As this series continues, I want to go to the next expression of fear: terror. We have covered why we should fear and what happens when believers and unbelievers do not fear The Lord. So lets transition to the polar opposite of a lack of fear, and talk about the terror of The Lord.
An example of this terror is found in Revelation 6*:
12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. 14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. 15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
As Christians, we no longer fear the wrath of God; it no longer abides on us:
We as Christians are reconciled to God, and no longer are at war with Him. But the unbeliever is still at extreme odds against God, and His wrath is being stored us against them: But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. (Romans 2:5)
And that day is pictured in Revelation. The verse above shows the unrepentant unbelievers response to God's day of judgment: they hide in fear, wishing for death rather than face Him. They hide in caves and try to escape His gaze because they are terrified of His judgment and wrath.
We get to fear God without terror. That is one of our greatest blessings. To make Him pleased is our ultimate goal now as Christ followers, glorifying Him whether we eat or drink, doing them all to make His name hallowed! Our fear is not one of hiding, but one of honesty, where we see ourselves as sinners, and work in the power if the Holy Spirit to become more like His Son, so that when our judgment comes, we can hear Well done, my good and faithful servant (Matthew 25).
Our day of judgement is not one of condemnation, but one of evaluation, where we are judged by our works either done in or without Christ. There will be Christians who will scrape through and barely make it, and others who will be well rewarded for working in Christ's name:
1 Corinthians 3
Ours is not a judgment of wrath, but one of reward and grace. Our response to this judgment isn't terror, but eager anticipation, as we prepare now for that day in reverent fear of God's weighing our actions in our judgment!
1 Corinthians 9
2 Timothy 4
We as Christians recognize the wrath of God to come, however, and should be our motivation to share the gospel with every person we encounter!
2 Corinthians 5
Let us now warn unbelievers of the wrath to come, tell them to fear God, but to not hide in the caves, but to come into the light of His Son, in whom their salvation will be found! Let us all cling only to His cross, and live in a healthy fear of God, one that says I will do everything I can in the power of God to be a pleasing vessel for His glory!
*All Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version.
Darin is a former youth and college/career minister. He is looking for his first pastorate and, of course, any opportunity to preach the Word. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.