Should we fear God? Many of us have been brought up as a Christian that we should fear the Lord. What does that mean? Are we to walk around with shaking hands? We like to think of the beautiful, comfortable side of God but not be fearful of His judgment. Fear serves as an essential alarm system, warning or preparing us for impending danger. Yet fear can also paralyze us, causing us to freeze when we should fight or flee.
Before his conversion, Martin Luther (an early church father) was so scared by God; he nearly grew to hate Him. Luther had a picture of God that was twisted—he could only see God as an angry Judge; he later saw God as the loving, merciful Father.
But the Bible presents the fear of God as a friend; a friend who will do us a great deal of good: “I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them” (Jeremiah 32:39).
Then God says, “This will be for their own good and the good of their children, and this will be forever.” That means there will never be a time on earth or Heaven when God’s people will not fear him in holy wonder, reverence, and awe.
The Fear of God Has Three Parts
Fear (Awe) The Splendor of God’s Glory
Think about who God is the God who creates the moons and the stars. He speaks, and worlds come into being. Not only does he create, but he upholds the universe by his power. You cannot observe all the heavens and created things without a sense of awe. In today’s time, we call it the “Wow Factor.”
The Fear of God’s Judgment
The New Testament often speaks of the fear of God’s judgment. Fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt. 10:28). Jesus said this about his Father in Heaven, and he told it to his disciples!
The command to fear God is a New Testament command (1 Peter 2:17).
In the New Testament, we read, It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31). And these words were written to Christian believers!
Fearing God was a mark of the early church at its best: And walking in fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it [the church] multiplied (Acts 9:31).
Notice how the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit are joined together. So, we need to understand that the fear of the Lord brings good into the life of a Christian. How? Because the Holy Spirit now lives in us! God does not want us to experience His anger and judgment, so the Holy Spirit leads us away from things that will harm us or our relationship with God.
Fear Shows us the Wonder of God’s Love
The fear of God that does us so much good arises out of our knowledge of the grace, mercy, love, forgiveness that leads the person who receives it to fear the Lord. You see the love of God and how much it cost on the cross, and you say, “How could I sin against love like this?”
A person who fears God is one who has seen his glory, judgment, and love. Can you see now why Jeremiah speaks of the fear of God as something that lasts forever? Because even in Heaven, God’s people will fear him as we love him and love him as we fear him.
Glory: Heaven will be filled with the splendor of His majesty. The pure in heart will see God, and when we do, we will fall on our faces casting any crowns before him in awe and worship.
Judgment: Heaven will remain a happy and holy place forever because of God’s judgment on unrepentant sinners that goes on forever in hell.
Love: Heaven will be full of the knowledge of his love. Glory, judgment, and love – forever, we will fear him; forever, we will love him. “I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever” (Jeremiah 32:39).
Do you fear God? Do you listen to the Holy Spirit when He tells you to or not to do something?
Go to Romans Road to Salvation and/or Prayer of Rededication