Disastrousness of the Want of the Fear of God
Compare that with Peter’s great testimony and the great question that followed it and the equally great answer Jesus gave to Peter and all like Peter: “Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first” – Matthew 19:27-30.
In the context of Matthew 19: 27-30 it is clear that both forsaking all and following Jesus or otherwise determines the last that shall be first or the first that shall be last respectively. It takes the fear of God to forsake all: self, the world, its lust and pride, the mundane and perishable things of the world and even the things that were gain to us, to follow Jesus, to know and bear shame and reproach with Him without looking back but, rather, steadfastly leaning on Him Who leads the way with wonderful succor by His Spirit and from His eternal Word, and so not missing the heavenly vision and the clear path that leads there.
Yes, there will be mockers around, there will be persecution and tribulation but there is a cord within that link us with Heaven: First, the cord of son-ship by our salvation when we were called into the household of God because we gave over our sins unto God on the Cross of Calvary where Jesus died for us and where His righteousness was imputed to us, and second by the cord of obedience to His commandments because of the fear of God and by which obedience we refuse to take back our past sins and refuse to commit new sins (and when we do slip we quickly repent, make amend and get restored back to Him), this being a lifestyle that attracts another Cord, the Cord of the Spirit and which cord further strengthens both the cords of son-ship and of the fear of God and all three cords or three-fold cord constantly and more firmly linking us with Heaven until they or it makes us (the ‘called’ of yesterday) the chosen, and so shall we be with God eternally. Indeed, many are called but few are chosen. The fear of God makes the difference.
God is still asking: “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a Father, where is Mine honour? and if I be a Master, where is My fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise My Name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised Thy Name?” – Malachi 1: 6. May we not be as unmindful of God as those OT brethren! There is much, much too glaring hitting our eyes and senses that should prevent us from asking ‘wherein have we despised Thy Name?’ May we be earnest with ourselves and take to heart this eternal counsel of Scripture: “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire” – Hebrews 12:28-29.
The want of the fear of the Lord is the reason many who says unto Him ‘Lord, Lord shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; and the reason many laborers and workers who have prophesized in His Name, cast out devils in His Name and done many wonderful works in His Name shall hear the eternally damning words on that great day: “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: Depart from Me, ye that work iniquity” (Please read all of Matthew 7: 21-23).
Piety: Place of More Grace for those to be manifested!
Piety or the fear of God makes the difference. It is life of consecration and dedication to the will and purpose of God. It is what helps in putting all on the altar of sacrifice and helps in taking nothing away. It is what positions us to taking our cross and following Jesus all the way, laying our hands on the plow and not looking back, pressing on to the high price of our calling, and fulfilling our ministry. It is life of trusting and obeying Jesus always; it is life of sweet and unbroken fellowship; it is a life of unfeigned love for God, the brethren and man; it is a life of peace and joy; it is the strength of constancy of faith, patience, perseverance and faithfulness; it is a life that aspires after Heaven; it is a life that anticipates Heaven, and much more. IT IS A LIFE OF GRACE THAT MAKES ALL THAT POSSIBLE. It is the beginning of wisdom. The fear of God!
It is the fear of the Lord that leads lives and services that is all God-glorifying and all-pleasing to God. This is what enlists us for the Rapture or signs us up; because everything in the life that fears God is assuredly guided by the Holy Spirit Who supplies all graces! We live for God, for His pleasure and His glory. It is only the life that fears the Lord that lives for God, for His pleasure and His glory. No one will be manifested as God’s eternal son who presently do not fear God and honor God’s Word (exalted above all His Names) enough. It must be our desire to start from this beginning of wisdom and the grace to keep us holy and help us do holy service will be ours progressively, even beyond our imagination. Faith of our fathers is ‘Piety’.
None of us is qualified for salvation. By grace we are saved. But we are commanded to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Ephesians 2: 12). Piety! That salvation we got by grace must be worked in and worked with until it works itself out in the final salvation; the very purpose of the first salvation anyway. And it works itself out by grace when we employ ourselves in it with fear and trembling. That is, to be what God wants us (our lives and services) to be presently and progressively without detour; and if peradventure we slip we find a swift resort to our first love. Or, it is always desiring and ensuring we lead our lives and our undertakings for Christ as He wants us do, with His sacrifice on the Cross for us always in view and with our eternal habitation with Him always equally in view. Holiness! And here again we are commanded to perfect it (holiness) in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7: 1). That is, we work out our salvation with fear and trembling; and we perfect holiness with reverential fear. And we must endeavor not to frustrate grace, for by it we are kept. It is the fear of the Lord that does not frustrate grace. The life of piety is that life that does not frustrate grace. Rather it receives more and more grace.
Indeed: From the moment we are saved through our walk in holiness till the rapture the very express admonition is; “pass the time of your sojourning here in fear” (1 Peter 1: 17). And how do you do that? Verses 13- 16 before it answer it clearly. It reads: “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” Piety or the fear of the Lord helps us to ‘hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Here: We have no certain place, nothing of our own, nothing endearing, nothing to grab, nothing to make us miss our fix (good understanding), focus (of concentrated quality) or gaze (fixed look) of our destination (that unceasingly unfolding destiny that is eternal with God Who inhabits eternity), and nowhere here to lay our treasure. We a
re pilgrims here! And the enemy of our souls has so much here to entice us with, with a view to miss or compromise that heavenly focus. Like Joseph, the fear of God with the grace it attracts is what makes us more than conqueror.
The Josephs of the New Testament would want to respond thus to all those enticements that tempt or denials of rights that tend to cause many questions in the heart and a going back to ones vomits or the persecutions, tribulations with their darts and coerciveness: ‘How shall I sin against My God and Savior Who love me so much to die for my sin and thus to save me from eternal destruction in eternal fire of God’s wrath prepared for Satan and his hosts, even this God and Savior Who has gone to prepare a place for ME so to inhabit eternity of felicity and bliss with Him and is coming shortly to take ME to that indescribable Home of MINE in that land fairer than day?’
The fear of God is recognition of what God is and what He has done for us and not paying back with bad coins. The fear of God is total reverence for God for Who He is and what He is or has done for us. The fear of God is total submission to His will and purpose because of Who He is and What He has done for us. Recognizing, reverencing, and submitting to God’s will and purpose (or unquestionable obedience to God) for Who He is and Who He is to us is the fear of God. The fruit is holiness of life and service.
A life of righteousness and holiness and service in righteousness and holiness is our best expression of obedience to God. Obedience to God is our best expression of the fear of God or piety. This is our love for Him. And remember that grace “reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” – Romans 5:21. After salvation may we continue to dwell where we can continue to tap more and more of grace until the Son of Righteousness will come and take the righteous and holy or those who obey God or fear God home with Him.
What about Non-Conformity!
May we fear God! That is where the grace to live holy is. That is when we can present our bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service; that is when we will not conform to this world, but will be transformed by the renewing of our mind, so that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God – Romans 12: 1-2. We shall read it verbatim: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”.
The Fear of God and non-conformity to the world and what it means to being manifested as eternal sons of God is what our next topic is about.