Chapter 12 Warnings and Fear of God
When love doesn’t work to motivate us, God will certainly use fear in its place. God’s love is perfect, while ours is very flawed. Perfect Love will cast out Fear, but unfortunately, we are not yet developed perfectly in God’s love. Therefore, we will experience a measure of fear in our lives from time to time. The first person to fear God was Adam, because he disobeyed him. (Gen. 1:10) Fear is essential sometimes and without it we probably wouldn’t pay attention to the warnings of God, but if we are wise, we will take heed to them. In this chapter I will discuss why and how God warns us, as well as point out some of God’s most serious warnings.
Unfortunately, there are many false teachings on this topic. Many people overemphasize God’s gentle loving nature and completely dismiss the fact that he is holy and just. To only teach about God’s love and leave out the fear of God, his intense warnings and the consequences of punishment for disobedience, is like telling people how beautiful fire is without warning them that it will burn. Although it is absolutely true that God loves us and will never leave us, it is just as equally true that God will punish his children when they willfully disobey him.
Purposes of Warnings:
Obviously, God sends us many warnings to prevent us from getting hurt. They are supposed to guide and motivate us to follow his instructions. Why would you warn someone to get off the railroad tracks when there’s a speeding train headed directly towards them? To save them, right? Hopefully they will be wise, fear death and take heed to the warnings. That is exactly why God warns us, because he loves us and does not want us to perish in death.
The fear and warnings of God work together to keep us safely under God’s protection. (Jer. 32:40) If we are following God’s ways, then we will have nothing to fear. When we walk in God’s perfect love the fear of death, condemnation and punishment are cast out of our lives. The warnings of God remind us to remain faithful and abide in his love. They will help keep us from falling away from the narrow path of life and destroying ourselves.
Jesus came to save us from eternal death and judgment, so he has warned all of us to repent from our sinful lifestyles and follow his teachings. He has also warned us that if we do NOT believe that he is who he claimed to be, which is GOD on earth and the ONLY begotten Son of God, then we will die in our sins without forgiveness. These are pretty stiff warnings to say the least.
He loves us so much that he was humiliated, beaten, mocked, spit on, and eventually crucified, so that we could avoid the wrath and condemnation of God that was due to us. When God warns us to repent and follow his teachings, he is doing it from the depths of his love. Let us be wise and take heed to the warnings of God. Let’s look at some of the ways God sends his warnings to us.
How God warns us:
The most prominent way God warns us is through his Spirit which lives inside us by faith. If we are “Born of God,” by believing on his Son, then he will give us his Holy Spirit as a deposit which guarantees our promise of eternal life. (Eph.1:13-14) It is through his indwelling Spirit that we are directly connected to God and all the Heavenly treasures, knowledge, wisdom and power that he offers. This intimate connection is the essence of our personal relationship with God and require faith to establish.
Once we are sure of our relationship with God then we are required to spiritually grow and learn from him. He will teach and guide us in all our ways through his Spirit. When we do something harmful or disobedient, God will communicate it to us through his Spirit by causing us to feel something within our spirits. We will instantly know and understand that we have drifted off his narrow path because God will reveal our mistake to us. We will get a deep impression or sensation within our hearts, letting us know something’s wrong. As I have already mentioned, this is called “quenching and grieving” his Spirit. (Eph 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:19)
If we are submissive and sensitive to God’s Spirit, we will immediately know when he is communicating something to us. Our spiritual sensitivity and awareness may take a while to develop, but it will get easier to interpret as our relationship with God grows more intimate. This can only be done by daily surrendering to God, but if we are rebellious and immature we will have difficulty hearing and understanding what God is saying.
If we are immature and have not yet developed a sensitive relationship with God, we will often quench and grieve his Spirit within us. When we offend his Holy Spirit, he will begin to warn us by diminishing his presence in our hearts. If we continue to ignore God’s warnings then we will drift further away from him and find it even more difficult to experience his guidance, power and blessings in our lives. If we don’t eventually confess our issues and repent, we will develop a spiritually cold and callused heart that can not hear God at all. We simply won’t care about confession and repenting anymore.
If we are God’s children and we persistently ignore his many warnings, we should expect that there will soon be consequences to face. I have tested God many times causing him to chastise me. For instance, if I allow myself to use profanity or gossip about someone, I will first feel the Spirit of God begin to grieve within me. This is his first gentle warning that I have behaved foolishly. This is also the very first form of chastisement God will use. If I continue to ignore his warnings and gossip further, I will notice that my peace and happiness has been replaced with bitterness and strife.
Those who are wise will listen to his spiritual warnings and make the necessary corrections. Those who are stubborn and foolish, will continue to disobey God and suffer harsher consequences for it. I am finally learning to be wiser and sensitive to his Holy Spirit and avoid the painful lessons of foolishness.
