In our earthly families there are sons and daughters who make a show of affection towards their father, but ignore doing his will when he is out of sight. There are no such sons and daughters in the kingdom of heaven. These are the true children of God who honor Him by their obedience. Dr. John Kennedy offers this explanation:
“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him.” (Psalm 25:14)
Those who fear, must be near to, God. They were once “far off,” but they have been brought nigh by the blood of Jesus. In the covenant right of Jesus the quickening spirit came to them when they were far off and dead. He caused them to live, and He united them to Christ. Being clothed in the righteousness of Christ they were justified by God; the criminals were pardoned and made heirs of life; and they received power to become the sons of God. Having a right to communion with God, the Spirit guides them to the throne of grace. Their homage at the footstool of that throne is fear. It is neither the rebel, who dreads the king’s approach, as he skulks on the outskirts of the kingdom, not the stranger, who has never visited the sovereign, who can do him homage in loyal, friendly deference to his rank and rule; but the courtier or the child, who is in the palace and in the presence of the king. So only those who are His loving children and His loyal servants, can honor the Lord as a father, and as a master fear Him.
In their approaches to God on His throne of grace, they mingle reverence of His glory with hope in His mercy. This is a combination only found where the true fear of God is. Others may have either a slavish fear without hope, or a presumptuous hope without fear; but the view of God which inspires hope in the heart of a Christian produces also reverential fear. The glory of God, as seen in the cross, commands his admiration as well as his trust. It is at once solemnizing and encouraging. It bears him down while it draws him near. It breaks his heart as surely as it cheers it. And the more it has of the one effect the more it has of the other. The more clearly he discerns the rigor of divine righteousness and the steadfastness of divine truth, the more he is constrained to reverence and encouraged to hope. It is to the mercy that is accompanied with truth he humbly ventures to appeal, and he can claim peace, only when he sees it in the embrace of righteousness. His confidence increases with his admiration of God’s character and his awe of His majesty. His fear is not now in conflict with his hope. Solemn awe only gives zest to his enjoyment of liberty in the presence of God. The more I am persuaded that it is the sovereign with whom I commune, the more I prize the tokens of that sovereign’s favor. I may, perhaps, have met him on a journey divested of the insignia of royalty. I may then have received some token of favor, but it cheered me not as it would if I has gotten it from the king, when wearing his crown and seated on his throne amidst the splendor of his court. What proved him king and glorious would make me all the more prize his favor. I might have feared that it was not as king that he was my friend before, and that he would not acknowledge in open court the poor man to whom he then happened to be kind. But when from the very throne he helps me, how precious is his kindness and how cheering to my heart! I cared not so much for his kindness, nor would I so depend upon it, when I could stand up before him as he showed me favor. But how invaluable do I reckon his condescension when I can only receive the token of it lying prostrate at His footstool! (Sermon: “The Secret of the Lord”)
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