This study was birthed out of several conversations with people that I personally believe are biblically born from above (ie: “saved”). The issue to address is the fear of meeting God face to face. One in particular has told me several times how fearful he is of meeting God at the judgment seat, because of all of the wrongs he has done throughout his life. While I understand the validity of his feelings, I believe it is not a healthy, scriptural view of God. Not long ago, he looked me dead in the eye and asked me if I feared standing before God when my days were through. I responded, without any real thought or deliberation, “No. I don’t fear it.” Although my response was confident and sure deep within me, the personal significance of this statement was astronomical. You see, I was pretty much raised Baptist and I was taught far more about the devil and hell than I ever was about Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. I grew up in fear of God – fear that He was angry at my disobedience and disappointed with my life that was riddled with selfish decisions (yes, even as a child). At the age of fifteen, after yet another sleepless night of imagining my own death and going to hell forever, I made a “decision” to “believe”. Of course all that I really believed in was that I was going to eternally suffer for my sins and get the punishment that I deserved. Jesus was just a ticket out of what I was, for whatever reason, enamored with – eternal hell.
Fast forward through years of lust, disobedience and flat out blatant defiance of God – attending church and Christian youth activities all the while. Even fast forward through the season when I grew older, became more responsible and tried to “do better” and even worked on staff at two churches. I truly thought that this was it – this was the Christian life. After thirty plus years had come and gone, I had an encounter with the LORD Himself. It was not about warm and fuzzies, nor was it initiated by anyone else… not really even by me. It was not emotions nor was it coercion. It was not to please anyone else and most importantly, it was not rooted in fear whatsoever – it was no “decision”. I encountered God Himself and there was no disputing it.
All Are Without Excuse
To get things started, I’d like to briefly address what I have previously studied and written an article about, titled “Without Excuse”. It is regarding how all men are subject to the Law of God. To do so, I want to share a personal experience that will paint a great picture of this correct understanding of God’s Law and how everyone is accountable to It.
I love to fish. I go as often as I can. Several years ago, I was introduced to trout fishing in some beautiful mountain streams here in the mountains and hills of Northeast Georgia. Living where I do, it is quite easy to drive an hour or so and find some great waters in order to catch some trout. Recently, I spontaneously left on a Saturday morning and headed up to the foothills for the day in order to see what I could catch. It was a chilly and gloomy Winter day and the water was beautiful. I fished for an hour or so with no success, but it didn’t matter really as I was having a great time just being out in God’s beautiful Creation. As I was standing on the shoreline of this small river, a Georgia DNR truck pulled up behind me and stopped. A DNR officer began to scale down the side of the bank and addressed me. Knowing he was likely just checking licenses, I calmly greeted him and asked him how he was doing. “Great. May I see your license please?”, he responded. Of course I obliged and stood there with pole in hand as he looked over my information. Then everything changed. “Sir, do you know that these waters are closed for the season?”, he asked. “Closed?” I thought. “No, I didn’t know that” I said. “Well this part of the river is closed for trout fishing and it is illegal to fish here at this time of the year”, he went on to explain. As he asked me to go up to his truck with him, I knew that this was not going to end well. He asked me if I had a Georgia Fishing Manual – I did. He asked if I had read the rules and regulations – I had… some. He asked if I saw the two signs posted a mile or so back that referenced the river being closed to fishing until May – I saw one, but honestly thought it was not regarding public use (is a long story as to why). He then began to write me a citation. As he wrote it out, he was kind, he was chatty – I however was feeling neither. As he finished, he asked me if I had any questions. I responded with a “no”, walked two steps and then stopped. I turned back to him as he sat in his truck and calmly said, “You know what, I’m a clean-cut guy. I take care of the water that I fish on. I’m responsible enough to be careful with the fish that I catch and release and I, on occasion even pack out trash that I find that is not mine. I see people out here drinking beer and littering and doing whatever they please… and I’m the one who gets fined. I’m not a law breaker - this just doesn’t seem fair.” Then I proceeded to walk back to my truck and leave.
As I drove home discouraged, I talked to my Father. I was in a position to learn much regarding this study that I have been doing. I was experiencing first-hand what being deemed guilty was all about. In this case, I was not vindicated – I was found guilty for breaking the laws of the land that I was standing on. Whether I was fully aware of it or not, I was breaking the laws that were in place and was subject to the punishment due for doing so. It did not matter whether I was being completely rebellious or just ignorant of the law, I was guilty. It was my responsibility to know the laws of where I was.
I had just said to this officer what millions of people say regarding their disinterest in, or lack of addressing, spiritual issues – “I’m a good person. I’m not a law breaker”, but the fact of the matter is, I was a law breaker. In the greater whole of things, we all are. We are in need of a Vindicator. His name is Jesus, The Christ.
Paul understood this as he stated in Romans 1:20. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”
In other words, God has clearly “posted the Laws of His Creation” and all are subject to the Laws that God Himself has put in place. All are responsible to know what Laws they are to live according to. All are without excuse.
The next post will get into the meat of this study. This post is more or less just an intro. Stay close.