by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom
Much of the argument against belief in the doctrine of the wrath of God has been presented in a more or less utilitarian manner. The older type of preaching, we are told, would drive people away from our churches; whereas if we emphasized and stressed the love of God, it would appeal to the people. The simple answer to that is that the facts indicate the exact opposite.
It is as the idea of judgement and the wrath of God have fallen into the background that our churches have become increasingly empty. The idea has gained currency that the love of God somehow covers everything and that it matters very little what we may do, because the love of God will put everything right at the end. The more the Church has accommodated her message to suit the palate of the people, the greater has been the decline in attendance at places of worship.
But still more serious and ominous is the fact that at the same time belief in God has also declined. As men cease to believe in God as the Lord of all the earth and as the Judge Eternal before whom we shall all appear to render an account of ourselves, and as the impression is given more and more that God is just some benign being who smiles indiscriminately upon all, so men have ceased to believe in Him and to relate their lives to Him.
It is simply not true to say that if only we emphasize constantly the love of God, men will believe in Him; whereas if we preach His wrath and justice and righteousness, they will be antagonized from Him. It is only as men know something of the meaning of "the fear of the Lord" that they continue to believe in God.
The Plight of Man and the Power of God, p. 64
“Text reproduced from ‘A First Book of Daily Readings’ by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, published by Epworth Press 1970 & 1977 © Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes. Used with permission.”
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