Should Christians Fear God?

May 5, 2018 at 1:39 PM

Recently, we spoke of something in the mental health arena – Religious OCD. The underlying problem associated with it, as far as the experts are concerned, is an unhealthy fear of God and/or the devil. In their efforts to “cure” a young boy of his inordinate fears, counselors essentially immersed him into the occult, by having him listen to music that utilized the term “devil” and created satanic imagery. They also had him wear a shirt with the number “666” on it. These were designed to desensitize him so that he would no longer experience fears of either God or the devil.

But this leads us to the question as to whether or not Christians should actually and literally fear God or the devil? It really all depends upon what is meant by the word “fear.” If by fear, we mean to have an unhealthy constant belief of potential “attacks” by either God or Satan on us, then the clear biblical answer to that is no. However, if by fear we mean to have a very healthy awareness of God’s tremendous power over all Creation recognizing that God may allow things deemed “evil” to come into our lives as forms of chastisement and a cause for growth, then the answer is yes. This is a type of fear that Christians should have where God is concerned.

Moreover, we should fear grieving God through our disobedience to His will. We should also fear God simply because of His tremendously great power. Though He loves those who are called according to His purposes and have placed their faith in Him for salvation, He continues to hold the power of life and death over all things. This extends to every person who is ever birthed into this life. God is the Life-Giver and Judge. He does what is good based on His own counsel regardless of how people complain (Psalm 2).

The apostle Paul also indicates that a continued life of disobedience where the Christian is concerned can lead to God taking that Christian home earlier than originally planned. It is our disobedience to Him that would potentially cause this to occur (1 Corinthians 11:30). In the case of the Corinthians, some actually wound up disrespecting the Lord’s Supper in honor of Jesus’ crucifixion (death) and resurrection. They had become very carnal and fleshly in their approach to God. Because of that lack of healthy fear (deep reverence or respect), some began to take on illnesses that even led to death.

What Christians need to be constantly aware of is that we take each new breath with God’s permission. Our days are fully numbered and when the appointed day/time of our death comes, we will die. It is out of our hands. How can we not have tremendous reverential awe or a healthy fear of God who has that power?

Certainly, the Bible is clear that God loves us wonderfully. He loves us so much that He was willing to take on the form of humanity (while retaining all of His deity), to live life as a human being, modeling for us how we are to live before God. He did this as Jesus, in the flesh, and did so perfectly, never sinning (2 Corinthians 5:21), yet chose to become (seen as having), sin on our behalf that we might have the opportunity through faith to receive the salvation that only Jesus offers. There is no other salvation. It does not exist outside of Jesus, who said of Himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” (John 14:6 KJV).

There is a huge difference between having an unhealthy, unbilbical, and unwarranted fear of God – that He is always ready to “zap” you if you do something wrong – and having a very healthy reverential respect or fear of God who holds the power of life and death over our heads. Certainly, it must be balanced with a right understanding of God’s love for us, which is seen in His ability to completely forgive us for all the sins we commit, based on the work of Jesus on our behalf. Romans 8 is a wonderful chapter that details how Christians have escaped God’s wrath and are now under the protective shadow of His love. Yet, this does not mean He will never chastise.

Just as any truly loving parent would do with their wayward young children, God has every right to discipline those He loves.

5 And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, or lose heart when He rebukes you. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastises everyone He receives as a son.” 7 Endure suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? (Hebrews 12:5-7 Berean Study Bible)

A parent who never disciplines his/her child proves they have no real love for that child. They simply let the child do whatever he/she wants to do without correcting them when needed. This is a lack of love or caring. Because God loves those who received salvation from Him, He has every right to discipline us when we go off the path. The entire Bible is filled with many examples of this. In fact, He retains the right to discipline those who have not received salvation as well, but more often, this comes under the banner of judgment, not simply chastisement.

Solomon, in the opening chapters of 2 Chronicles, reminds Israel that if they would obey God and live to fulfill His statutes, being obedient to His laws, God would bless them. Should they reject God’s law and rule over their life, He would temporarily reject the entire nation of Israel. He would never permanently reject Israel. He would only reject them until they began to call out to Him again, usually, with the next generation of Israelites.

2 Chronicles 7:12-18 outlines this for us and it is often taken out of context and applied to the United States. There is a problem with that because God spoke those words directly to Israel and to no other nation.

