Fear of Judgment Ps.119:120 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
When we think about the fear of God, we often minimize it to some degree because we are saved. The great Judge of all mankind is our “Father.” We know that he loves us. In many cases, we have become used to his longsuffering and forbearance and assume that he’s not going to do anything to us when we are wrong.
But the fear of God is not supposed to be like that. It is supposed to be as strong as our love for God. Paul speaks of us working out our, “own salvation with fear and trembling,” [Phil 2:12-13]. However, we can’t seem to get the picture of a trembling fear that balances our love.
Here’s a picture that might help you: picture God as a judge, which he is. In his court, he is the righteous judge. He’s not elected, he takes no bribes, there are no technicalities, there is no jury and there are no mistrials. His word is final. His eyes scatter away all evil.
Imagine going to court with a charge against you. You dress up, you are respectful, and you are scared. The charge against you is read. The judge gives his verdict. He grants you probation, and states that you cannot have another violation of the law of any kind or he’ll sentence you to the maximum punishment allowed by law.
You leave his courtroom fully persuaded to toe the line. You make sure to know and observe the law. You routinely follow the law. You enforce the law upon others. You judge by the same standard as you are judged.
You fear to do anything contrary to the law because you know that you will be caught. You don’t think, like many of us do, that you will get off because the judge is your Father. You are constantly aware that, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”
Picture the benefits of this fear. Though you fear, yet there is:
Confidence – Prov 14:26 – you are not afraid of getting caught when you know you are within the judge’s law and order [the word of God]. For example, you don’t tap your brakes when you see a speed trap because you know that you are driving within the speed limit. The same God that condemns evil is the same God that protects good. When you are living under his rule, you can look to God to protect you, as well. You are not afraid what other men may do or say because you are only concerned with keeping God’s word and following his orders [Heb 13:6].
Wisdom – Prov 9:10 – you make much better choices… not as hasty, not as emotional (more rational), not as selfish, more informed through scripture, prayer and counsel, and more spiritual. You also remember that you’re going to face judgment seat of Christ [2 Cor 5:10-11] and the terror of the Lord at that judgment keeps you motivated always to seek God’s will and to do your best to do his will by the grace of God.
Holiness – 2 Cor 7:1 – your life is much cleaner because you aren’t doing the bad things you used to do. You get where you DON’T WANT to do them. As in Prov 8:13, you hate evil.
Satisfaction – Prov 19:23 – when you know that you have kept the judge’s orders and lived within his demands, there is a great sense of satisfaction and contentment because you are free. When you were sinning and rebellious there was always a sense of foreboding. You knew that you were doing something wrong. You had an awareness that you could get caught and be punished. You only chose to do right out of the fear of the consequences. You were free from righteousness because you were the SERVANT of sin. Now, you are the SERVANT of righteousness AND you are FREE from sin. You aren’t so worried about the consequences; you just want to please the judge.
Mercy – Ps 103:17 – the Lord knows we aren’t perfect and so he extends mercy when he sees that we are truly walking in his fear. It’s like only getting a warning ticket when you get caught in a moving violation.
Conclusion: Prov 10:27 says that “the fear of the Lord prolongeth days.” If you will fear God and receive Jesus Christ, you will live forever.