“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth
for the manifestation of the sons of God” – Romans 8:19.
“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
If there is any ticket to making it at the rapture it is the fear of the Lord. As we shall be seeing much later we require it after we have been saved to work out our salvation; that is what we need have and grow in to be perfecting holiness (God’s kind of life that takes to heaven); and it is actually the link between here (this side of eternity) and there (that eternity with the triune God), hence we are told to pass the time of our sojourning here in fear!
The fear of God or the want of it is what separates the few on the narrow way from the multitudes in the world and multitudes in the Church on the broad-way. The fear of God is what ‘begets’ those eternal sons of God that shall be manifested very soon. The fear of God: It is the beginning of wisdom!
In 1 Peter 1: 3-5 we read very encouragingly: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
The fear of God it is that never messes up that mercy; that lively hope; that incorruptible, and undefiled inheritance that fades not away, reserved in heaven for us: ‘Us’, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. And the place of the fear of God in being kept by the power of God in this matter of eternity with God cannot be overemphasized. What follows hereunder is an attempt to lay out the place of the fear of God vis-à-vis the manifestation of the eternal sons of God.
Grace, Holy Spirit, Fear of the Lord and the “Few”!
There is a coming great revelation: It will be in the last time! And that last time is here with us. It (the Rapture of the saints) can happen anytime! And all who walked the narrow path, the heavenly highway of holiness shall be manifested. They shall be the eternal sons of God that the earnest expectation of the creature waits for.
In Ephesians 1:10-12 we read very encouragingly also: “That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him: In Whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will: That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.” There is a coming great revelation: It will happen at the fullness of times! This is that dispensation. To say it again: And all who walked the narrow path, the heavenly highway of holiness shall be manifested. And theirs will then be eternal praise of His glory!
Christianity or the Christ-like life places huge demand on us and eschews lukewarm, it-doesn’t-matter and ease-in-Zion attitude. The Holy Spirit in 1Peter 1:13-17 has these admonitions for all heavenly pilgrims. “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. And if ye call on the Father, Who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear”.
Truly: there is no ease in Zion. There is a race to finish, a battle to win. There is a height to attain. So, we must gird up our loins; we must be sober; and we must hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ. We must be obedient children. We must not fashion ourselves according to the former lusts in our ignorance but be heavenly focused now that we have moved from ignorance into His marvelous light. That is to say:
We must not love the world, or the things that are in the world because if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him; and because all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world, and, lastly, because the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever (1John 2:15-17).
Who among men shall abide forever with God; who shall inhabit eternity with God! The answer is in holy living and fear of the Lord. Therefore this is God’s express command: ‘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. And if ye call on the Father, Who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear’.
That no unrighteousness will enter the Kingdom of God cannot be gainsaid, for it is a divinely given fact. That only the narrow way leads there cannot also be gainsaid because it is equally a divinely stated fact. Let God be true and every man a liar, says God’s Word in Romans 3: 4 and let’s represent it verbatim from verse 3-4: “For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.”
Fear of God, Path of God’s Commandments and Our Fathers
How imperative then is holy living and the fear of God! But thank God: It is by grace and the Spirit of the Lord. We must therefore tap into God’s grace continually. We must submit to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. With the help of His Spirit, we must endeavor not to frustrate His grace, and with the help of His grace we must endeavor not to grieve the Holy Spirit. We must not leave out grace and His Spirit any moment of our lives. We displease God, act foolishly and sin the very moment we leave out the fear of the Lord which is the strength of the holy living.
Charles Spurgeon in his very rich Daily Devotional prayed: “May the Holy Ghost make your heart obedient to the constraining power of Christ's love, that your prayer may be, ‘Make me to go in the path of Thy commandments; for therein do I delight.’” And in the very next line he admonished: “Grace is the mother and nurse of holiness, and not the apologist of sin.” We add that the fear of the Lord is fertile ground for grace.
But not very many people exploit this “beginning of wisdom”: The fear of the Lord! It is what makes us live holy and consequently makes us make heaven. It is the beginning of wisdom: And what wisdom indeed it is to live to please and glorify God; and the man wise indeed is him who lives to make eternity with God. The fear of the Lord ushers in grace which leads to holy living, and holy living ushers men into eternity with God. And surrendered life to the Holy Spirit helps coordinate all that. We must resolve to fear God. If we do, the flesh and its thoughts that turn men away from the thoughts and promptings of the Holy Spirit would have been overcome! Simple path for the pilgrim! But many trust in the arm of the flesh which always fails!
