Fostering Fear of God
I recently heard a young Christian remark, “I have no fear of dying.” When I heard this comment I thought to myself, “I wish I could say that.” I am not afraid of death. I believe that death for the Christian is a glorious transition to heaven. I am not afraid of going to heaven. It’s the process that frightens me. I don’t know by what means I will die. It may be via a process of suffering, and that frightens me. I know that even this shouldn’t frighten me. There are lots of things that frighten me that I shouldn’t let frighten me. The Scripture declares that perfect love casts out fear. But love is still imperfect, and fear hangs around.
There is one fear, however, that many of us do not have that we should have. It is the fear of God. Not only are we allowed to fear God, we are commanded to fear Him. A mark of reprobation is to have no fear of God before our eyes.
Martin Luther made an important distinction concerning the fear of God. He distinguished between servile fear and filial fear. He described servile fear as that kind of fear a prisoner has for his torturer. Filial fear is the fear of a son who loves his father and does not want to offend him or let him down. It is a fear born of respect. When the Bible calls us to fear God, it is issuing a call to a fear born of reverence, awe, and adoration. It is a respect of the highest magnitude.
Coram Deo: Ask God to give you filial fear for Him, an attitude of reverence, awe, and adoration.
Proverbs 1:7: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Proverbs 10:27: “The fear of the Lord prolongs days, but the years of the wicked will be shortened.”
Proverbs 16:6: “In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.”