For those who persist in their denial and defiance of God, according to Psalm 14, they are in great terror (Ps 14:5). This phrase is in what we’d call the perfect verbal form, which means they aren’t necessarily afraid in the present. David is describing the terror, or fear, they will experience in the future as though it is happening right now. We might say they will be in great terror, or perhaps we could say they should be in great terror.
Terror of what? What should they be afraid of?
Paul tells the Corinthians, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2Co 5:10).
The majority of people may deny it, but children of Adam are on a path that ends with terror. Jesus said, “The gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many” (Mt 7:13).
Obviously, the people addressed in Psalm 14 have made a deadly serious miscalculation about themselves, the world, and most importantly, God. The fool says, “There is no God, and I don’t need him anyhow” (Ps 14:1). God says, “You’re foolish, corrupt, and ignorant, and you have every reason to be fearful because you deserve nothing less than my wrath.”