Would you be afraid of one who always showered good things upon you? Are we not rather afraid of the terrorists, murderers, and gangsters who exercise violence and make our streets and buildings dangerous? Yet the psalmist in Psalm 130:3, 4 writes, "If Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that Thou mayest be feared. '' And our versification has it thus (PRC Psalter):
If marked by Thee our sin appeared,
Who Lord, could stand in judgment cleared?
Forgiveness that Thou mayst be feared,
There is with Thee.
Now the psalmist had in verse 3 told us that we have every reason to be afraid of God, for marking our transgressions means marking us as rebels who deserve everlasting punishment. Why then does he tell us that God ought to be feared because He forgives sin? Does God not forgive us our sins so that we may live before His face with perfect peace, and with all fear removed from our souls?
Did not the angels, at Jesus' birth, say that now there was peace on earth? And "Fear not, for I bring you good tidings of great joy'"? Yes, but what the psalmist means here by fear is the awe and reverence of faith. God sent His Son to die for our sins, so that a legal basis might be laid for us to receive a new life of love and awe before God. What an amazing truth that is! God marks our sins, and no one so marked has the right to escape, or way of escape by man's works. What a wonderful, awe inspiring way it is, however, that God follows to save us! He sends His own Son to suffer all our punishment. And that ought to fill us with awe and reverence before Him. God did this for sinners, rebels, enemies!
And here we have the deep reason for our salvation, namely, that we as believers may stand in awe before the God of our salvation, and in His house of many mansions may everlastingly cry out, "O God, how great and good Thou art.'' Yes, the deepest reason for our salvation is the glory of God.
Quote for Reflection:
”We believe that the same God, after he had created all things, did not forsake them, or give them up to fortune or chance, but that he rules and governs them according to his holy will, so that nothing happens in this world without his appointment: nevertheless, God neither is the author of, nor can be charged with, the sins which are committed. For his power and goodness are so great and incomprehensible, that he orders and executes his work in the most excellent and just manner, even then, when devils and wicked men act unjustly. And, as to what he doth surpassing human understanding, we will not curiously inquire into, farther than our capacity will admit of; but with the greatest humility and reverence adore the righteous judgments of God, which are hid from us, contenting ourselves that we are disciples of Christ, to learn only those things which he has revealed to us in his Word, without transgressing these limits. This doctrine affords us unspeakable consolation, since we are taught thereby that nothing can befall us by chance, but by the direction of our most gracious and heavenly Father; who watches over us with a paternal care, keeping all creatures so under his power, that not a hair of our head (for they are all numbered), nor a sparrow, can fall to the ground, without the will of our Father, in whom we do entirely trust; being persuaded, that he so restrains the devil and all our enemies, that without his will and permission, they cannot hurt us. And therefore we reject that damnable error of the Epicureans, who say that God regards nothing, but leaves all things to chance.” Belgic Confession, Article 13 “On Divine Providence”
- Date: 7-May
Rev. John A. Heys was born on March 16, 1910 in Grand Rapids, MI. He was ordained and installed into the ministry at Hope, Walker, MI in 1941. He later served at Hull, Iowa beginning in 1955. In 1959 he accepted the call to serve the South Holland, IL Protestant Reformed Church. He received and accepted the call to Holland, Michigan Protestant Reformed Church in 1967. He retired from the active ministry in 1980. He entered into glory on February 16, 1998.