Walking in the Fear of the Lord

by Scarlett Stough

For the Scripture References and related Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study Guide: No Fear in Love.

Since perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18), how is it we are also instructed that trusting and obeying God begins with the fear of the Lord (Luke 12:4-7)? We have to struggle sometimes with understanding how to live by every word of God. Context is everything in understanding any communication. If I say "I love chocolate" in one minute and then the next I say "I love you," you probably know the love in each comment has a different nuance of meaning.

If someone is terrorizing us, love isn't our first response. Fear turns to hate. It isn't terror we should have toward God, but a healthy respect for his power and authority, along with sharing his values and agreeing with his purpose and plan for living (Amos 3:3). It is awe for the One who created all the beauty which moves us emotionally and who designed the mysteries which motivate us to investigate scientifically.

The fear that is cast out is the fear of God's punishment:

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
Hebrews 10:26-29

Our assurance is in the cross of Jesus, making possible our receiving of the Kingdom of God:

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire."
Hebrews 12:28-29

When we come to know God loves us with a perfect love, we no longer have to fear punishment, but we do continue to fear God combined with a growing love for who he is. We learn to value his opinion of us more than the opinions of people. Because we are learning how much he loves and wants the best for us, we don't want to hurt him by turning our backs to him with that proverbial cold shoulder.

The fear of the Lord and love becoming complete are a perfect combination for living well now and for all eternity.

Volume 17 Issue 08 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation |

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