Sunday, October 26, 2008

What Is the Fear of God?

What is the fear of God? I thought this answer in Jean Williams' blog was quite helpful.

Don't you feel this is what we often lack today among American Christians? I know this is true of my own heart. According to Acts 9:31 healthy Christians live in both the fear of God and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. --Bill

But what exactly is the fear of God? I'd been thinking about this all week, and it seemed to me that it's just what it says: fear. We tend to try and get around it with words like "reverence" and "awe", which don't explain anything much, but Jesus is pretty clear: "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body ... Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell." (Luke 12:4-5). Of course, for us in Christ this is no longer a slavish fear, for we have found a safe refuge from the storm of God's anger.*

Here's how I explained the fear of God to the children: "Are you scared of your Daddy?" Some children: "Yes." "Does your Daddy love you?" All children: "Yes." "When are you scared of your Daddy?" "When I do the wrong thing." "Why?" "Because he might punish me." "Yes, that's right, and it's the same with God. He can punish us by sending us to hell, but we don't need to be scared if we believe in Jesus and live for him. So what's the fear of God?" One child: "It means being scared of what God can do." Pretty spot on, it seems to me!

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