A Fearful Thing

Denver L. Thomas

The writer of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 10:31, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Fear of God differs from the fear that we generally think of in our day-to-day activities, such as fear of a poisonous snake, a biting dog, or, maybe, an intruder. There are also those who fear any number of things that are generally classified as phobias (claustrophobia, hydrophobia, etc.)

Perhaps a better way to view the fear of God is to view it as a healthy respect for Him and His will in the lives of all mankind. Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Obedience is what God has always desired from His creation. In Proverbs 1:7 we learn, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” James 3:17 tells us, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”

When Paul instructed Timothy to study (2 Timothy 2:15), surely, that was to provide knowledge of God’s word, and that same instruction is applicable for all today, as well. Knowledge of the Word provides the basis for our obedience to His every command. Jesus tells us in John 12:47-49, “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” Jesus also said in John 14:21, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”

Throughout the pages of the divine scriptures, we see His blessings bestowed upon those who did His will and cursing upon those who chose to ignore His commands. A common theme throughout the pages of the New Testament is to be prepared to meet Him in judgment (Matthew 24:44, Luke 1:17, Luke 12:40, Titus 3:1, I Peter 3:15, et al).

Being prepared presupposes obedience. For those prepared to meet Him, there will be no need to be fearful. In the judgment scene of Matthew 25:34, we read, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Obviously, these are they who have carried out His will in their lives while here upon the earth. However, in Matthew 25:41 we read, “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Verses 42ff show how these had failed in their duties during their lifetime. Revelation 21:8 tells us, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

The thought of death brings no sense of fear to those who are prepared to meet Him in the air on that great day (1 Thessalonians 4:13ff). Only those who are unprepared will have reason to be fearful. So, let us make ourselves ready for that day while opportunity exists. –PO Box 821, Milton, WV 25541.

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