“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth
for the manifestation of the sons of God” – Romans 8:19.
“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” – Romans 12: 1-2.
“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him Who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” – 2Timothy 2: 3-5.
Nonconformity or not conforming to the world is expression of piety or fear of God. The opposite of not conforming to the world is conforming to Christ’s Image or the heavenly life. Non-conformity which we see in Bible and which our fathers in the faith throughout history held on to is almost not with us today. Yet, God has in no time lower the standard or will He ever do because His ways are equal (Ezekiel 18 25, 29). The same yardstick for making heaven applies to all! Only the violent since the days of John the Baptist takes the Kingdom (Matthew 11: 12).
The fear of the Lord, piety or nonconformity: What a place it has taken in the life of pilgrims since the days of John the Baptist! Check church history. This age cannot and should not be otherwise.
Piety is true religion or real Christianity, as we saw in our previous work. This is the trademark or distinctive characteristic of the Christian and of Christianity. Nonconformity is its key expression. Piety or nonconformity: How so vital in presenting our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, this being our reasonable service; and how vital in transforming us through the renewing of our mind so that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Nonconformity or not conforming to the world but rather being heavenly conscious or living for heaven sums up the Christian race. This is the heart of piety or the fear of God.
In 2Timothy 2: 3-5 we also see that not conforming to the world is the only way of pleasing God Who has chosen us to be soldiers: “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him Who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” To get the crown is to strive lawfully; to strive lawfully is not to love the world or entangle ourselves with it; and not to love the world is to love God and the same translates to or doubles as the fear of God or piety.
Between the Fear of God and the Love of God
To love God and to fear God are inseparable. And we would presently dwell on the relationship between the fear of God and the love of God before we take up the subject matter of the fear of God vis-à-vis nonconformity with the world (which is also the same as not entangling ourselves with the world or not loving the world and the things in the world – lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and pride of Life). Some think they see in 1 John 4:17-18 reason why they should not fear God thinking what matters is to love God; and that loving God ‘cast out the fear of God’. No! That Scripture reads:
“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love”.
That Scripture is not saying that we don’t need to have godly fear. Rather, it is talking about fearlessness in approaching the throne of grace, about death and about the day of judgment because we feared God enough to flee sin and all unrighteousness and do His will which is the best or indeed almost the only expression of our love for Christ; and in this there is no fear: In approaching His throne, in the matter of death and the coming judgment. Or, as Dake would say: “By God dwelling in us, by our dwelling in Him, by having the fullness of love in our lives, and by the perfection of that love in daily manifestation, we may have boldness in the day of judgment. This is possible because we are like God – holy, pure, loving, good, and true – in this world (Titus 2:11-12)”.
‘He that feareth is not made perfect in love’ it says. Dake comes handy: “The one who dreads judgment has a reason to fear. His love is not perfect. He must purify himself, as in 1 John 1:7; 1 John 3:1-10; 1 John 5:1-18. One should have Godly fear (Psalm 2:11; Psalm 15:4; Psalm 19:9; Psalm 34:7-11; Psalm 85:9; Psalm 103:11; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 3:7; Proverbs 8:13; Proverbs 14:27; 2 Cor. 7:1). The ungodly do not have this kind of fear (Psalm 36:1; Psalm 55:19; Romans 3:18)”.
Hear Joseph telling Potipher’s wife: “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Look at that statement carefully. You find both the fear and love of God there: They go together. The partner who loves his or her spouse would fear to offend him or her. If we love God we would dread to offend Him.
And we offend Him when we sin, disobey Him or do contrary to His stated will in Scriptures, in our consciences and in our hearts. For these and other bases of the coming Judgment see Chapter 8, “The Great White Throne Judgment”, in my Pondering Eternity. Not to offend Him, is to fear Him. And not to offend Him, is to love Him.
‘If you love Me, keep My commandment’ He says; but beyond a strong appeal to love Him that we see here, we also see an inherently strong appeal to fear Him. Then also remember He says: ‘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? – Malachi 1: 6; and beyond this strong query we see here concerning fearing Him, we also see an inherently strong appeal to love Him. To say it again: The fear of God and the love of God are inseparable. One makes no meaning without the other.
“And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul” – Deuteronomy 10:12. This beginning of wisdom or the fear of God leads to obedience which is the evidence of loving God. And loving God leads to obedience which is, again, the evidence of fearing God. It is all about obedience. This is the goal of both the fear of God and the love of God!
