take God at His Word—He is to be feared and obeyed. We've reduced "godly fear" to some vague notion of "respect," and nothing more. By doing this, we have created a crisis of anxiety among those who profess to believe in Christ because we cannot know the love of God, and thus experience the peace of God, unless we first fear Him. Please consider what the Psalmist David writes:

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; . . . As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. . . . But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children's children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments (Psalm 103:11, 13, 17-18 ESV).

Now watch the video found at this link:

As terrifying as this explosion is, it is only a tiny spark from the power of an Almighty God, who is a Consuming Fire (Hebrews 12:29). Jesus came to Earth the first time as a meek Savior; He will come a second time as an avenging Judge: "From [Christ's] mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty." (Revelation 19:15). Tread . . . winepress . . . fury . . . wrath . . . Almighty—have there ever been five more terrifying words woven together in the history of the world? The image painted by this one verse makes the Castle Bravo explosion of 1954 appear as a firecracker in comparison!

Many will then be quick to quote 1 John 4:8—"God is love." But they often leave out what follows: "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:9-10 ESV emphasis added). "A propitiation for our sins:" Each of our sins is an infinte offense against an infinitely holy God who demands infinte compensation. There is only one thing in the universe that is valuable enough to pay the infinte debt we all owe God—the blood of Jesus Christ.

God's wrath against our sin is coming—it can't be stopped. There is only one place where we can be safe—at the foot of the Cross in true humility and repentance and faith.

"Even the Christian must fear God. But it is another kind of fear. It is a fear rather of what might have been than of what is; it is a fear of what would come were we not in Christ. Without such fear there can be no true love; for love of the Saviour is proportioned to one's horror of that from which man has been saved. And how strong are the lives that are suffused with such a love! They are lives brave, not because the realities of life have been ignored, but because they have first been faced — lives that are founded upon the solid foundation of God's grace. May such lives be ours!" J. Gresham Machen