The Fear of The Lord

It is written,

“Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart;
there is no fear of God before his eyes.” (Ps 36:1)


The Psalm of David was the foundation of Paul’s words in Romans 3:18. David knew all too well that the wicked (or, “guilty”) have transgression “whispering” deep in his soul urging him on to do evil. The eyes of such a one are darkened. They cannot see the fear of the Lord. In his natural state, the hearts of every person are dark, deceived, wicked (desperately so) and perverse. They cannot fear God, nor do they want to. Rather, they resort to the antics of their father, the devil, and attempt to raise themselves above the throne of God. They believe that they are as good as they need to be to enter the kingdom of heaven, and they, of themselves, will not lift a finger to change that. Absolute inability to please God, and an absolute inability to want to. That is the condition of every person who is not clothed with Christ.

Thus, if wisdom has as its necessary starting point the fear of God, as Proverbs asserts, then it is no wonder that the ungodly are foolish. They lack the wisdom that was gifted them at the creation. They lack divine wisdom that was with God, and in God, at the establishment of the foundations of the earth. They lack the sense, as it were, to choose righteousness over evil. Wisdom cries out all day long to them and they ignore it. At this point, we need to understand that this is not a neutral posture. The ungodly does not simply reject wisdom and the fear of the Lord, he hates it. Paul wrote, “…mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:7-8). There is a native hostility between man and God that rages everyday. Their heart, says David, devises evil when it should be sleeping (Psalm 36:4). He is not able to subject himself under the authority of the law of God, nor does he want to. It rebels against the authority of almighty God and revels in that rebellion. It is no wonder that mankind loves darkness rather than light (John 3:19) since, apart from the enlightening work of the Spirit of God under the direction of the Father, he is a slave of darkness. It is his nature!

Thus, with all of this in the heart of every person, religious or not, how is it that we think that any man has any level of wisdom in him? What I mean is, if Paul could not even trust himself (Philippians 3:3) for the wisdom that attains to religious satisfaction but rather died to himself in order to pursue Christ, then why do we believe that we can do better? Wisdom is as rare as gold and jewels. In fact, true wisdom is so rare, that it is only found in 1 part per 7 billion. That is, out of the 7 billion people in this world, only One has true wisdom-Jesus Christ. Paul wrote, “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God” (1 Co 1:30a; cf. 1:24). Further, Paul wrote to the wisdom-loving Colossians, “in [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3). Wisdom is rare because it is truly only embodied in one Person. And in order to know Him, you must fear Him (Matthew 10:28-Jesus, as the appointed Judge for all mankind, is able to destroy both body and soul in Hell by the authority given to Him by the Father). So, says Paul, there is no fear of God in the heart of the wicked, and Jesus Christ is God. He is to be feared. Therefore, for a person to be saved, he must overcome his lack of fear of God, and that cannot happen apart from the working of God in the heart of the person by the extended grace of God.

To fear God, as mentioned in the previous post, is to rightly understand with Whom you are dealing with and, correspondingly, who you are in relation to Him. God is life, we are dead in sins; God is light, we are darkness; God is holy, and we love transgression; God is eternal, and we are temporal; God is a consuming fire, and we are fit to be destroyed; God is love, and we love to hate. Thus, the fear of God is an appropriate heart condition in light of Who He is.

If a person wants wisdom, he must fear God. Unless a person fears God, he will lack God’s wisdom because He only gives wisdom to the upright (Proverbs 2:7).