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil – Proverbs 8:13; the fear of the Lord is to depart from evil – Proverbs 3:7; the fear of the Lord is not to envy sinners and their acquisitions and also not wanting to be like them – Proverbs 23:17. “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death” – Proverbs 14:27. Compare that with this: “The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death” – Proverbs 13:14. Both the fear of the Lord and the law of the wise (Scriptures) are fountain of life. And again, the fear of the Lord and the law of the wise (Scriptures) give the same effect, which is: departure from the snares of death, or from the snares of eternal damnation in eternal fire. All of those must give us the goal of the fear of the Lord: Total obedience to Scriptures to get His blessings untold, now and in all eternity. And that is the goal of love for God too.
“In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence and His children shall have a place of refuge” – Proverbs 14:26. Strong confidence! Compare this with 1 John 4:17-18 already visited above whilst considering ‘perfect love casting away fear’. The love of God and the fear of God give same effect. Like love, those that fear God are fearless in approaching the throne of grace. Also, they don’t fear death or the Day of Judgment. Strong confidence! More than that: They have a place of refuge, even an eternal place of refuge! And so, they could say with John the beloved: ‘Even so, come Lord Jesus’. Like love, like the fear of God.
To fear God is not to love the world; it is nonconformity with the world. And to love God is not to love the world; it is nonconformity with the world. To love God and to fear God are inseparable.
Nonconformity: Separation begets Separation!
So, as we were saying: ‘No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him Who hath chosen him to be a soldier’. ‘And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully’. Real Christianity is what takes to heaven. To know this and to lay it to heart is a problem solved halfway. And to live so, is the other half solved. But to be full back to this and go ahead to thrill our flesh and justify our fancies in the pulpit and pew leads the disastrous way.
May God help us to perpetually fear and love Him enough as not to love the world and as not to be entangled in our heart with it! Let our messages and songs point upward so that our eyes can look upward and our hearts fixed there. In this, these things the world seek after will be added unto us; because, as messages, songs and living or lives point up, our problems drop down and as it is written in the Old Testament: “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” – Psalm 37: 25; and in the New Testament: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” – Matthew 6:33.
See the following Bible command on Christian separation or nonconformity with the world: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
Is this not clear and unmistaken enough! To be separated now, is to be received of God. All who shall finally be separated from the rest of humanity; dead and alive, are those who separated themselves from unrighteousness, darkness, the Belials, infidels and idols in the world (and, sorry to say, in the church – pulpit and pew); in short, those who are not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: That is, those who fear or love God enough ‘not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly, not to stand on the way of sinners, and not to sit on the seat of the scornful but their delight is the law of the Lord, and of which law they with fear and trembling meditate on and obey, and thus prosper continually thereby now and, more so, in all of eternity just as they will constitute the eternal congregation of the righteous, a congregation without the ungodly since they (the ungodly) cannot stand in the judgment; ‘for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, a way though narrow but certainly leading to eternal bliss; but the way of the ungodly shall perish; that is, the broad-way, trod by all in the world and many in the church, shall empty itself in eternal fire of torment’ – being my humble paraphrase of parts of Psalm 1.
I introduced the article “Defining Christianity and Christ Call”, earlier mentioned in the previous work – “Fear of God and Manifestation of the Sons of God”, this way: “This is sad, very sad: The ‘church’ has become unimaginably too worldly today; and the world has become unthinkably too churchy today. The ‘church’ has given the world mere religion as against Christianity. The ‘church’ and the world today are become like one stream flowing with same source and apparently heading the same way. Few men and women, however, cannot be blinded to the fact that true Christianity (The Church) is a stream with a different source, different path and heading different way from that of the world. The church (now, the real church, that is) never meets with the world. Yes, it is in the world but not of it. It is in the world as light to drive away its thick darkness and not to borrow it. It is in the world to point captives of its darkness to the Bright and Morning Star and not to embrace the darkness and its depth, which is hell”.
Romans 13:11-14 is very critical to the Christian race: “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” This is a clarion call or urgent message to all pilgrims, strangers in this world and saints walking their way to the City that has foundation, Whose Builder is God!
