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God is holy and to be revered as holy. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10).
To run along with our own interpretation of the Word of God light-heartedly is incredibly dangerous. God is not a God to be approached, questioned, or tested hastily.
We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.1 Corinthians 10:9-10, ESV
For simply grumbling, many of the Israelites were destroyed by God in the wilderness.
Job, considered a blameless man (Job 1:1), after facing horrible pain and loss for a long period of time, questions God. He has lost almost everything he has and himself is sick and miserable and wants God to explain Himself. Below is a relatively small portion describing part of what happened and what God said:
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. ‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone,when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?Job 38:1-7, ESV
To approach the LORD of Hosts, to question the God of Angel Armies, can be a deadly business. And yes, as believers we are able to “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16b, ESV). Nonetheless, King Solomon writes,
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words. When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, ESV
To conclude the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon states,
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.Ecclesiastes 12:13
The commandment to love God is the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-38). Love of God is therefore very important, but true love, agape love, the kind of love God has for those He has saved, encompasses certain things. The fear of God is part of loving God. In other words, if you really love God you will come to fear God in certain respects.
While it is true that God is our Father, He is also absolutely holy and perfect. He is a God of love, but He is also a God of wrath. Both judgement and love are in His hands, both condemnation and forgiveness. In John 3:16-18, Jesus says,
‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.ESV
Not everyone goes to Heaven. Not everyone is saved. A lot of people go to Hell. And that’s the scary, often-hard-to-swallow truth. Fear the Lord.
The seriousness of approaching the LORD Almighty and obeying His commands makes the danger of false teachers that much more extreme. There are those who will and have come in the Name of Christ, but they are not true believers. John says of them,
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.1 John 2:19, ESV
And Paul remarks,
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.1 Timothy 4:1-3
It is not wise to add to or take away from what God has commanded, as I discussed in my last post. Jesus said,
‘Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.Mark 9:42, ESV
And, He also declared,
‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 5:17-19, ESV
Therefore, we ought to be very careful in our assessment of a teacher’s teaching. Does it line up with the Word of God? Do the Scriptures support such a view? Is this thing I was taught really biblically accurate? Did God actually say that?
We should look to the Bible for our answers, and then get the wisdom of trusted Christians on the issue at hand as well. That isn’t to say wise believers can’t be deceived, because they most certainly can.
The point is, test the conclusions you draw on what God says and commands, and do this efficiently and appropriately. And remember that it is much easier to be deceived and remain deceived as a single individual. So, get the input of other disciples of Christ. Fear and revere the LORD in this manner.
I know I have not always done my best with this. But, we need to recognize the awesomeness of God and the absolute holy perfection of Who He is.
And, when you consider that, also consider the fact of what Jesus did for us. Paul writes,
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8, ESV
Hold to the truth. Test what you hear. Remember that, as a believer, God will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.1 John 4:1-3, ESV
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