Friday, June 5, 2015

The Fear of the Lord

A member of my church asked me about the fear of the Lord. I promised to write them something. This is what I wrote.

You had asked about the fear of God. There are two kinds of fear in the Bible. One kind is the fear that a slave has before his cruel master. The Bible speaks to that when it says,

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18

There is another kind of fear that the Bible talks about. This shows up in places like this:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:10

This fear is not about relating to a cruel master. It's about understanding that we will be evaluated by God. So, there's this:

And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile …  1 Peter 1:17

We will be evaluated. But don't think of that merely in terms of being in trouble. God will look at the works of faithful Christians who sincerely desire to do what is good and right, and He will reward them (even though there will still be much that isn't good in those works). Part of the motivation for working at sincerely desiring to do what is good and right is that we will be evaluated and rewarded.

There is also the flip side of this. Those Christians who do not work at sincerely desiring to do what is good and right will also be evaluated. They will suffer loss. And in some cases they will be excluded from the Kingdom. The last day will reveal that there was no love for Jesus.

I'm going to guess that this will raise other questions. If that's true, let me know.