Commenting in his Daily Devotional on Romans 8: 12: “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors", Charles Spurgeon has this to say about that verse of Scripture vis-à-vis the subject matter of presenting our bodies living sacrifice:
“As God's creatures, we are all debtors to Him: to obey Him with all our body, and soul, and strength. Having broken His commandments, as we all have, we are debtors to His justice, and we owe to Him a vast amount which we are not able to pay. But of the Christian it can be said that he does not owe God's justice anything, for Christ has paid the debt His people owed; for this reason the believer owes the more to love. I am a debtor to God's grace and forgiving mercy; but I am no debtor to His justice, for He will never accuse me of a debt already paid. Christ said, ‘It is finished!’ and by that He meant, that whatever His people owed was wiped away forever from the book of remembrance. Christ, to the uttermost, has satisfied divine justice; the account is settled; the handwriting is nailed to the cross; the receipt is given, and we are debtors to God's justice no longer. But then, because we are not debtors to our Lord in that sense, we become ten times more debtors to God than we should have been otherwise. Christian, pause and ponder for a moment. What a debtor thou art to divine sovereignty! How much thou owest to His disinterested love, for He gave His own Son that He might die for thee. Consider how much you owe to His forgiving grace, that after ten thousand affronts He loves you as infinitely as ever. Consider what you owe to His power; how He has raised you from your death in sin; how He has preserved your spiritual life; how He has kept you from falling; and how, though a thousand enemies have beset your path, you have been able to hold on your way. Consider what you owe to His immutability. Though you have changed a thousand times, He has not changed once. Thou art as deep in debt as thou canst be to every attribute of God. To God thou owest thyself, and all thou hast – yield thyself as a living sacrifice, it is but thy reasonable service”.
Paul or New Testament’s Great Appeal to Pilgrims!
Note that Paul began Romans 12 by saying “I beseech you by the mercies of God…” What an appeal by the Spirit through one that truly fears God! What an appeal to us to fear God! What an invitation to piety! Then in verse three we read: “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith”. Besides mentioning ‘grace’ immediately after his appeal, he seems to address church ministers and people (or ‘every man that is among you’) who take lightly the subject matter of piety to be sober. To be sober means ‘to be serious’, and in what else if not about God and eternal or heavenly matters or the things God says we should seek; and it also means ‘not intoxicated’, and in what else if not with the world, temporal and things God says He will add if we seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness.
I am afraid the subject matter of ‘prosperity’, ‘breakthrough’, deliverance’ and ‘miracles’ in ‘Christendom’ today has taken Christianity to mere bread and butter thing. Paul says if it is so then, let us eat and tomorrow we die. But no: There is eternity! And so, Christianity is a most serious matter. Too sad ‘prosperity’, ‘breakthrough’, ‘deliverance’ and ‘miracles’ are being drained of their foremost and weightier spiritual meanings. Where is the subject matter of prosperity of the soul, of breakthrough from sin and unrighteousness, of the souls deliverance from sin and its grip and of the miracle of salvation of the soul and keeping it saved and unsoiled until its final salvation when the sons of God will be manifested and so be with God forever and ever?
God is not willing that any soul perish: the heart of the Gospels, the heart of Acts of the Apostles, the heart of the Epistles and the heart of the Book of Revelation are all about snatching the soul from Satan and this world and preparing it for Heaven! It is all about eternal matters and eternity with God. For anyone to primarily think or present Christianity otherwise is to think ‘more highly than he ought to think’, or to erect structures of stubbles on the solid foundation of the Apostles. It may even be to preach another gospel or to raise new foundation. But we are commanded to think soberly: Seriousness with God according to His terms. That is, we must allow the Holy Spirit to dictate and lead, and not the flesh. That is righteousness. That is obedience. That is the fear of God. That is piety. That is the surest way of being among the eternal sons of God that will soon be manifested.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 is very instructive and tells in no unmistaken way the secret of making it at last to God’s habitation and to getting His eternal rewards: “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.” We have commented on these verses in our previous work. Christianity is a very serious race. But grace runs it with us. And grace should not be frustrated! The fear of God it is that does not frustrate God.
Someone asked in Scriptures: “Are there few that shall be saved?” The Lord Jesus Christ is just too plain and clear about it. Few shall be saved, He told us. And we know He is not just always damned right but that He is actually the Truth. But we can be among the few. The fear of the Lord which helps us live a life that glorifies God is the key.
When Paul says “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men” – Acts 24: 16, he is talking about piety or fear of God. And when he by the Spirit tells Timothy and all of us to exercise ourselves ‘unto godliness’ (1Timothy 4: 7) he is appealing to piety or the fear of God. The verb to ‘exercise’ employed in both his example and his admonition is very instructive and shows the serious nature of the Christian race.
