The Fear of God (part 1)
Greetings precious people. In todayís article I would like for us to begin to look at what the Bible, Godís Word, has to say about the Fear of the Lord. This all-important, yet seldom spoken of subject has all but been lost in both society and what is called the church. Many have the false notion that God is someone that is not to be feared rather He is to be looked at as oneís "good buddy in the sky". I have had numerous people tell me that they and the Ďman upstairsí were great friends.
The other extreme of this misunderstanding as to what constitutes the fear of the Lord, is the belief that God is totally unapproachable. Many people view God as always being angry with them, just waiting to punish them and bring bad fortune into their lives the moment they mess up. Those that have this fear of God usually feel the need to have some sort of mediator for them and to perform various acts of self-inflicted pain and suffering in order to appease God. Tragically, there is much ignorance among these sincere people concerning who Jesus Christ is and what His sacrifice on the cross has already done for them. Let us look at what the Bible has to say about Jesus.
In 1 Timothy 2:5, "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus." Titus 2:13-14, "Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us." 1 Timothy 1:14-15, "And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." Hebrews 9:24-28, "For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another-- He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation."
It should be obvious from these verses and many others like them that rather than God being angry with you, He loves you, loves you so much to die on the cross in your place. In dying on the cross for you, He dealt with our sin which put us at odds with God. He did that which we could never have done. Nothing that we can do could ever wipe our sins away, only God acting on our behalf could accomplish what was needed to reconcile us to God. 1 Peter 3:18, "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit." Gal 3:13, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree")."
Let us now look at what the Fear of the Lord is and what the Bible has to say about it. Whenever the Bible speaks of the fear of the Lord, whether it be in the New Testament or the Old Testament, the word that is used has the meaning of to be alarmed; to be in awe of; to be exceedingly reverent; to have the highest respect and honor toward. It is not that of having or showing any disrespect, or thinking of God as being an equal to oneself. Nor is it to have such a dreadful fear of that of a dog that has been beaten repeatedly and suspects another beating from its master.
God is the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, He is all-powerful and deserves nothing short of our full and complete reverence, honor, and respect. At the same time, He loves us more than we could ever comprehend and invites us into a personal, intimate relationship with Him. This in itself should cause us to stand in awe and wonder of God.
This fear of the Lord is to have a very prominent place within the lives of Godís people. As this fear was in the lives of Godís people, it was to spread and have an effect on the lives of those that lived around them.
Listen to what God said to the Israelites. In Deuteronomy 6:1-3, "Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the LORD your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, that you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you--'a land flowing with milk and honey.'
Deuteronomy 6:13-14, "You shall fear the LORD your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you." Deuteronomy 6:24, "And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day." Deuteronomy 10:12-13, "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?"
The Fear of the Lord is also taught in the New Testament. In Matthew 10:28, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him (God) who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Revelation 14:6-7, "Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth--to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people-- saying with a loud voice, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water."
Next time we will look at why the Fear of the Lord is so important in the life of the Believer and how it is to affect us in our daily lives. Until then may the Lord richly bless you my beloved.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine