Thoughts on the Epistle to the Romans (61)

The Preaching of Saint Paul at Ephesus

There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Romans 3:18.

Paul gives a final quotation from the Old Testament to demonstrate to the Jews from their own holy scriptures that, like the heathen, they needed the forgiveness of their guilt and freedom from the power of sin. Paul had first shed light on the general state, then on their speech and their ways. Now it was a matter of the fundamental orientation of their hearts and lives. “No fear of God!” This is the main characteristic of sinful man. God is not the essential factor in his planning and his life. The thought of the Creator is put to one side. But God is holy, and the day will come when he will bring His righteous claims to bear on mankind.

Godly fear means taking God seriously in His essential being and His claims in every situation of our life. One did so: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as true Man here on earth. Of Him it was paid prophetically in Psalm 16:v.8: “I have set the LORD always before me.” His life was orientated exclusively towards God. Therefore He was the only One who did not merit death. Yet when he went into death for us, God did not permit His “holy one to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10).

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” i.e. the start of the pathway to God (Proverbs 1:7). Indeed, recognizing that God is holy and righteous, and that I am a sinner deserving eternal punishment, must make everyone shudder. To all who come so far God shows why His Son Jesus Christ died: namely, so that they might obtain eternal life.

Image: By Eustache Le Sueur – Web Gallery of Art:   Image  Info about artwork, Public Domain,