How could it get this bad? There are Bibles everywhere and hundreds of millions profess to be Christians, but seem oblivious to this. We are living in spiritually perilous days. There are many reasons how it could get this bad, but one of the chief reasons has to do with the all-out attack on the fear of God. It is dangerously lacking in the pulpits and in the pews.
Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning” (Ex. 20:20).
The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: “When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth” (2 Sam. 23:3,4).
He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success (2 Chron. 26:5).
When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land (Deut. 6:10-15).
Now let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery (2 Chron. 19:7).
He gave them these orders: “You must serve faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the LORD” (2 Chron. 19:9).
And he said to man, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding” (Job 28:28).
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous (Psa. 19:9).
Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD (Psa. 34:11).
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise (Psa. 111:10).
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline (Prov. 1:7).
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Prov. 9:10).
The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short (Prov 10:27)
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death (Prov. 14:27).
Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil (Prov 15:16).
The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor (Prov. 15:33).
Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil (Prov. 16:6).
The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble (Prov. 19:23).
Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life (Prov. 22:4).
Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD (Prov. 23:17).
He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure. (Isa 33:6)
Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord (Acts 9:31).
Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king (1 Pet. 2:17).
He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water” (Rev. 14:7).
For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God (Josh. 4:23,24).
One of the indications of dangerous false doctrine would have to be any teaching that would assault the vitally-needed fear of God. Can you think of any teaching that does this more than the widespread and well-embraced teaching of eternal security? We can’t. Besides all of the other apparent reasons why this doctrine is not from God, we have the fact that it destroys the fear of God and with it all of the wonderful benefits that flow from it. (No doubt a primary part of the devil’s plan to destroy souls is to eliminate the fear of God.)
Because the fear of God is gone in the hearts of people, wickedness has increased, just like the Bible predicts will happen at the end of this age:
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold (Mt. 24:12).
And as you just read, love in turn is adversely affected by this wickedness (sin). Notice the domino effect and all because the fear of God is absent.
Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife’” (Gen. 20:11).
Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt. When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and cut off all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God (Deut. 25:17,18).
For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. (Psa 36:1)
Besides the primary attack on the fear of God through the teaching of once saved always saved, some wrongly teach it is impossible to fear God and love God at the same time. Others have changed the significance of what it means to fear God to merely a type of reverence when it really means fear even up to the point of dread. (See Isa. 8:13; etc.) The bottom-line cumulative effect of this flood of spiritual poison is souls going to hell inside the churches and from behind the pulpits, which in turn has prevented many non-professing Christians from coming to (or coming back to) Christ for salvation.
Paul, the grace teacher, told Christians who had already been saved by grace:
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12).
Teachers who don’t instruct like Paul did have been deceived. And all who don’t work out their own salvation with fear and trembling have also been deceived. Should we really think these things will get remedied as a whole? Never! Why? The answer is found in this passage:
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths (2 Tim.4:3,4).
There are a great number of teachers (the Greek word can be translated doctors) that will teach what sinful ears want to hear. People will turn away from God’s truth and turn to these doctrinal myth-makers, who will make people comfortable in their sins. As this occurs souls continue to plunge into hell fire and the fear of God is diminished.