Monday, February 9, 2009

Arthur W. Pink On The Fear Of God

One day last week my daily Grace Gem email was an excerpt from Arthur Pink asking several questions that all begin with the words, Why is it...? Since I have asked myself some of these same questions from time to time I thought it would be worth posting this and making a few comments myself.

A.W. Pink begins by asking the question:
Why is it that, today, the masses are so utterly unconcerned about spiritual and eternal things, and that they are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God?
I think we can all agree that this is a perfect description of the majority of the people in the world (and even in the "church," I'm sorry to say) today. So why is that? Is this just a symptom of living in the last days or is there something more going on here? The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy saying:
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5
We could look at this passage and say that this does not apply to the church, but to the world, and it certainly does sound like the world that we are living in, but before you come to that conclusion look again at what Paul said in verse five, "having the appearance of godliness..."This is what the world looks like today, but in a lot of cases this is also what the "church" looks like today.
Why is it that defiance of God is becoming more open, more blatant, more daring? The answer is, because "There is no fear of God before their eyes" (Romans 3:18).

How many times have you heard it said that fear means respect or awe when the Bible tells us to fear God? There is a sense in which that is true, but when the Bible tells us to fear God I think there is also a sense in which fear means fear, and we have become so comfortable with God that we no longer fear Him. The Bible tells us that we are to fear the one who can destroy our soul in hell (Matthew 10:28); the Bible tells us that God is a consuming fire(Hebrews 12:29); the Bible tells us that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31) and yet we have no fear of God before our eyes.
Why is it that the authority of the Scriptures has been lowered so sadly of late? Why is it that even among those who profess to be the Lord's people, that there is so little real subjection to His Word, and that its precepts are so lightly esteemed and so readily set aside?
Is it because even though we say that we believe the Bible to be the inerrant, inspired, Holy Spirit breathed word of God we really don't. I mean if we truly believed that this was God's word to us - His people - wouldn't we live our lives differently? Jesus told us to go into all the world and make disciples, but when was the last time you actually shared your faith with the person waiting on your table at the restaurants you frequent?

The apostle Paul wrote that we are to flee from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18) and that no impurity is to even be named among us (Ephesians 5:3) yet how many of us are still entertained by the sexually explicit material that is broadcast into our homes every evening on the TV? Sure, it may not be X-Rated, but is it pure and does it portray the life that God's word calls us to?

There are many, many more things we could look at (but I am starting to feel conviction myself). I just want you to ask yourself this question, Do I really believe that the Bible is God's word and if I really do would I be doing .... ?

Arthur Pink then concludes with this:
Ah! what needs to be stressed today--is that God is a God to be feared! Happy is the person who has been awed by a view of God's majesty, who has had a vision of . . .
  • God's unutterable greatness,
  • His ineffable holiness,
  • His perfect righteousness,
  • His irresistible power,
  • His sovereign grace!

Time was, when it was the general custom to speak of a believer as "a God-fearing man". That such an appellation has become extinct--only serves to show where we have drifted. Nevertheless, it still stands written, "Like as a father pities His children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him!" Psalm 103:13

When we speak of godly fear, of course, we do not mean a servile fear, such as prevails among the heathen in connection with their gods. No! We mean that spirit which Jehovah is pledged to bless, that spirit to which the prophet referred when he said, "To this man will I will look--even to him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at My Word." Isaiah 66:2

Nothing will foster this godly fear, like a recognition of the sovereign majesty of God!
I encourage you to take some time today, get alone, open your Bible, and see what you can learn about the majesty and sovereignty and holiness of God, because I can promise you that when you begin to see God for who He really is you will not be the same.
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