“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Friday, July 12, 2013

False prophets forget the fear of God

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matt. 7:13-15). 

It is rare for God to save humans infected with sin. Few find the path of life.When it is so rare for God to be able to save His beloved children of Adam, shouldn’t we be wary of this world and its promises of eternal life here is this failing world, and focus on God’s work to save us?

“And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1Pet. 4:18). 

The Greek molis, G3433, translated “scarcely” in this text means “with difficulty”, “hardly”, “with much work”. The commentary correctly used the word, “barely”, as a synonym. If salvation is believable by an individual reading the plain, authoritative statements from God Himself, and damnation is a threat, shouldn’t fear toward God be an allowable option? Isn’t that the intent of Peter’s admonition above? 

Paul also believed in the fear of God. 

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” (Heb. 4:1). 

“Fear.” You might already guess the English translation for the Greek phobeo, G5399. It means “to be alarmed”,” to be in awe of”, “to revere”, “to be sore afraid”, “to fear exceedingly”. 

Many people like to turn this around into a much more relaxing experience and call it “respect of God” or “reverence toward Him”. Some even like to call it love for God. But, can God accept the love of hearts that are tied to the things of this world? Isn't that the same problem ancient Israel had? They worshipped God with their mouths, but their hearts were far from Him.

“Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15:6-9).

But, the Bible is its own best interpreter and commentary on the kind of love God wants from us.

“I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.” (Jude 5). 

Doesn’t destruction say anything about how we should approach the subject of the fear of God with great fear? Did the earthly destruction of many of the children of Israel give an inkling of how they stood eternally? I must say it did. It was a warning to all future generations. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1Cor. 10:11, 12). 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn. 3:16). 

Do you want to know the real impact of this verse? Jesus wants us to have it, but He cannot give us the popular notion that we can flippantly claim this most precious promise without it costing us everything. Our diet, our plans for a career and future retirement, our relations to friends and family and the Advent movement, our free time, “the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches,” “which drown men in destruction and perdition.” (Matt. 13:22;  1Tim. 6:9).

If we want eternity with Jesus, an eternal life that begins today, then we must begin today to live that eternal life. Doesn't that make sense?  Otherwise, we will get caught up in this world and its part-time thoughts of Jesus and the kingdom of God, and Jesus will come in a day we aren't looking for Him. The day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night.

This verse is powerful because it shows us how far God will go to spare us and keep us from perishing forever. But, it is only powerful if we realize the consequences to disregarding the extent to which He went to save us, and then going about our merry way as if it didn’t matter that He suffered our eternal death for us. If we fear to disregard His infinite sacrifice for us, but, steadfastly look to Him as our dearest friend to the end, choosing to serve Him and fearing to keep His commandments forever, then this most precious promise will yield the entrance of the Holy Spirit into our hearts, the powerful knowledge of Jesus' love for us, and the new power to obey Him and His commandments.

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord.” (Heb. 2:1-3). 

When we have a healthy fear of God, not letting go of the knowledge of how far down God lowered His Son into our world of damnation, to die the damnation of our coming day of judgment, struck by the lightning and thunder that was due every one of us, then we will truly appreciate what God has promised us. All who refuse to truly fear that God is no respecter of persons, and that He will destroy them if they have no fear of Him, can never be saved because they have no respect for God. They are as profane as Esau, “who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” (Heb. 12:16, 17). 

“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.” (Joel 3:14). 

Many, many are double-minded, trying to have their cake and eat it too. They want the security of knowing they have eternal life, without detaching themselves from this world and all of its idols. They trust in their pastors and teachers who are deeply involved in the same idolatrous practices, and lead their congregations to follow their course because having a large following makes the leaders feel safer, eternally. 

But, Jesus made it very clear how He viewed this age old arrangement. 

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Mat 5:17-20). 

Till heaven and earth pass the Law of God stands. So, if we desire an eternity with Jesus, let’s take Him very seriously. Let us fear God and give God glory by our obedience to His Law. Let’s not look for an easy row to hoe in the Christian life, a wide highway, and follow the huge crowds to their supposed happiness at their endless vanity fairs. 

Let’s expect a restrictive gate to pass through into life. Let’s trust in a religion of boundaries and standards and warnings and reproofs. Let’s trust in the Spirit of Prophecy, the verifiable Testimony of Jesus. Let’s go where our deepest honesty tells us we should go, the voice of a loving, caring, guarding Father. 

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.” (Isa. 9:6, 7). 

Let’s come to Jesus, our Father, and unburden our hearts to Him. And if we do, He promises us health and peace. 

 “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matt. 11:29).


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