Welcome to AAG! The fear of God doesn't mean to be afraid of Him. It's more of a reverence... respect for Him to walk in His ways. We believe that HE is who HE says He is... Creator of the universe...including us. We understand how much He hates sin. As believers we no longer will experience His judgement on sin, but we will experience His discipline. Just as a parent disciplines a child they love, God disciplines us, His discipline always comes from love, for love, and for the purpose of keeping us close to Him (Hebrews 12:6). God is love (1 John 4:8; Romans 8:38,39) .. it's at the very core of who He is, and it's the motivation in everything He does. Therefore, we desire (as His children) to live in ways that will please Him, not grieve Him.
To the contrary, the unbeliever has every reason to fear God in the sense that we generally categorize and define 'fear' (Luke 12:5 , Hebrews 10:31). But because we have repented of our sin and believe the gospel, we don't fear in that same way. We understand that the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7). We understand that God is Holy, Just and Righteous. We understand how God feels about sin and separation from Him and we agree with Him.
Basically it means that we respect Him, obey Him, and worship Him alone, separated out from the world. Deuteronomy 10:12, 20,21; Hebrews 12:5-11
In my own mind, I had the perfect answer but I wanted to type you out this great theological answer full of Scriptures & my great inspirations given by the Holy Spirit with all of those eloquent words & sound all Christianese. Then I happened upon this article & it was AWESOME. I can't add or take away a single word. I found it pretty awesome. Living in California for the past 3 years, it doesn't take much to impress me in the God-zone these days though. If I hear someone just say 'bless' not even including the word God, I'm turning around & seeing if just maybe I might find a commonality. If I hear the word 'Jesus', it's usually someone using it as a cuss word. Anyway, here's the article. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Awesome article Tammy, TY, and love you!
Love you too. Miss u
The first question one must ask is "What is fear?"
Suffice to say fear comes in many forms and a wide range of degrees. While that is true it is also true that fear can be a healthy response. Fear often is a major motivating factor that helps to keep us from doing something that we should not. While I may desire to obey civil laws because the law is good I am also motivated by the fact that I do not want to go to jail.
I would like to also suggest that the concept that all He asks is faith is not a complete picture. Faith leads us through the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to salvation, God asks us to grow in Him. We are called to be holy as He is holy. That is a tall task that can only be accomplished thru the work of God, yet there is a part we play in the sanctification process in this life while awaiting our passing or His return.
Why do I bring this up? Times have changed, though not all have fallen into this I dare say a large group of the church world has. There was a day, rightly so, that we aspired to be like God. We desired to be righteous, holy and good. Many today have devalued the Word of God and have attempted to bring God down into the image of man. There is a view that one day we will see the Father and (a bit of exaggeration here) walk up to God and say "What's up?" as if we are simply buddies or equals. That is far from the truth ... we will always be the created, yes those who have come through repentance and received Him are children of God, but still the created. He is the Creator. We are the clay and He is the Potter and as the Potter He has the right to do with the clay as He wills ... and we have the Word of God revealing to us what He wills regarding us.
Thus, the fear is not a terror brought on by the thought we will be destroyed, but rather by a right understanding as to who He is and who we are.
I will add one more thing ... the Book of Revelation gives us many points to ponder, but I will give two. 1) The Apostle John comes into the presence of God and falls face down before the Living God. I am confident in that moment John experienced a plethora of emotions ... love, reverence, joy and fear. 2) Examine the awe of the throne of God including God Himself.
Now let me return to where I started my comment ... much depends on how one defines the word fear and how it is applied in the context.
From my understanding of the bible. We should have a healthy fear of God which is deep respect. But nevertheless we must fear the punishment which can be meted out to us. We must hate the evil consequences of sin. When Achan sinned in Joshua chapter 7 the earth covered him and his family. The children of Israel were fearful and they ran away. They saw the consequences of sin. We must have a healthy respect for God but be fearful of sinning. God is love but he can show his wrath. We must always have deep respect for him and have a zero tolerance for sin.