The Bible Speaks

The fear of God is a restraint upon evil
Mar. 17, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

“…there is no fear of God before his eyes.” Psalm 36:1b

The fear of God is one of the greatest moral restraints in our society. It is possible to escape man’s punishments through lying or cleverly covering up wrongdoing, but it is impossible to escape the justice of Almighty God. He knows everything, sees and hears everything. Nothing escapes His notice (Hebrews 4:13). The fear of man, though a strong deterrent, will never be strong enough to suppress evil in society. It could be argued that today’s increasingly dark world is due, in large part, to the reducing of punishment for crimes and the lessening of the shame associated with immoral deeds (examples: murder where there is little or no capital punishment; adultery and fornication where there is no shame for engaging in it). Though these are factors, I believe the main reason for our moral decline is that there is little fear of God among the people.

In Psalm 36, King David writes that the transgressor is prone to evil and even convinces himself that it is okay, all because he does not fear God. He does not see his sin as against God first and foremost. There is no fear of eternal judgment before an Almighty God who has the power and authority to cast his soul into hell. When men have a healthy fear of God’s judgment they are far less inclined to disobey His laws. How many triggers would be pulled on others and finally on oneself if there was a fear of judgment after death?

The fear of God is a restraint upon evil, but it is also motivator for the righteous. The godly man or woman who is constantly aware of God’s opinion of his words and actions is much quicker to turn from untimely words and selfish deeds. He doesn’t want to shame or disappoint the One who gave him life and therefore is far more careful to live in accordance with God’s ways and laws. Fear of God to the Christian means reverence for God and thanksgiving to Him for salvation. Such reverence naturally works in his soul to move him to do what is right so as to please the Lord.

The Bible speaks of fearing God as a great motivator for good and a restrainer of evil. If this is true, and it is, why then is the government, which is charged with fostering good in our society, so adamant in its efforts to root out Christianity from the public square? True religion is of great benefit to the country and not an enemy to be eradicated. A good government, like a good citizenry, will promote the fear of God among the people. Oh, how I pray that they would.

The Rev. Bruce MacInnes is pastor of Turner’s Chapel.