There is little doubt that Christ makes people uncomfortable. Throughout His ministry the gospels often make it clear that the greatest issue that many had with Him was not false teaching or heresy, although that was the common excuse, but that they were uncomfortable in His presence because they were forced to deal with sin. Nearly two thousand years after the termination of His earthly ministry, the same truth still resides. The name and person of Jesus Christ are terrifying.
For most people today though, that fear is not one of deep conviction but of confrontation. The fear of the Lord is to be met with a reverence for who God is in His holiness. As such, it leads us to the conviction of truth which should ultimately impact our lives in two distinct ways. First, to be convicted of the truth forces us to adopt that truth in our lives. Truth is never meant to be passive, but active in our lives, and thus that conviction compels us to adopt it as part of our worldview. That adoption leads to action as the truth is lived out. Fear of the Lord results in conviction and thus places before us an opportunity and desire to change, to strive to be holy as our Lord is holy.
For many, the mere mention of the Lord Jesus Christ causes a pause. To them they are not convicted by the fear that comes with acknowledging the holiness of the Lord, but instead they see it as a confrontation or an attack. Rather than being forced or compelled to consider who they are without Christ, the name of Jesus Christ demands a defense from them.
The question is when we are confronted by the holiness of God, are we convicted or confronted? Conviction should lead to a genuine examination of why we are convicted, leading us towards repentance and sanctification. Confrontation should have the same effect in which we pause the heart attitude that causes such a response to the mere mention of Christ. Both responses require a prevailing humility that permeates a thorough and honest examination of who we are.
As R.C. Sproul indicates in The Holiness of God, the holiness of Christ is more terrifying than anything in nature. We have little comprehension of what true fear is if we do not fear the Lord. I would even say that when fear of the Lord is rightly implanted in our hearts, fear of the world is rightly supplanted from our hearts. Whether we are confronted or convicted by His holiness, the response is the same . . . we need the Lord Jesus Christ more.
I have been reading through R.C. Sproul’s The Holiness of God. Join me each week as we read a chapter and reflect on what we have learned. It’s not too late to join! For more information click here. Next week we will read chapter 5.