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