Thursday, January 14, 2010

Two Good Reasons to Fear God:

Forgiveness and Goodness

If you, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who shall stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be feared.”
Psalm 130:3-4

Some might think that David would have said that since there is forgiveness with God, there is no reason to fear Him. That is certainly how many people seem to understand God’s forgiveness. But David knew better. He knew that since forgiveness is the work of God, and of Him alone, we should seek His favor. He understood that without forgiveness from God, we have no hope. Even if others offer us forgiveness for our sins, their forgiveness can change nothing; we would still be sinners on the way to meet a righteous God in the Judgement. Without God’s forgiveness, we have absolutely no hope. David understood that, and he understood that God will not forgive anyone who refuses to humble himself and repent.

That is why real forgiveness being in God’s hands alone causes wise men to tremble before Him.

Hosea (3:5) wrote an equally unexpected verse:

"Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and they shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days."

As with David’s verse above, many readers might assume that because God is good, there is no need to fear Him. But Hosea knew what David knew; namely, that God’s goodness will someday be removed from a person who persists in sin – and then what will remain for that person but eternal torment? The Spirit of Christ once prayed through the Psalmist that God would “do good to them who are good.” This prayer will be answered once for all on the Day of Judgment, when those who have done good in this life will be raised up to eternal life and peace. On the other hand, in the Final Judgment, those who have not done good in this life will be cast into “outer darkness”, far removed from God’s goodness forever. Jesus is the one who told us this, in John 5.

We fear God and His goodness because there is coming a day when all who displease God will be cast away forever into a fiery place where there is no goodness at all.

Thankfully, because God truly is good, and “not willing that any should perish”, we may receive His forgiveness now through His Son Jesus Christ and, so, experience His goodness forever. That is God’s first choice for all of us. And He sent His Son to make the way for us to come to God to receive the goodness and mercy that we all so desperately need.

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