Proper and total fear of the Lord is what divides the Church from the world. And proper or total fear of the Lord with the life it produces and the service it renders that will define those who will make the rapture among all professors of Christianity. It is only those that truly and wholly fear the Lord that receives all Grace to live for Him and serve Him acceptably. To fear God is to abstain from all evils. To fear Him is to give Him the best of our lives and service. To fear Him is to do of His will and of His good pleasure. To fear Him is to live for Heaven. To fear God is to earnestly contend for the faith, fight the good fight of faith etc. In short: To fear God is to obey His commands! You cannot fear God and yet be seriously wanting in obedience!
In Exodus 18: 21 we read: “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” Finis Jennings Dake in Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible uses piety or true religion to explain the fear of God when he commented on that verse. He explains these fourfold qualification of leaders thus: Let them be able, capable men; God-fearing men, truly religious; Truthful men, honest and just; Men who hate covetousness, doing all things for God's sake and the love of man; laboring to promote the best public good so as to inspire others to live upright lives; and saw them again as general qualifications of ability, piety, truthfulness, and unselfishness.
The fear of God is what true religion is, and piety explains it. And piety is a strong respectful belief in God and strict observance of God’s Word in everyday life, and actions inspired by devout godly principles or biblical standard. It is a life that completely leans on Jesus and trusts Him all the way just as it craves more and more of Him till the “Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God” (1 Thessalonians 4: 16). Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) in “Savior, more than Life” captures it this way:
Savior, more than life to me,
I am clinging, clinging, close to Thee;
Let Thy precious blood applied,
Keep me ever, ever near Thy side.
Every day, every hour,
Let me feel Thy cleansing power;
May Thy tender love to me
Bind me closer, closer, Lord to Thee.
Through this changing world below,
Lead me gently, gently as I go;
Trusting Thee, I cannot stray,
I can never, never lose my way.
Let me love Thee more and more,
Till this fleeting, fleeting life is o’er;
Till my soul is lost in love,
In a brighter, brighter world above.
The fear of God, piety or becoming more and more like Christ: This is the Christianity that we find in the New Testament and that those who saw the Apostles, the likes of Ignatius and Polycarp knew and built on. I wrote in the article “Defining Christianity and Christ Call”: “Over the years whether with the Apostolic Fathers, The Reformers, Mennonites, Puritans, Quakers, early Methodists, early Pentecostals or other serious minded groups, very serious holy attempts were made to approximate the hallowed pages of The Book of Life where it all started.” Piety was a watchword in all those generations of Christians and Christianity. We hope to go to the same place with them. The standard for getting there has not and will not be lowered for us or any people because: God’s ways are equal, the Bible says. So, we must be encouraged to look to the generations of John Wycliffe (1330-1384), Thomas a Kempis, real name: Thomas Hemerken (1379-1471), Jan Hus or John Huss (1369?-1415), Martin Luther (1483-1546), Huldreich Zwingli (1484 - 1531), Menno Simon (1496 - 1561), John Calvin (1509-1564), John Knox (1513-1572), Richard Baxter (1615-1691), George Fox (1624-1691), John Bunyan (1628-1688), John Wesley (1703-1791), George Whitefield (1714-1770) et al, generations men tried hazardously to further erect wonderful structures befitting the wonderful foundation of the Apostles. And then came the generations of the like of Charles G. Finney, Dwight L. Moody, John Ryle, William and Catherine Booth, Matthew Henry, Watchman Nee, Finis Dake, Oswald J. Smith et al who further built brilliant structures on the foundation of the Apostles.
Piety and not ‘prosperity’ was the watchword with all these fathers of the faith through the generations. Piety breeds holiness, the God-kind of life or the conforming to the Image of Christ! The gates of hell do not prevail against this. This is the Christianity that ran through the ages with persecution and tribulation, of course, but which ‘worketh patience’ anyway for those that fear the Lord. Piety is the lifestyle of the Christian and there is no missing it as you read the Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles, Revelation and church history. It is not just only a life that leads to holiness and righteous living but helps us to “perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord”. So, again, it is the fear of the Lord that helps us to perfect holiness.
