The Fear of the Lord

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The Fear of the Lord

By Rev. David Bast on July 4, 2022

Read: Romans 8:14-17

Blessed is the one who fears the LORD always. (Prov. 28:14)

What exactly does it mean to fear the Lord? Preachers usually explain it as feeling awe for God, adding that it doesn’t mean we should be afraid of him. Really? Aren’t you just a little bit afraid of God? I know I am (see Heb. 12:18-29).

Bible scholar Alec Motyer defined the fear of the Lord as “a filial dread of offending God” (The Message of Philippians, p. 100). Our fear is filial, it’s the attitude of a son or daughter. It rests on the confidence that we are God’s beloved children, adopted in Christ and sealed by the Spirit, who teaches us to call God Abba, Father. The fear of the Lord is not the fear of a slave cringing before a terrible master or a child shrinking from a raging adult. But it’s also “dread of offending.” The last thing we should ever do is treat God casually or presume upon his grace. “With you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared,” said the psalmist (Ps. 130:4).

The book of Acts describes a healthy season in the life of the early church: “And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied” (Acts 9:31). The Christian life is a walk, and like any walk, you have to balance between two steps: left, right, left, right. Or in Acts’ terms: fear, love, fear, love—the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. —David Bast

As you pray, ask for the right balance of fear and love in your daily walk.

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