Thursday, November 04, 2010

Blessed be the Bride that Fears

" the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you."
Isaiah 62:5

"Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."
Proverbs 31:30

The spouse, fearing lest the Bridegroom should come before she is dressed,
hastens and puts on her jewels, that she may be ready to meet Him. 
~ Thomas Watson

If you have repented of your sin and trusted in the person and work of Jesus Christ to forgive you, you are born-again. Did you know that this new birth signals a betrothal? It's true! The Father has given you as a love-gift to His Son. You, as well as all those whom God has sovereignly regenerated, are to be the Bride of Christ. The Savior assures His disciples: ".. I go to prepare a place for you..And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also." (John 14:2-3) What a precious promise for the men and women, boys and girls, who have repented and believed the gospel! Jesus said He was going to prepare a place for us and when He returns, He will bring us, His precious, spotless Bride, to Himself. On that great Day, there shall be a wedding feast! Let us prepare ourselves, for our Bridegroom cometh!

We see from the scriptures that what pleases God is 'fear of the Lord'. (Scripture, in fact, closely identifies 'fear of the Lord' with 'love of the Lord'. (See for yourself by going to Deuteronomy 5:29,6:2 & 6:5 & compare with Josh. 24:14; 10:12, 20; 13:5).Isaiah 11:3 describes the godly one as delighting in this fear. "And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.."
 Lest you think that fear of the Lord is only an Old Testament joy, Peter tells us to: “Fear God” (1 Peter 2:17)

Proverbs 1:7 declares:"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Without this holy fear, my friends, we remain fools in our sin. Let us make a study of this important biblical doctrine that we might be partakers of the fullest measure of grace by the provision of the Spirit and be pleasing to the Father now and at the coming of His Son. In addition, let us seek to show forth His glory, the glory of this godly fear and of His holiness, to those around us - for indeed, the whole world lies in wickedness. May we display this reverential fear of God, both by precept and example for;"The fear of the Lord is a fountain of LIFE." (Proverbs 14:27)

<3 "Only fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things He has done for you." <3
1 Samuel 12:24

"Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear Your Name."
Psalm 86:11

If you desire to be a virtuous bride of Christ, you must study and seek to develop a righteous and holy the fear of the Lord. How shall we see this accomplished in our personal lives? It is by and through His Word, and the faithful application and practice of the truths and demands of scripture, that the Holy Spirit will adorn you with that which is beautiful in the sight of our Beloved. We must learn what it means experientially to have a true burning love, reverence, awe and trust for Jesus Christ, as well as a true and burning hatred of evil. This is how we spiritually prepare, and help others to prepare, for the coming of our glorious Bridegroom. We do not want to be found wearing the attire of a harlot, easy-on-the-eye to the world but hideous to Christ! Of course no true Bride of Jesus will be vain and a whore for the world, but in this study we are able to examine ourselves to see if we be in the faith ... or not. All true handmaidens of the Lord will love the requirements of salvation and sanctification. Fear of the Lord is something to be cherished, practiced and taught as part and parcel of the narrow way, the way of holiness.

One of my favorite Puritan writers is Thomas Watson. I have taken the liberty of excerpting passages from his teaching on 'the fear of the Lord' from his marvelous biblical treatise The Great Gain of Godliness. First, we shall study what is NOT biblical fear of the Lord. Watson writes that true fear of the Lord:

  • It is not... a natural fear, which is a tremor or palpitation of heart, occasioned by the approach of some imminent danger.
  • It is not ... a sinful fear, which is twofold:
A superstitious fear. A black cat crossing the path
A carnal fear...Three times in one chapter Christ cautions us against the fear of men, (Matthew 10:26-31).
  • A carnal fear is EXCRUCIATING, “fear has torment in it.” (1 John 4:18)
  • A carnal fear is PERNICIOUS. It indisposes for duty. The disciples, under the power of fear, were fitter to flee than to pray, (Matthew 26:56), and it puts men upon sinful means to save themselves: “The fear of man brings a snare!” (Proverbs 29:25). What made Peter deny Christ—but fear?

Watson explains to us that a genuine, biblical fear of the Lord is:

...a divine fear, which is the reverencing and adoring of God’s holiness, and the setting of ourselves always under His sacred inspection. The infinite distance between God and us causes this fear.

