"But I will warn you whom to
fear; fear the One who. . .has authority to cast you
into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!" Luke 12:5
Our text today is taken from a passage where Jesus is
teaching on fear and anxiety. Here, He is instructing
people to fear God who has the power to cast them into
hell, but not man who
can only kill the natural body.
It seems that people fear everything but God.
Many live with fears in their relationships, finances
and health but few think of God as someone to fear.
Financial anxiety keeps many people from sleeping every
night, but how many lay awake concerned about their
To fear God is rarely taught in Americaís pulpits today
and is often taught to mean to have deep respect or
reverence. The Greek word that Jesus used in todayís
text literally means to "be frightened" and "exceedingly
If we are honest we can see by the context of the
passage itself that Jesusí purpose is to instill the
fear of hell and of the Holy and Righteous Judge who
will send sinners there. Jesus is telling us to fear God
enough to faithfully obey Him because all sinners will
have their part in the Lake of Fire.
God has done all He can do by giving His own Son as a
sacrifice; those who rebelliously trample under foot the
blood of that precious offering will be cast into hell
to suffer the second death. That calls not for
reverence, but for fear.
When God gave His people the Ten Commandments, the sight
was so awesome that the people trembled in fear. Even
faithful Moses trembled, -"So
terrible was the sight, that Moses said, ĎI am full of
fear and trembling.í" The
people were so afraid that they backed away from Mt.
Sinai and told Moses that they never wanted to hear
Godís voice again. But Moses responded, -"God
has come in order to test you, and in order that the
fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not
Proverbs says that the fear of God is the beginning of
both knowledge and wisdom which are valuable qualities
indeed. But we learn from Jesus and from Moses, that the
fear of the Lord is designed to make people afraid to
sin. Peter wrote that God is even delaying the Judgment
in hope that sinners would repent and come to Him, for
He wants no one to perish in hell.
As brought-by-the-blood Christians we are told to come
boldly before the Throne of grace. This is not to
suggest that we come lightly before the Lord, but with
the confidence that knowing that we come as a member of
Christís own Body. We should have a healthy fear of the
Lord knowing that He is just and holy as well as patient
and merciful. He loved David, even saying that he was a
man after His own heart, yet He strongly corrected David
when he strayed.
God is simply not compatible with sin; therefore we must
hate sin and never practice it because to do so is not a
light thing. God does not want anyone to perish in their
sins but will send all sinners to hell. I believe that
is Godís most dreaded day - the day of Judgment when He
sends away those who He gave His Son to save. Let us
receive with fear that God will not spare the sinner.