‘What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.’
The fear of God.
I remember reading ‘The God Delusion’ by Richard Dawkins and shaking my head as I read his mocking and scorn of the Christian God. I recall thinking what a fearful day it will be for him when he meets the living God and has to swallow his words under the fearful judgment of the one he scorned. Acts 5 brings this reality to the forefront: you can’t mess with God.
Ironically, as a believer, I find it easy to recognise someone else’s lack of fear of God and yet I am slow to see my own. Ananias and Sapphira have the same problem. They think they can hide what they were doing from people and forget that God is all-seeing and serious about holiness. In lying they show that their view of God is small and don’t realise that they are in fact lying to God, and the consequences are fatal. The shocking thing is that this all takes place by and in the midst of God’s people. It’s something you would expect of the world, which thinks flippantly of God, but not of the Church. But here we have it: a flippancy towards holiness and the absence of a fear of God.
As I contemplate this reality my heart is unsettled as I think of how often my thoughts and actions reveal a low view of God. I shudder to think how often I have been flippant about the things of God or been unfased by God’s people doing the same. I fear that in our resounding theology of grace and God’s goodness we have overlooked the serious nature of holding a high view of God. Perhaps we have become too familiar with God, or perhaps we have taken on the flippant attitude of the world around us? What should we do?
“Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.” (vs 11) We must remember that the God we serve is holy, that He is ever-present by His Holy Spirit and that He is all-knowing. True fear of God is shown in our attitude, our words and in our actions as we live before a holy God. We should live our lives in the knowledge of His presence and seek to honour Him in everything we do. By doing this we reveal our fear of God.