That is the path of the pilgrim; the path of those that really want to be among those to be manifested as eternal sons of God. Ages past knew this. And they engaged in it for their eternal good; for only those that faithfully walk this path have any hope of being among God’s final jewels, even those He will present to God as the chaste virgin (2 Corinthians 11: 2), the glorious Church without spot, wrinkle, or blemish (Ephesians 5: 27), the building with each building block well fitted (Ephesians 4: 11-16). Isn’t Christianity a very serious matter? We re-echo Spurgeon once again: ‘Grace is the mother and nurse of holiness, and not the apologist of sin’.
O but what age is this! The Word of God interpreted by His Spirit (and not by our flesh) is the sure guide, and obeyed is safe haven now and eternally. It is very bad and dangerous not to erect further structures on that pure and holy foundation of the Apostles. It is worse and more dangerous to attempt to erect questionable structures on it. And it is worst and most dangerous to attempt another foundation altogether! God shall judge all in the Church with His Word, so, all must endeavor to live and serve Him according to His Word as interpreted strictly by His Spirit and not by our flesh or senses that are given to feigning the ways of God for selfish reasons. That is what the fear of God means. That is piety. That is true religion: Real Christianity. After all, we live for His glory; and we live for His pleasure. And all who live for His glory and pleasure, share of His glory and pleasure graciously, now; and graciously overwhelmingly in all eternity.
The Want of the Fear of God
Satan and his people have their form of piety or fear of demons and demonic covenants. Because Satan coerces and is instantly merciless when those covenant terms are broken the sorcerers, occults and the false religions adherents fear the devil and keep those terms at all cost if even it will mean killing loved ones or God’s real people. They are zealous for evil! It is their own devoutness, their own form of piety, and their own way of being true to the terms of their covenants.
God doesn’t coerce. He wants us to act the god He has made each one of us. But He advises against the wrong action and tells you the end result; just as He counsels on the good action and its benefits and points the right way you should go. And He expects you to use your freewill thereafter to act rightly. And when you decide to act contrarily (which is what sin is, and that for want of the fear of God) though you are instantly guilty and condemned but its execution may not be instant. So, “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” – Ecclesiastics 8:11. Sons of men: including multitude in the pews and many in the pulpits. But hear God in the next two verse, i.e. verses 12 and 13 of Ecclesiastic 8: “Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God (Italics are mine). The fear of the Lord! That is the deciding factor.
“Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” – Romans 2:4-5 The fear of the Lord now is what frees in ‘the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God’ ahead.
The New Testament is full with instructions like ‘abstain from all appearance of evil’’, ‘flee fornication’. ‘flee also youthful lust’, ‘love not the world, neither the things that are in the world’, ‘you shall not worship God and mammon’, ‘beware of covetousness’, come out from among them’, ‘be ye separate’, ‘touch not the unclean things’, ‘resist the devil’; ‘watch and be sober’, ‘be vigilant’, ‘hold fast the form of sound words’, ‘strive to enter in at the strait gate’, ‘earnestly contend for the faith’, ‘work out your own salvation with fear and trembling’, ‘pass the time of your sojourning here in fear’, endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ’; ‘seek ye first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness ’, ‘be ye holy’, ‘exercise yourself rather unto godliness’, ‘awake to righteousness’, ‘love one another with a pure heart fervently’, ‘present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God’, ‘mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth’; ‘set your affection on things above’, ‘lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven’ condescend to men of low estate’, let your moderation be made known to all’; study to show yourself approved unto God’, ‘search the Scriptures’ ‘hold fast the form of sound words’, ‘speak the things which become sound doctrine’; ‘look unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith who … ENDURED THE CROSS, DESPISING THE SHAME’, ‘let this mind be in you which was also in Christ’, ‘take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me’, ‘take your cross and follow Me’; ‘think on these things’, and countless others!
They are all addressing the subject matter of the fear of God, piety or true godly religion. Or, what shall we say of examples of saints, written down for us, who strove unto death fighting sin, who pressed on to the mark of the price of the high calling, who hazarded their lives for the Gospel, who fought a good fight, who took the Kingdom of God by violent’, who left all to follow Jesus, who exercise consciences void of offence toward God and man and sundry other Christian lifestyle that should go before us for an idea of Christianity: A serious race and battle. A heavenly race and a battle to be free and eternally free from Satan cannot really be otherwise. Grace tapped plants us on success path, makes us more than conqueror and guarantees final success. Grace should not be frustrated. The fear of God does not frustrate grace, and it is also the fertile ground of grace. Sound doctrines thought and obeyed is the fruit of grace.
