This week I want to look a little bit into what the fear of God is, and why we are to fear him. The fear of God is something that Christians don’t hear much about these days. This is probably because of his loving nature shown to us through the life of Jesus Christ. But there is also a downside for everyone who continues to sin. That is that they cannot enter into the kingdom of God, but instead will suffer eternal death.
Because the nature of God is love, his kingdom must be full of love. Jesus gave us the command to love each other, and as Christians, being under his authority, we must obey this command.
1John 4: 7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. ……1John 4: 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us…….19 We love him, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
Being children of God, even if we don’t at first understand the reasons for it, we will at first through faith, obey the commands of Jesus because of the fear of what God might do to us.
1Pet 1: 17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:……Mat 10: 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
As we grow out of childhood, we eventually begin to reason, and to understand his word to us.
Heb 5: 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil…….Psa 111: 10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
Here is God’s will – that, just as Jesus Christ loved us, and died for us, we are also to love each other, and sacrifice our lives for the sake of the well-being of each other.
1John 3: 16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth…….Eph 5: 1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour…….John 15: 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
By the fear of God, when we eventually come to an understanding of his will, we cannot let the fear of evil dictate our actions for us. We are to spread this gospel message of the love of God to the entire world without any fear of what might happen to us.
1John 4: 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love…….Mat 10: 27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell…….2Tim 1: 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God…….2Tim 4: 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine…….5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
Theoretically, when we were children we obeyed our parents, first because we knew we would be punished if we didn’t, and later because we understood why they wanted us to do those things, and that we needed to learn certain rules by which to not only stay out of trouble – which are selfish reasons, but to also not hurt anyone else, and even to help others in need – which are selfless reasons . The same holds true with why we are to first fear God. As children, in the beginning we obey him because we fear him for what might happen to us, but then as we grow further in his word, we will ultimately come to a real understanding of his will for us. Ultimately we are called to follow in his footsteps.