We must exercise ourselves unto godliness to win eternal life. This is the demand of Christianity. This is what the fear of God or piety is about. And so, of course, we cannot afford to be conformed to this world nor can we be comfortable with being with the multitudes. And not the attendant persecution will deter because “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” – 2 Timothy 3:12; but rather, we should by grace “endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” – 2 Timothy 2:3.
W. F. Kumuyi, one of the leading ministers in this age by the grace of God, has a tract titled: “Others may, I cannot”. That is the language of piety and the life of piety if made good. That is the fear of God if lived out. The fear of God or piety takes us from the crowd into the inner circle of the Lord’s company. Here everything matters. Everything is weighed on God’s balance scale to see if He approves of it or not or to know His will on it. And His Spirit and His Word is the sure guide.
Piety, the fear of God or nonconformity is the antidote for backsliding, compromise, worldliness, fleshly urges and carnal desires, cunning fables and feigned words from not heaven-minded preachers. So true, we cannot overstate it: It plants us on the narrow path that leads to eternity with God; the path of the true and heaven-minded pilgrims; the path of the few who shall make it at the Rapture of the saints of the Lord. It is a life of sweet grace, and of Holy Spirit empowerment to live for God and for His pleasure.
Moses or Old Testament’s Must-Prayer by all Pilgrims
“Who knoweth the power of Thine anger? even according to Thy fear, so is Thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” – Psalm 90:11-12. ‘Who knows the power of Thine wrath’, Moses asks. “Multitudes of angels, demons, and men will know the power of God's anger which had kindled a fire in the lowest hell (Deuteronomy 32:22)”, Dake comments. ‘Even according to Thy fear, so is Thy wrath’, Moses says. “God's wrath in hell will be equal to the reverence He has demanded and which the wicked have refused to give”, Dake, again, comments.
But we discover two great things here: The place of prayer in the fear of God and the place of God as the teacher in the matter of the fear of God. It is God Himself that teaches His fear to willing and craving hearts who desire to fear Him: “Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God” – Proverbs 2:3-5. Again: “Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread” – Isaiah 8:13. In this fear of the Lord, the Lord Himself is the teacher, i.e. when we earnestly and continuously so, ask Him in prayer to teach us the way of His fear and when we are willing to be taught and to obey:
“Teach me Thy way, O Lord; I will walk in Thy truth: unite my heart (i.e. give me singleness of heart – so the margin reads) to fear Thy name (or as the margin puts it: to have reverential awe for Thy name).” – Psalm 86: 11, And so, it must be understood that the fear of the Lord is no timid or foolish fear without godly direction or blessed purpose. It is reverential awe. We must be willing to fear the Lord, for it takes singleness of heart or undivided heart or undivided loyalty to fear Him.
Because this takes singleness of heart; by implication therefore, they that fear the Lord do not conform to the world. To fear the Lord is to be a nonconformist. And not to conform to the world but be all heavenly focused is preparing for the return of the Savior. Indeed, ‘No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him Who hath chosen him to be a soldier’. To the extent a heart is ‘united’ for God, it has no heart for the world.
‘So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom’; ‘teach me Thy way, O Lord; I will walk in Thy truth: unite my heart to fear Thy name’. Undivided fear for God or love for God is what makes the rapture. This must be our pursuit.
He that has an Ear and Overcome!
The fear of God cannot and should not be compromised. In Romans 11:20-22 we read: “Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”
If Israel the natural branch could be cut off and you and I grafted in, shall we not mix grace with fear, even the fear of the Lord? ‘Be not highminded, but fear’. Or do not think about or covet the world and the things in it but rather think about God and His option for life and the heavenly walk: The fear of the Lord. Then again: ‘Take heed’: Piety! ‘Goodness’ is promised if we continue (piety) in ‘His goodness’. And that promised ‘goodness’ speaks of the goodness that now is ours in Christ, but much more of that eternal felicity in the presence of God in the land beyond compare, ‘the land of the blest’ and a ‘country so bright and so fair’. But if any doesn’t continue in His goodness there is a cutting off or a severance from God and so from all that are His eternally.
The fear of God cannot and should not be compromised. Jesus told us directly: “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you Whom ye shall fear: Fear Him, which after He hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear Him” – Luke 12:4-5. Salvation gives us the hope of glory; the fear of the Lord consummates that hope; and the want of the fear of the Lord extinguishes that hope!
