Fear God Appropriately
We often fear the wrong things. Unbelievers should fear the judgment of God but don*t.
Hebrews 10:31: It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Romans 3:18: There is no fear of God before their eyes.
Believers shouldn*t fear the condemnation of God but often do.
Romans 8:1: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
What believers SHOULD fear is the chastisement of the Lord.
Hebrews 12:5-9: And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him. For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
Even though there is a universe of difference between condemnation and chastisement we don*t always understand the difference. The chastisement of the Lord can be pretty severe. It can be physical illness or even death.
1 John 5:16-17: If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.
God*s condemnation lasts for eternity and it is just punishment. Chastisement of His children won*t last more than a physical lifetime. His chastisement is for correction and it is fair.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
God knows when a believer*s usefulness on earth is over. He knows when it is time for a believer to begin enjoying his rewards in heaven. Believers should not fear death. They should fear disobeying the Lord and they should fear being out of His will.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon:
God had one Son without sin, but not a single child without the rod. . . . The idea of strangeness in our trials must be banished at once and for ever, for He who is the Head of all saints, knows by experience the grief which we think so peculiar. . . . The trial is not so heavy as it might have been; the trouble is not so severe as we deserved to have borne; and our affliction is not so crushing as the burden which others have to carry. Faith sees that in her worst sorrow there is nothing penal; there is not a drop of God*s wrath in it; it is all sent in love.