The fear of God is a frequent subject in the Bible, you wouldn’t know it by listening to American Christians, however.
I recently read a book that said, “Fear has no place in the life of a believer.” And the fear addressed was specifically the fear of God.
The “logic” goes like this: since we are saved by grace and God loves us, we don’t need to fear God and shouldn’t fear Him. Fear is the opposite of love and faith.
This is all very cute and charming and quite lovely in the Spring time, but it’s not true.
“But Jeff, what about 1 John ‘perfect love casts out fear?’ There’s no fear in love, Jeff.”
Well, that particular passage is talking about boldness in the day of Christ. The believer need not fear when it comes to Judgment Day. John is not saying “Perfect love casts out the fear of God,” John is saying that since I love the Judge and the Judge loves me, and I’ve spent my life living like Christ, I can have confidence on Judgment Day. (Look at it, that’s what it says.)
But Jeff, what about when Paul says God ‘has not given us the spirit of fear?'”
Again, look at the context. Paul is telling young Timothy not to be ashamed of Christ who suffered, nor of Paul who is suffering. Paul is encouraging Timothy to buck up and partake in the sufferings of the Gospel. Paul didn’t say, “God has not given us the spirit of the fear of God.” Paul is telling Timothy not to fear the sufferings of the Gospel.
In both passages, which are always used to say we don’t need to fear God, the context shows this isn’t the point. Of course we’re supposed to fear God: He’s God! We’re breathing piles of dirt! What’s the point of having a God who isn’t worthy of our fear?!
Furthermore, the only people in the Bible described as “having no fear of God,” are unbelievers! Go ahead, look it up!
Faith is impossible without fear. Faith implies a need for someone greater, more powerful, someone who is in charge, unlike us.
The fear of God is a good thing! The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. If you don’t fear God, and if you teach others not to fear God, you merely show you dumb you are, and according to Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, you will remain dumb.