A man stands at the top of the very tall building. As he boldly looks down to the ground he makes a decision to jump and yells out the reason he is about to do it “I just feel like it, and it looks like a lot of fun.” The people around warn him “You fool, you’ll die if you jump!” The man is annoyed by this, but he laughs off their warnings “I’ll be okay, leave me alone. Let me have my fun” he says. He jumps, despite the attempts to restrain him. As he is falling he says to himself “Those fools, telling me not to jump. See, I am okay and I’m having lots of fun too!” Of course a few seconds later he hits the ground and dies instantly, as those who had warned him look on with horror. We know that anybody who just jumps off a very tall building and thinks they’ll actually be okay is a fool. Why? We have an appropriate fear of the law of gravity, and we know that a person will die as a result of not having such a fear.

We don’t get angry when the effects of the law of gravity cause us to be hurt. Rather, we honor it (if we’re wise)- and we’re safe for doing so. In the same way, we must know that God is not cruel when He says that people should fear Him. Rather, there are unavoidable deadly consequences for transgressing His righteous standards which are even more certain then the deadly consequences of jumping off of a very tall building without fearing the law of gravity.

We are told: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) WE MUST fear God because everything we’ve done and will do must be brought to judgment. We must answer for all of our deeds, as well as our words and even the thoughts of our hearts. “Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.” (Psalm 90:8) “But I say unto you,That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” (Matthew 12:36)

Just as a person can’t jump off of a tall building and expect to live, even more so can no one transgress God and live. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). Not that God is mean or unreasonable, but because He is holy and just. Those who sin against the law of a righteous God MUST reap the consequences of doing so, just as those who mock the law of gravity like the man described earlier must reap the consequences of doing so. It could not be any other way. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) No matter how strong, rich, powerful, or attractive anyone might be- they still must answer to God! All the things people take pride in will mean nothing on the day of judgement which is inevitably coming. “For there is no respect of persons with God.” (Romans 2:11) “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Daniel 4:35) Do you not see your need to fear God?

You might say you’re damned already now. That certainly is true if you continue to refuse to fear God. However God Himself can rescue you out of your condemnation if you’ll fear Him properly by departing from ALL evil and putting your faith in His Son Jesus Christ who has tasted death on our behalf and is risen again to save us from the death we’ve brought upon ourselves- the power and guilt of sin. “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” (Proverbs 8:13) “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” (John 3:17-20)

You might say you’re okay now because God is merciful and because Jesus died on the cross. However, you are certainly not okay unless you hate that which is unrighteous in God’s eyes and turn from all pleasure in it to follow Jesus. He is Lord as well as Savior- and we must come to Him for mercy by going through the strait gate to walk on the narrow way to life- which is an attitude of unconditional obedience to His Word in the Bible (Matthew 7:13-27, Hebrews 5:7-9). It is then, and only then, that God will be merciful to you. That is not an unrighteous judgment, for it is the judgment of God Himself given to us in His Word the Bible. “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6-7) Jesus’ mercy and grace are meant as a salvation from the free fall into sin- not as a license to continue in that fall and avoid the consequences of doing so! “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3b)

Don’t ignore or take lightly God’s warnings of eternal judgment on sinners and His offer of mercy through Christ so as not to obey the gospel message. That would be even more foolish than the man who jumps off of a tall building believing he’ll live! Had he only feared the law of gravity properly AND acted on that fear, he would have lived and had no reason to be afraid. So it is with the fear of God. It will be well with those who fear Him properly and truly heed the warnings and instruction of His Word. Those who don’t will perish in their lack of fear.

“Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.” (Ecclesiastes 8:12-13) “4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” (Luke 12:4-5)

A longer study on godly fear is here.