THE TRULY FEARLESS ARE THOSE WHO FEAR GOD

THE TRULY FEARLESS ARE THOSE WHO FEAR GOD

Compiled by Michael Jeshurun

The fear of God will be or should be one of the favorite topics of the Christian. Unfortunately, it’s very misunderstood. This may be partly because it isn’t mentioned much anymore, and many tend to understand the word fear as fright, and only fright. The fear of God is a very multi-faceted doctrine. It doesn’t just mean awe or reverence but a whole lot more.

The Bible has a lot to say about ‘The fear of God’ – see Genesis 22:12, Deuteronomy 6:1-2, Psalms 2:11, Proverbs 9:10, Isaiah 50:10, Acts 9:31, Revelation 14:6-7, for a good representation.

The fear of God starts out with the realization of our sin, and realizing what we’ve been saved from.

Because believers have been saved from sin, and from God’s wrath, we want to obey God not because we’re afraid of Him (1John 4:18), but because we’ve come to appreciate how good His commands are, and to do what our Father tells us, because He’s spelled out the best way to live our lives (Psalm 119, Romans 12:2).

My flesh trembleth for fear of Thee; and I am afraid of Thy judgments. [Psalm 119:120]

Biblical fear is not simply “alarm” or “fright,” nor is it simply “dread”; and even “awe” does not fully capture the fear that is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10). Biblical fear—in its right and mature expression—is a humble and loving response to the character of God. Such fear rightly perceives the awesome and even terrifying power of God, but this perception is tempered with marveling that one so majestic is so concerned for his people.

God is infinite in power but intimate in love. He creates and sustains the universe and yet is present with us. As the earliest of biblical writers said, such knowledge is “too wonderful for me,” and its glorious revelation always takes the blood from our faces and the strength from our knees (Job 42:3). These responses may mirror the human behaviors before a tyrannosaurus, but we would be quite mistaken to say that biblical fear is anything like that fear.

Biblical fear is not merely concern for possible harm. Rather, biblical fear is proper regard for all God discloses about himself in His glory and His all-powerful hand with a redeeming heart. We do not have a single word that adequately translates the term for biblical fear, but we do have a clear example to remove all questions as to its basic meaning. Isaiah prophesies of the coming Messiah, saying that “the fear of the LORD” will “rest on Him” and “He will delight in the fear of the LORD” (Isa. 11:2, 3 ).

The Lord Jesus fears God, and He delights to do so. This means that the relationship of God the Father and God the Son ultimately exemplifies biblical fear. Since we know eternal and infinite love exists between the Father and the Son, we must understand that Christ’s fear cannot simply be terror. Perfect love must drive out that kind of fear (1 John 4:18). Jesus’ intimacy and humility with His heavenly Father reveals that His fear is proper regard for the full spectrum of divine attributes—including his wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and love.

Here’s a quote from Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress –

“Christian said, “Without a doubt the right fear can be a good thing, for as the Word says, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’

“How would you describe right fear?” Hopeful inquired.
Christian explained, “True or right fear can be known by three things. First, by what causes it: the right kind of fear is caused by saving conviction of sin. Secondly, a good fear drives the soul to quickly lay hold of Christ for salvation. And thirdly, this fear begins and sustains in the soul a great reverence for God, His Word, and His ways. It keeps the soul tender, making it afraid to turn right or left from His Word and ways. It makes the soul sensitive to anything that might dishonor God, grieve the Spirit, or cause the enemy to speak against God.” – John Bunyan

“Even the Christian must fear God. But it is another kind of fear. It is a fear rather of what might have been than of what is; it is a fear of what would come were we not in Christ. Without such fear there can be no true love; for love of the Saviour is proportioned to one’s horror of that from which man has been saved. And how strong are the lives that are suffused with such a love!” – –J. Gresham Machen

“None fear the Lord like those who have experienced his forgiving love. Gratitude for pardon produces far more fear and reverence of God than all the dread which is inspired by punishment. If the Lord were to execute justice upon all, there would be none left to fear him; if all were under apprehension of his deserved wrath, despair would harden them against fearing him: it is grace which leads the way to a holy regard of God, and a fear of grieving him. The point is that God forgives people in order that they might fear, meaning, that they might become his faithful, obedient worshippers.” – C.H. Spurgeon

The way of safety is to FEAR GOD! In the wisdom tradition the ‘fear’ of God is the awe and holy caution that arises from realization of the greatness of God: ‘Splendour… terrible… majesty… power… justice… righteousness… Therefore fear Him.’ (Job 37:22-24) – (Eaton’s commentary on Ecclesiastes)

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man!” [Ecc 12:13]

One thought on “THE TRULY FEARLESS ARE THOSE WHO FEAR GOD

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s