The pilgrims’ walk or heavenly race or true Christianity cannot be without Christ in the light of His Word. It is a scriptural race and holy endeavor with terms to be reverentially obeyed. Engaged in as such, O what a great help it attracts from the Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent God! We need the power, wisdom and companion of God on the way. The fear of God or piety; or rather, obedience to His Word, and holiness of life by His grace tap them (His power, wisdom and companion) from His Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence respectively: “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” – Hebrews 13:6.
So, the Command that comforts: “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” – Revelation 2:10-11.
The prayer must always be for us to have ears that hear. The fear of the Lord is that ear. That is the hearing ear that taps or receives the strength of grace to overcome.
‘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’. May we fear God, and live for His glory and pleasure; may we live like we belong to ‘the few’, the chosen or soon to be manifested sons of God! It should behoove us to be faithful pilgrims indeed. And how Fanny Crosby’s “Thou my Everlasting Portion” comes alive again:
Thou my everlasting Portion,
More than friend or life to me,
All along my pilgrim journey,
Savior, let me walk with Thee.
Close to Thee, close to Thee,
Close to Thee, close to Thee;
All along my pilgrim journey,
Savior, let me walk with Thee.
Not for ease or worldly pleasure,
Not for fame my prayer shall be;
Gladly will I toil and suffer,
Only let me walk with Thee.
Close to Thee, close to Thee,
Close to Thee, close to Thee;
Gladly will I toil and suffer,
Only let me walk with Thee.
Lead me through the vale of shadows,
Bear me o'er life's fitful sea;
Then the gate of life eternal
May I enter, Lord, with Thee.
Close to Thee, close to Thee,
Close to Thee, close to Thee;
Then the gate of life eternal
May I enter, Lord, with Thee.
In this all important subject matter of piety or the fear of God, we would necessarily see what the Spirit told Titus, you and I in Titus 2:11-15: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.”
The grace of God teaches us to deny unrighteousness and worldly lusts. It teaches us nonconformity with the world on the one hand and continually progressive conformity to Christ’s Image on the other hand. That is what grace does. That is, it teaches us to live soberly, righteously and godly. Where: In this present world! This is Christianity that makes heaven. Those that fear the Lord listen to grace, obey grace and are thus perfected for the rapture; for, again, this same grace help them (those that fear the Lord) to look ‘for that blessed hope, and glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ’.
May God take us to this beginning of wisdom and help us grow our Christian life from thence till He comes to take us home. No other way to making it to God’s eternal presence. No other way; and so, be not deceived. Be not distracted with ‘modern day Christianity’ which is nothing but ‘glorified worldliness’, or broad-way Christianity: Another gospel, which is really not another.
Go for piety! Mockers may abound around when you do, “For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake” – Titus 1:10-11; and “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” – 2 Timothy 4:3-4.
Remember: ‘let no man despise thee’. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It is the answer to ever unfolding bliss with God through all eternity which is the portion of the manifested sons of God, which manifestation is the greatest subject matter now in all of the universe, ‘for the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God’. May God help us make the list; and may we help God to help and teach us to fear Him and to live the life the fear of God dictates! May this be all that matters to us; may we have grace to do this; and so, may we listen to grace! This is the beginning of wisdom. It is called the fear of God.
‘Behold, He Shall come’,
‘But who may abide the day of His Coming’ is the Old Testament poser in Malachi. Malachi 3:1-5: “Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, Whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years. And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.”
Who shall abide not: It says those that do not fear Him!
And Malachi 4:1-2 has this for us as well: “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear My Name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.”
Who shall abide: It says those that fear His Name!
‘Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? – is the New Testament poser in Luke! Luke 18:8: “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” That is, shall He find those still holding on to Him in righteousness; even those that fear and trust Him and live for Him acceptably! It is talking about the genuine Christian faith or true religion: Piety!
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” – Revelation 22:17. “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” – Revelation 22:20-21.
Now, the fear of the Lord is the fertile ground for that ‘grace of our Lord Jesus Christ’! It is the fear of God that can say ‘even so, come, Lord Jesus’, for it lives just for that! ‘When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more’, these are the ones to be gathered together on the other shore. The fear of the Lord: It is the beginning of wisdom!
May we be among the number that will make it, though few they may be; may we not join the multitudes – within and or without our congregations – in the broad-way; may we conform more and more to His Image, live more and more as true pilgrims, and live more and more with eternity in view. May we fear or love Him more and more to continually disentangle ourselves from this world and all that are in it to be able to go in that flight like no other. He came once to separate a people to Himself; and behold He comes again to take them home! This should take us to the next subject matter.
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