Have you noticed an increase in books about the credibility of the Bible? An increase in books about the ‘real meaning’ of the Bible? An increase in books and authors that try to change or reinterpret the hard truths of God’s Word?
I have and it worries me.
Sadly there are many voices in the world that teach what people want to hear and not the truth of the Bible. Some people would have you believe that it’s perfectly possible to live as you please and just add Jesus to your lifestyle. Some people would have you believe that it is ok to have a ‘new perspective’ on a Bible passage, because the Bible is old fashioned. Some people would have you believe that God is all about love, blessings and heaven, so there’s no need to talk about judgement and hell. Over the past few weeks I’ve read 2 books that clearly go against the teaching of the Bible and they are by well known people. This saddens me because people are being caught up by teaching that is wrong. It saddens me because some people can have a hope of salvation that is based on lies. But I’ve also read 2 other books that are written to give people an introduction to the Bible and basic theology.
Why do we have this problem? Why are so many people being mislead into following false teaching?
I believe that the reason is that we have lost our sense of a fear of God!
By fear I don’t mean a petrified, shacking in our boots, terrified kind of fear. I mean a healthy fear, a sense of awe and reverence for who God is. If Christians had a healthy fear of the Lord then people wouldn’t try to manipulate or change God’s Word to be more suiting to culture. If we had a real fear of the Lord then we’d want to call each other to repentance. If we had a real fear of the Lord then we would want to live according to His commands and we’d be calling all nations to come and follow Him!
But how can we truly fear what we don’t understand? We will never be able to comprehend the depths and greatness of God, but He has revealed Himself to us in His Word. Therefore, to know Him we must know His Word and if we know Him then we should fear Him.
Try this little exercise for a month and see how it changes your attitude of fear and reverence before the Lord…
Each day as you read your Bible write down on a piece of paper some of the attributes, characteristics and names that describe God. When you write down a name or a characteristic, think about it and the implications that has on your life. Think about the implications that it has for the world and think about how it challenges your devotion to God.
If you do that for a month you’ll see that we focus on just a few attributes and characteristics of God. You’ll see that our songs focus on just a fraction of who He has revealed Himself to be. I hope that doing that for a month will fill you with awe as you meditate day and night on God and it will lead you to fear Him more.
Fearing God doesn’t mean that we have no sense of familiarity with Him, but it prevents us from speaking to the Almighty Creator and Powerful God like He is our mate that we go out for drinks with. We should be familiar with God but we cannot lose our sense of reverence and fear that He deserves.
Such a fear of God will protect us from false teaching, cause us to desire to sing wonderful truths about His whole character and it will give us a desire to serve Him wholeheartedly.
If we grasp just a little bit more of who it is that we worship people wouldn’t be so quick as to twist His Word. If only we grasped the seriousness of His call to repent and believe, then a life of obedience would be easier. If only we really understood our own weakness and fallenness and His majesty, then we would worship Him and serve Him alone.
Having a healthy fear of the Lord is a good and proper thing. He is holy and we are sinful. He is pure and we are broken. He is righteous and we are wicked. He is gracious and we are recipients of that grace, therefore, we should love, honour, respect, serve, be in awe and fear Him.