Since the pandemic, we have seen how fear has gripped people. Fear was the great motivator for us to comply with all the demands we were being told on how to stay safe. However, many of us still got the virus even after complying to mask mandates, social distancing, and working from home. Fear still permeates our land as we talk about what is next.
Recently, I’ve been reading through the Book of Jeremiah and came across this Verse:
Jeremiah 2:19 Your own evil will discipline you; your own apostasies will reprimand you. Recognize how evil and bitter it is for you to abandon the Lord your God and to have no fear of me.
It is ironic how we live in a state of fear most of our lives:
· we fear war
· we fear each other
· we fear viruses
· we fear death
· we fear failure
· we fear not measuring up
· we live in a state of fear all the time
This state of fear that we live in fears everything except God. It is also ironic that when we don’t fear Him, the consequences are clear … we fear everything else. The phrase fearing the Lord means that there is no one above Him and He has the power to throw people into an eternal hell. That is what Jesus said we should fear:
Luke 12:5 But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear.
We have heard so much about the grace of God, the love of God, and the mercy of God, and that is so true and correct. As much love, forgiveness, and mercy God has for us, there is an equal side to His nature that is a judge who has the power to condemn. In our world, we have the idea that we need to fight for our rights, but in God's courts, there is no such right. With God there are no excuses, there is no defense, you have no rights … you are judged by God’s rules, not yours. It will be a sad day for those who have screamed all their lives … we have rights, we are fighting for our rights, this is unjust, and we will have our way. There are no rights before God and no one can rescue you from God’s judgment.
It will be quite a day for Hollywood, the lying politicians, the powerful dictators, the cheaters, the arrogant, the haters of God, the immoral, the pedophiles, the homosexuals, the transgenders, and the self-righteous religious people. They will stand before God and will understand that they will bow their knees and confess with their tongues that Jesus is Lord. They will be scared out of their minds. Why? They will understand what they did to deserve eternal death, and for the first time in their miserable lives, they will understand the meaning of fear.
Do you think this is harsh? Well think again … this is reality. I can’t even put into words what the day of judgment will be like for those who ignore God, who insult Him, and who blaspheme Him by the way they live their lives. The fear of the Lord means that you will not escape His wrath. His wrath is the other side of His love … this is one area that is often missing in our preaching in the modern church.
The only hope you and I have is Jesus Christ. He is God’s wrath bearer. He took God’s wrath to the Cross. At the Cross, it was satisfied for all who believe in Him. God is merciful because He gave us a way out. He provided His own Son to die in our place so we could be free from the wages of sin and have a life with God for eternity. So, why do people make fun of such an exchange, such a merciful act of love and forgiveness? It is beyond me, so what is left is the warning of wrath. That is what is left beyond rejecting Jesus and His offer of forgiveness:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Fear is the beginning of wisdom because it is a wise man who knows His God is both mercy and wrath and honors Him for both. You can live in the fear that is in this world, or you can live knowing a Savior who removes the wrath and damnation of God and gives you His promise of everlasting life. Now that is an exchange I am willing to accept. Are you?
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler