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The Significance of Fear in the Christian Life

21/01/2024
The Significance of Fear in the Christian Life scaled

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9,10)

Why in the world would Solomon say that? Maybe because if you don’t fear God, you’re likely to go through life quite casually. You’ll enjoy God’s blessings, perhaps moan when your life’s not going so well, but actually, you have quite a carefree demeanour. You’re just taking life as it comes, one day at a time. But if you stopped for a moment to think how mighty, powerful, and awesome God is, you would realise that he is a God worth pleasing. He made you, after all. He has the power of life and death. He holds your destiny in his hands. In addition to that, he is a just God. He cannot tolerate evil. He will judge the living and the dead. Are you ready to be judged by a pure, righteous and just God who cannot look on sin? Is it, after all, wise to fear God, as Solomon says?

So what is the role of fear in the Christian life, and why should we fear God?

Fear God because he is mighty.

Our mighty God parted the Red Sea. He defeated armies so the Israelites could settle in the promised land. But he also destroyed the whole world with a flood. He swallowed up Pharaoh’s whole army in a mighty act of judgment.

He is indeed a mighty God. It is, therefore, wise to fear him.

Fear God because he is powerful.

God spoke, and the world – and everything in it – came into existence. But Jesus also promised that this very same world will be destroyed: The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. (Matthew 24,29) Terrifying events. A powerful God indeed. Who would not fear him?

Fear God because he is awesome.

Fall on your knees to praise this mighty, powerful and awesome God who can unleash the power of water and heavenly bodies to end this present world. But this same God’s might, power and awesomeness raised Jesus from the dead and promised sinners eternal life if they believed in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross for their sins.

Fear God because he will judge all the evil wickedness in the world. Fear God and pray earnestly for those who don’t believe in his son, Jesus. Who would want to face a just and perfect God on judgment day if they haven’t been covered in the protection of Jesus’  blood? If they don’t have Jesus as mediator. If God’s fearsome, but just wrath is unleashed on them.

Fear God because he is mighty, powerful and awesome.

But rejoice that he loved you so much that he sent his son to the cross to take your place. That Jesus sacrificed his life for you, faced God’s wrath instead of you, and is now Lord and King, seated at the right hand of the Father and making intercession for you.

We don’t often think about how significant the role of fear is to the Christian faith. The Christian community prefers to think of God’s love.

But the fact that God is a God of justice gives pause for thought. Reflecting on this truth is bound to make us more cautious, keener to stand in the face of temptation, and more eager to avoid sin. So, as you journey through each day, remember Solomon’s wise words about fearing the Lord being the beginning of wisdom. You are a foolish person indeed if you don’t take this mighty, powerful and awesome God seriously.

Breath of God by Gillian Leggat
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