In our Foundation’s Bible Study, we have been going through the book of Romans, and recently wrapped up the first major section of the book. Paul, breaking from current writing strategies, begins his book speaking of the ‘bad news’. He spends the better part of three chapters outlining the desperate nature of man before God. In 1:16, Paul speaks of the Gospel being the power of God on display. Then, to help us understand the extent of this power, Paul explains the depth of the gulf that separates us from God.
By the time Paul reaches chapter 3, he has vividly explained how all stand hopelessly condemned before God, regardless of your background or lineage. While man is not necessarily as sinful as he could be, all have rejected to honor God and give Him honor. We all stand guilty and condemned. In 3:10-18, Paul uses a litany of Old Testament passages to convey the fact that this is an eternal truth, not one he has created.
When he gets to verse 18, Paul sums up humanity’s problem: “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Fundamentally, every root of sin comes to a failure to fear God. Man has failed to fear God, sending us hopelessly down a swift river of destruction. Each sin can be traced to some failure to fear Him. Each transgression betrays a failure to apply the knowledge of God and His holiness to our lives.
It is a simple fact that if we were to appropriately apply a fear of God to our decisions, we would not choose rebellion. But we far too often fall into the trap Paul introduces in chapter one. We suppress the truth. We may not suppress the truth of God the same way we would before God stepped in to redeem our hearts, but we still hold back the application of what we know to be true about God to our lives and the decisions we make.
Each and every time I sin, each and every time I fail, it is because I failed to fear God. I didn’t take what I know about God to be true and apply it to my life. I functioned like an atheist, not a sinner saved by grace unto obedience. So let us be about the business examining our hearts, our motives, our decisions to see if they are being educated by the fear of God.