The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. – Psalm 19:9
Thus is shown the reason for fearing God – His judgments. This fear is based on our capacity to recognize the truth. It is the reality of our condition; “. . in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” We are bound by this ability to discern, to recognize the voice of our Creator, to know the value of His words.
Jesus spoke a parable of a king inviting people to a wedding. It would seem there was a requisite wedding garment. . .
Matt. 22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The speechlessness of the negligent guest speaks loudly. He knew the protocol. He knew his presumption. He had no argument. He had no fight. He should have been afraid of rejecting the wedding garment. Instead, he came to the wedding in the boldness of his imagination. So we are left with a picture of reality laid bare.
We should fear God, because what He does is right. We can pretend it isn’t so. We can say things like; “If I were to stand before God, I’d tell Him what I think.” (As if to say, “I’m the real king around here.”) We can be deluded for a time. In the end we will confront the truth. God is King. God is just. “Every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess. . .”
Think of the weeping and gnashing of teeth portrayed above. Jesus said this so we can understand. These things don’t have to be. He didn’t describe the effects of some eternal demon tormenting the lost. He described the fruit of man’s speechlessness before the king, the total awareness of personal culpability. Now is the time for such awareness, while we have opportunity for repentance.
II Cor. 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men . . .