Up until the 5th grade, I was raised Lutheran and went to a Lutheran school. At the school, part of the curriculum was memorizing the Ten Commandments and memorizing Martin Luther’s definitions of them in the Lutheran Catechism. For every commandment, Luther started his definition with “We should fear and love God…” As a fourth grader this confused me because I always knew God as a loving God, so why do I need to fear Him? I asked my mom why I needed to fear God and her answer was that we needed to respect the fact that He is God. This was a good answer and probably the best way at the time that I would understand. Later, when I read the Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis described it well when he was explaining Aslan to Lucy. She asked if he was a gentle lion, and Mr. Beaver explained that he was a good lion, but he was still a lion so a person needed to respect and fear him. Our God is a loving, caring, and merciful God, but He is still the most powerful being. Today’s story is a reminder of how God is God and we need to have a respectful fear of Him. Please turn to Acts 5:1-10.
I think the important thing to remember is that this story’s point has very little to do with whether or not Ananias and Sapphira gave all that they earned from selling their property. This story is more about how they attempted to lie to the apostles, which meant they were lying to God. I think the issue is a heart issue of forgetting that God knows and sees all and He wants us to approach Him with an honest heart. Do we need to walk around in fear of retribution? I believe this is a heart issue. God knows where your heart is and what your intentions are. We are going to have struggles with our new selves and our humanness; that isn’t the issue. The issue here was that Ananias and Sapphira were intentionally trying to lie to God.
We are going to make mistakes, and we have an incredibly merciful God. But we need to have a healthy respect and fear of the fact that His greatness is bigger than anything we can imagine. Do you have a healthy fear of God?