The Bible warns us:
Another way God warns us is through his written Word. We can find all of his warnings by reading and studying the scriptures. It is very important that we constantly pray and study the Holy Bible for ourselves, because there are many false teachers in the world who will lead us astray. We will discover his truth if we go directly to him with a pure and hungry heart. Read, pray and study the entire Bible and you will be rewarded with a deeper measure of God’s knowledge and wisdom. Pray and ask him to show you his knowledge and he will.
God will always use other people to warn us. Many times we can not see our lives from a distance and need others to guide us. That is one reason why we are commanded to assemble together. We need each other to help advise, correct, guide and warn one another when we start to wonder off the narrow path.
Circumstances and Experiences warn us (Brothers death)
Finally, God will use circumstances and experiences in our lives to warn us. God will allow certain circumstances to unfold that will get our attention. Not always, but many times, when something painful happens to us in life, it’s because we have wondered off the narrow path and disobeyed God. I know that when my brother died, God was not only chastising me, but warning me that I would be next if I did not repent.
God used my brother’s sudden unexpected death to get my attention. What a powerful warning he had sent me. It was devastating to find his dead, cold, stiff, rigor mortis body the day after he died, but nothing got my attention more intensely than that experience. I can not even begin to explain these great mysteries of God, but I know in my own heart what God was doing to me through this painful and shocking event.
Some people like to put God in an unrealistic religious box and say he would never do such a thing, but that is a fantasy and completely unbiblical. Plus, I can testify from my own life that God does allow these things to happen to us, even though he loves us.
Most Crucial warnings of God:
There are a few warnings in the Bible that deserve extra emphasis. I consider these warnings to be the most fearful and powerful warnings of all. Unfortunately, they are also the most improperly taught and grossly misunderstood. Because they are very fearful and hard to swallow, people either water them down or totally ignore them. They are specifically designed to put fear in those who are not serious about following God. Once you have studied and read these warnings you will be held accountable to them, so beware as you continue.
Warnings: Hebrews 6:4-6, Hebrews 10:26-31
I will paraphrase them with my own words, but I recommend that you go to the Holy Bible yourself and study them.
Heb. 6:4-6, “It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” (The Greek word for "Fall Away" in this passage describes a complete abandonment of the Faith, not merely stumbling or struggling with sin.)
This means that if you once called yourself a Christian, believing and following the teachings of Jesus, and you completely fall away and abandon Christ and his gospel of salvation, that you will never be allowed to come back and repent. An extreme example of this is someone who once followed Christ and then decides to become an atheist, denying that there is a God. That is what totally abandoning the faith looks like. I have rebelled many times in my life, but I have never denied Jesus as God and savior of the world.
Heb. 10:26-27, “If we willfully and deliberately continue to practice sin after we have heard and accepted the Gospel of Jesus, there is no hope for us, there is no other sacrifice for our sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation of GOD which shall devour us. Those who despised the Law of Moses died without mercy, How much worse a punishment do you think is deserving for those who deliberately disrespect and dishonors the Son of God, and has dishonored the blood sacrifice of the Son as an unholy thing, and despite the Spirit of Grace. We know God will get his revenge and will Judge "HIS PEOPLE.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God.”
This is a clear warning to not ignore our calling to walk holy for God. Once we commit our lives to God we are to never go back and get entangled by the same corruption that he has set us free from. If we do this warning makes it very clear that there will be very harsh consequences to endure. I have been chastised just shy of losing my life for this type of behavior. Believe me when I tell you, it is very real.
Most Crucial warnings of God:
The coming Wrath and Judgment of God:
Luke 21:36, Jesus warns us to pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Warning for doing evil:
Romans 13:4, But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he bears not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, avenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
Warning for Salvation:
John 3:18, He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Matthew 12:30-32, Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. But whosoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaks against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
Mark 11:26, But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
Warning of returning to Sin:
2 Peter 2:20-22, For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, “the dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”
Please, make sure that you study the Holy Bible for yourself. Do not take my word for anything. Don’t be lazy or reckless when it comes to knowing the truth of God’s Word. There are too many false teachers in the world, so be careful. Your eternal salvation is too important to ignore these imperative warning.
In conclusion, I hope that you have a clear understanding about the warnings of God. Remember that they are founded in his love and designed to keep us safe from pain and death. Our God is truly merciful and slow to anger, willing to forgive and heal us if we are willing to humble ourselves and call upon his name. If we are wise and love God, we will take heed to his warnings, follow his ways and avoid the pain of his chastisements. Next, I will discuss the ultimate freedom we can experience if we grow in our personal relationship with God and learn how to directly apply his power to our lives.