“Wherefore, we, receiving a Kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have Grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and Godly fear—for our God is a consuming fire.”

Hebrews 12:28-29

When we remember Who He is and what/where we’d be without Him, it should move us to repentance and surrender.

“With reverence and Godly fear.”

What do these words really mean?  Intellectually, we can give a learned response from the dictionary.  And, theologically, we can possibly give somewhat of an answer from the Bible.  But, in reality, do we really know what they are?  And, even more, do we “serve God acceptably with reverence and Godly fear”?

We know the word “reverence” basically means “to pay homage to, show respect toward, revere, hold in high esteem, etc.”  And, “Godly fear”—from the Greek word “eulabeia”—can also be translated “caution, dread, taking care, cautious, circumspect, pious, etc.”  Thus, the combination of the two reminds us of the importance of living a holy life.

This isn’t a standoffish life that’s aloof, pulling its robes of self-righteousness tightly around one’s self like the Pharisees in Jesus’ day.

But, it is a life of practical purity whereby we become the type of “salt and light” Jesus called us to be (Mt. 5:13-16).  We know salt is using for seasoning (flavor), but was also used for preservation of meat and purification of wounds.  And, light is essential to life and also gives off heat.

What, then, causes us to live an “acceptable (Grk. ‘euarestos’—‘pleasing, agreeable, fit, etc.’) life that reveres God in all we say and do?”

First of all, it’s His Grace—that Heavenly Love which cannot be earned and is so freely given to such wretched sinners as us, who deserve nothing but death and hell.  And, it’s this same Grace that pardons us from our guilt and adopts us into God’s Family, which gives us entrance into His “Kingdom which cannot be moved.”

But, we also live holy lives because “God is a consuming fire.”

No doubt this refers to His Shekinah Glory and white-light Holiness.  But, it also refers to His perfect Justice which must punish sin.  Although many nowadays discount, denounce and deny the reality of hell, the fact remains that such a place exists (Lk. 16:19-31).  And, all those who knowingly and willfully reject Jesus as their personal Savior will one day stand before God’s great White Throne Judgment and then “be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death” (Rev. 20:11-15).

Oh, dear Pilgrim, the time is too short and the hour is too late for us to be negligent and disobedient in Christ’s call to “go into all the world, win the lost and then disciple them in His Word and Ways” (Mt. 28:18-20).  That’s why we, like Jesus, “must be about our Father’s business” (Lk. 2:49)—for, in reality, this is what it means to “reverence Him and serve Him with Godly fear.”

June 17, 2011