12 Then the LORD appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time. 17 And as for you, if you will walk before me as David your father walked, doing according to all that I have commanded you and keeping my statutes and my rules, 18 then I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to rule Israel.’ (ESV)

Notice here the entire context is connected to Israel. Recall that Israel was designed to be a theocracy, ruled over by God Himself. Even with a human king, that king was answerable directly to God and was expected to walk in God’s ways as a model for the Israelites, in order that God would bless the nation of Israel. Solomon had just finished praying and offering thousands of animals as burnt offerings to God. By the way, Solomon offered so many animals so that the people would have food enough for the celebration of the opening of the Temple. The entire process took awhile and hundreds of thousands of Israelites were involved in the celebration.

So Solomon finishes his prayer of commitment and dedication and the Lord responds directly to Solomon with, “I have heard your prayer and chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice…” God then goes onto explain to Solomon that times will come where God will be forced to shut up the heavens so that no rain falls. This obviously would be a form of chastisement on the nation as a whole for their waywardness. God would not do this unless Israel began rebelling against God’s rule, even if not everyone in Israel rebelled, since God normally treated the entire nation as though one person. If one person rebelled against God, it affected the entire nation and we see this throughout the Old Testament.

When Israel acted in such a way, God would chastise as a means of gaining Israel’s attention so that they could truly repent from their sin. If they did that, God would “…hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Again, this was said to Israel and it needed to go from the top (king) down (average Israelite). There must be a complete about-face as a nation; a turning away from doing those things that resulted in God sending His chastisement.

As much as many would like to believe it applies to the United States, it doesn’t because the United States is not a theocracy, wholly dedicated to and created by God Himself. Certainly, He allowed the United States to exist as He has done with every other nation that has ever existed or ever will exist. But God’s covenant relationship was only with Israel and that covenant relationship remains with Israel. During the Millennial Kingdom, Israel will be the most exalted nation over all the earth.

But a very important point here is Solomon’s attitude and demeanor toward God. Notice as you read through the opening chapters of 2 Chronicles (and I hope you do that!), Solomon humbled himself. As king, he prostrated himself before God and the people of Israel were witnesses to that. Solomon understood that his ruling power came from God Himself. The blessings Israel enjoyed also came from God as a reward for obedience to the entirety of His will.

It was not long after Solomon that things began to go very badly for Israel. Eventually, Israel split into two separate kingdoms – Israel, the north and Judah, the south – and not one king who reigned over Israel was considered good by God and only a few kings who ruled over Judah were considered good by God. It is a case of people – including kings – not having the proper healthy, reverential fear of God. They essentially spat in His face, doing whatever they wanted to do instead of living by the code of the Mosaic Law.

Christians can quite easily start to slip away from God, venturing off on our own, doing things that do not bring Him glory. We should be afraid of doing that, not because God will “zap” us and send us to hell. He won’t do that, but He will send chastisement in order to regain our attention. He will do what He can to adjust our thinking, to bring us back to the path of righteousness through repentance. If all else fails, He has every right to take us out of this life earlier than we might expect. He has that right because of who He is in the universe and in relation to us. He is God. We are simply His created beings, created for His good pleasure. So if the things He has created do not bring Him pleasure or glory, does He not have the right to remove life from those things?

Christians who do not have a very healthy, reverential fear of God do not understand who God is and the power that He wields. He brought this world into Creation out of nothing (ex nihilo). Everything that we see, we enjoy, we benefit from, God made. He did so for His own glory, not ours.

We must put ourselves in our proper place and understand things from God’s perspective. He made us for Himself. God has every right to expect people – especially Christians – to live for Him, to bring glory to Him. Think of how many people go through this life never recognizing God and their actual purpose for being here? It’s scary to consider. How often are we Christians guilty of adopting a laissez-faire attitude where God is concerned? Paul would warn us that this ought not to be.

We need to endeavor to live for God and that happens when we adopt a healthy attitude of reverential fear where God is concerned.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, devil worship, Emotional virtue, eternity, israel, Judaism, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Posttribulational Rapture, Pretribulational Rapture, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: , , , , .

Solomon’s Legacy with God’s Granted Wisdom It’s Really About Obedience, Pt 1


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