Really, there are more than enough heaven-ward subject matters to engage our pulpits and pews anytime. Where are the hymns and spiritual songs of yesteryears that endear hearts to heaven now sang? O the great devotional hymns of truly spiritual men that takes sin and the world away from us, brightens the pilgrim’s path, brightens up the heavenly way and sets our hearts irrevocably on that City that hath foundation Whose Builder is God! It is almost only in our age with no clime exempted that mammon or making it physically is almost always the subject matter! Messages and songs hardly now address the occupant of the house that lives eternally but the house (the flesh) housing it which is like a vapor, now is and nowhere after now. And it is the occupant of the house that is the subject matter of the Rapture. It is the occupant that is the real man and that shall be manifested if given to piety, fear of the Lord or true religion, albeit with a new (spiritual) body that never dies; for this one – this flesh – housing it now and indeed beclouding it and taking all the attention at its expense shall be no more but return to dust.
See this: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
Contrast this with the present ‘mammonism’, pomp and pageantries, and ostentations passing for Christianity today! How to go about this Christian race: What a command, what example we find in those verses! Dare we listen to contrary messages? Dare we follow contrary examples? ‘So run’, ‘strive for mastery’, ‘be temperate or self-controlled’, ‘so fight’, ‘keep body under’, and ‘bring body into subjection’: It is grace upon him that fears God that can make all that possible or it is the fear of God naturally receiving grace that can make all that good. ‘So run’, ‘strive for mastery’, ‘be temperate or self-controlled’, ‘so fight’, ‘keep body under’, and ‘bring body into subjection’: It is either we allow Bible definition of Christianity or we embrace the new age, flesh-driven, and even apparently occult-influenced or sponsored definition of ‘Christianity’.
The fear of God knows the definition of Christianity not only to align with but also to employ and work with to walk the path that leads to being manifested as sons of God: the narrow path that leads to God which true pilgrims trod in the very serious onward march to Zion, the City of the Most High God! It was, still is and always will be a heavenly highway of holiness. And God will always eschew sin, the love of the world, weights and yokes no matter how ‘dazzling’ messages sponsored by flesh, and so by Satan, feigned and present them in the pulpits. We should eschew them too.
“For we are not as many, which corrupt the Word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ” – 2 Corinthians 2:17. And in 2 Corinthians 4:1-2 we read: “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the Word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God”.
It is the want of the fear of God that has made many a ministers to use their pulpits to promote mammon at the expense of piety and holiness. In Prosperity, Eternity: Why Receive, Why Give a chapter: “Between Holiness and ‘Prosperity’ Preaching”, deals with this sorry mammon invasion of the church and its affront on real Christianity. It is the want of the fear of the Lord that make many a church ministers love the things of the world and present same to their itching ears people with feigned and colored words who, of course, readily swallow them down!
How a fearful way God puts it in Isaiah 56:10-11: “His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.” There are many a watchmen who cannot bark today on the subject matter of sin and unrighteousness like John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and the Apostles and early disciples of the Lord. All because ‘they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter’, and the itching ears congregations love it so. It is the want of the fear of God that shall make many (blind leaders and blind followers) fall into the ditch.
It is the want of the fear of God that is making men to remove the ancient landmarks and foundation of the Apostles and preaching another gospel, which is not another anyway! It is the want of the fear of the Lord that has apparently silenced or sidelined the proper place of preaching against sin and unrighteousness in many a church today. It is the want of the fear of the Lord that has disturbingly promoted what God says He will add at the very sad expense of what He says we should seek.
It is the want of God’s fear that has promoted mundane things in the so-called church than purely heavenly matters. It is the want of the fear of God in many a pulpits that is making our world churchy and our churches worldly – with no clear-cut difference between some churches today and the world they are supposed to salt and light. It is the want of the fear of the Lord that fills the broad-way leading to hell with the many that finds it; and it is its want that shall leave untold number, in and outside the Church, behind in the rapture.
We read in Romans 14: 17: “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost”. And what great pair of parables Jesus brought together in Matthew 13:44-46 and the unmistaken message about the Kingdom of God and the kind of Christian life that gets in there: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”
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 are 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.