When God’s glory began to shine out upon the Mount, Moses said, “I exceedingly fear and quake!” (Heb. 12:21). Such as approach God’s presence with light feathery hearts, and worship Him in a crude, careless manner—have none of this fear.

"Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed His Name." Malachi 3:16

“Those who feared the Lord”. In the words are two parts.
1. The Act—fear.
2. The Object—the Lord.

“Those who feared the Lord”. The fear of God is the sum of all true true religion. “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." (Ecclesiastes 12:13 ). Fear is the leading grace, the first seed which God sows in the heart. When a Christian can say little of faith, and perhaps nothing of assurance, yet he dares not deny that he fears God (Neh. 1:11). God is so great—that the Christian is afraid of displeasing Him; and so good—that he is afraid of losing Him.

Doctrine: It is an indispensable duty incumbent on Christians, to be fearers of God. “Fear God!” (Eccles. 5:7). “That you may fear the glorious and awesome name of the Lord your God!” (Deut. 28:58). This fear of God, is the very foundation of a saint. One can no more act as a Christian without the fear of God—than he can act as a man without reason. This holy fear is the fixed temper and complexion of the soul; this fear is not servile—but filial. There is a difference between fearing God, and being afraid of God. The godly fear God as a child does his father; the wicked are afraid of God as the prisoner is of the judge! This divine fear will appear admirable if you consider how it is mixed and interwoven with several of the graces.

  • 1. The fear of God is mixed with LOVE (Psalm 145:19, 20)
The chaste spouse fears to displease her husband, because she loves him. There is a necessity that fear and love should be in conjunction. Love is as the sails to make swift the soul’s motion; and fear is as the ballast to keep it steady in true religion. Love will be apt to grow wanton, unless it is counter-balanced with fear.

  • 2. The fear of God is mixed with FAITH
“By faith Noah, moved with holy fear, prepared an ark” (Hebrews 11:7). When the soul looks either to God’s holiness, or its own sinfulness—it fears. But it is a fear mixed with faith in Christ’s merits; the soul trembles—yet trusts. Like a ship which lies at anchor, though it shakes with the wind, yet it is fixed at anchor. God in great wisdom couples these two graces of faith and fear. Fear preserves seriousness, faith preserves cheerfulness. Fear is as lead to the net—to keep a Christian from floating in presumption; and faith is as cork to the net—to keep him from sinking in despair.

  • 3. The fear of God is mixed with PRUDENCE. (care, caution,and good judgment, as well as wisdom in looking ahead)
He who fears God has the serpent’s eye in the dove’s head. He foresees and avoids those rocks upon which others run. “A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” (Proverbs 22:3). Though divine fear does not make a person cowardly—it makes him cautious.

  • 4. The fear of God is mixed with HOPE.
“The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love” (Psalm 33:18). One would think that fear would destroy hope—but it nourishes it. Fear is to hope, as the oil to the lamp—it keeps it burning. The more we fear God’s justice—the more we may hope in His mercy. Indeed, such as have no fear of God do sometimes hope—but it is not “good hope through grace” (2 Thess. 5:26). Sinners pretend to have the “helmet of hope” (1 Thess. 5:8)—but lack the “breastplate of righteousness” (Eph. 6:14).

  • 5. The fear of God is mixed with INDUSTRY.
“Noah, moved with holy fear, prepared an ark” (Hebrews 11:7). There is a carnal fear, which represents God as a severe Judge. This takes the soul off from duty, “I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground” (Matthew 25:25).
But there is also a fear of diligence. A Christian fears—and prays; fears—and repents. Fear quickens industry. The spouse, fearing lest the bridegroom should come before she is dressed, hastens and puts on her jewels, that she may be ready to meet him. Fear causes a watchful eye—and a working hand. Fear banishes sloth out of its diocese.

' The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him.'
Psalm 34: 7

 'Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who greatly delights in His commandments.' 
 Psalm 112:1

My friends, I hope that you can see that the true fear of God is not a fear that makes a woman run away and flee from God. It is a fear that drives her to God, and by His grace, serves to keep her there <3

Dear sisters, hast thou the fear of the Lord?

No comments: