Most of think of grace as something benign - some extra mercy from God or having a more casual attitude toward sin. One of the greatest forms of grace comes in a word we might not usually associate with it - FEAR!
Fear is often defined as the opposite of faith. Sometimes, this is true - if we are referring to worry or doubt that God will keep His promise. But there is another kind of fear that is beneficial to us - THE FEAR OF GOD!
This kind of fear does not make us afraid to come to God. Nor does it make us fear that He won't "come through" when we need Him. This kind of fear makes us afraid of the consequences of disobeying God!
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom:
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.
His praise endures forever.
Psalm 111:10 (emphasis added)
When people feel comfortable with that which displeases God, it is a sign of God's judgment!
Fear of offending God is a sign of His favor or grace!
David considered afflictions from God as a way to learn God's ways!
It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.
We should be very thankful when we fear God. It is a sign that His favor is on us!
We are to seek to know God intimately to learn what pleases Him and what doesn't! Casual seekers are generally more lenient about sin. God is a holy God and He has already judged everyone in the world to be sinful and therefore condemned!
But He did not leave us there! He sent His only begotten Son Jesus to die for the sins of the world - that those who come to Him can be saved! (Read John chapter 3!)
The name "Satan" means "accuser." We must also be aware that the enemy will condemn us and make us feel sinful even when God does not condemn us!
That is even more reason to seek to grow in the intimate knowledge of God!
The Intimate Knowledge of God!
It is vital that each one of us personally knows how God thinks! If we do not, we will either feel comfortable doing what God condemns as sinful - or we will feel condemned for doing what God does not consider sinful!
God's ways and thoughts are as high above man's as the heavens are above the earth:
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
It seems that the intimate knowledge of God has a great deal to do with the Christian life!
The deeper we grow in understanding God and His ways, the more we will...
- Fear Him!
- Know what pleases Him
- Be able to live holy lives according to His definition and standards!
- Accurately represent Him as His ambassadors to the lost, dying world!
- Resist the pull of ever-changing culture!
- Take the correct stand on current issues.