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  • Dr. Bob Phillips, Pastor

Be Afraid

Are you afraid of God? Perhaps you should be.

Many people don't believe in God. All too many others think of him as either irrelevant to their lives or that his standards are so low that just about everyone stands a good chance of going to heaven - unless they have been really, really bad. But that just demonstrates how little people really know about the Most High.

The Bible speaks of the fear of the Lord. Overall that refers primarily to great reverence and awe for the Almighty. But a good case can be made that many people should be afraid of him. Very afraid.

There is a storm on the horizon. It's the coming tempest of divine wrath in judgment and its coming is more certain than the sunrise. Something else that is certain is that few people are prepared to meet it and none will escape it.

Our Creator is infinitely holy, far above and beyond us. His righteousness is such that he cannot stand the sight of sin and he is perfectly just in his judgments. Scripture tells us that he will "by no means clear the guilty." And every single one of us is guilty beyond our imagination.

In the Revelation to John a terrifying scene is set forth. John records what he saw: "I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. . . . And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."

Are you holy enough to live with an infinitely holy God? Are you righteous to the point as to have no stain of sin? Is your life such that God will find you innocent on the day of his judgment? No. None of us is. And Scripture tells us, "Our God is a consuming fire."

And yet . . .

This holy God who is righteous beyond our comprehension and just in all his judgments takes no delight in the death of a single soul. He delights in mercy and in the salvation of lost sinners, whom he loves and desires, but will not force, to be saved. So, he made a way for sinful people to be delivered on that terrifying day. Someone else has paid your debt and taken your judgment for sin - Jesus of Nazareth who died for you on the cross. He is the way.

The Bible says, "Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." This holy, righteous, and just God who will by no means clear the guilty will joyfully forgive the guilty who turn to Christ in repentance and trust.

There is a way to safety. But only one way. The gate is narrow and the way is hard, but it leads to life. Most of us won't take that path and the end will be to exist in a state of eternal death - always suffering death, but never ceasing to exist. But the way is open now and the invitation stands until our time runs out. What will you do?

God has made his move.

The ball is in your court.

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