The “Fear” of God

Christianity–at least biblical Christianity–is not about fear and scare tactics. Some will say, “But, Christianity is just another ancient religion about getting to bliss and escaping judgment, about forcing people to do things and scaring them if they don’t.” Not so! Hell is real, yes… just as is Heaven. However, Christianity is not really about escaping Hell. Nor is it about being super good, so that you might earn your spot in Heaven. That sort of thing would be religion. What I describe here at Lamb’s Harbinger is what the Bible teaches concerning a reconciled relationship with the all-loving God, whom you can and ought to know. [See posts like The Meaning / Purpose of Life or Why Doesn’t God Show Himself or What is Holy / Holiness?] 

So, what about this “fear” thing? It’s just this:  many Bible passages use the word fear when describing one’s relationship with God. For example, in the Old Testament, we read “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” (Prov. 9:10)  “…Fear God and keep his commandments…” (Ecclesiastes 12:13); and in the New Testament we read that the early Church, “enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase” (Acts 9:31). When this sort of fear is mentioned in either the old or new testaments, it means something other than “be scared.” Because translators like to honor the traditions set by older translations, and since older translations often contain what are now archaic words, then terms like fear (in the archaic sense) are brought into newer translations. That being understood, whenever you read of fearing the Lord in the sort of contexts that I have exemplified above, you should think “to be filled with adoration, to lovingly respect, to reverence, to be in relational awe of, to bear filial love/piety for.”

What does this fear look like? It looks like a woman who has freshly fallen in love with the man who has won her heart. She is in awe of him in a healthy way; she feels safe with him and trusts him and wants an adventure with him (i.e. “follow him anywhere,” or would do anything for him or with him). It looks like a child who believes her daddy can do anything and is bigger and better than all of the other girls’ daddies. Now, these relationship pictures may break down with our human relationships. Yet, with God, He will prove himself unfailingly faithful and perfect to his promises despite our willfulness, blindness, or despite hurts and unfavorable circumstances. Despite all these things, and though it may take years, God will prove himself true and everything/everyone else liars.

So, reverence him, be filled with adoration of him, lovingly respect him and be in relational awe of him; because that is the essential to having peace, having eternal wisdom for life and relationships, and for knowing God as he wants to be known.

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