In today’s world, having a fear of God is often an unpopular view. However, as I read God’s word, I find that having a reverential fear of God is essential in our walk with Him. Many verses in scripture portray the fear of God in a positive light.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.” (Ps. 111:10)
“You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.” (Deut. 13:4)
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov. 1:7)
But what about the verse I John 4:18? “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” Does this verse invalidate the many others? Absolutely not. God (and His word) never contradicts Himself.
So what is perfected love? I like John Piper’s expository on this verse…“In THIS is love perfected with us.” What does “this” refer to? The words just before it say, “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. In this is love perfected with us.” So I would take the “this” to refer to our abiding in love or abiding in God and God’s abiding in us — when you abide in love, love is perfected in you. (And let me add…Truly loving God and abiding in Him, leaves no room for covering secret sins.)
He also says, “Fear is an imperfect bond to God, but it is a bond which should be replaced only by an infinitely closer bond—the bond of love. Nothing else should cast out fear…The point after which fear will have no proper place in the Christian’s life is the point at which his love is perfected. But none of us is yet perfected in love; none of us is without moments in which his delight in God fades and the “things which are seen” become deceptively attractive…In these moments we ought not to be completely free from fear, because we are not completely controlled by love for God; that is, we are not living completely by faith. But the fear that we are to feel as Christians is itself a work of grace. It is a fear which casts us back into love for God and trust in his mercy, and thus destroys itself. Fear is the proper servant of love for imperfect saints.”
A healthy fear of God includes the fear of the consequences of our sin or disobedience.
Yes, we should all have an intimate close relationship with God, but this relationship is much more than some people want to proclaim. It’s not the fluffy, feel-good relationship that many like to make it to be. Yes, it’s true that God loves us just as we are, but we should not remove a healthy fear of God in our lives.
I’m appalled by the secret sexual sins that are going on in the lives of many men within our churches. The tendency is to rationalize sin and to focus on the grace of God, but the healthy fear of God is gone. God does NOT overlook sin! He will openly judge our secret sins on judgement day. You and I WILL give an account before God for everything we view and each of our actions.
While the men in our churches have their struggles, I am also appalled by the unloving, critical, and controlling spirit that is prevalent in many women in the church. I see the tendencies in myself. I know that if I remove a healthy fear of God and the realization that I will need to give an account of each of my words and actions, I will never grow in this area.
I believe each of us have unmet desires and areas where we’ve been wounded that contribute to our wrong actions. At the root are hearts of little girls and boys that have been broken in some way and that’s why we respond in the ways we do. However, that still doesn’t justify our sins. God doesn’t excuse or overlook our sin. It is because of God’s love that He will not overlook our sin.
Our works will never save us, but we will certainly be judged by them. God looks at my heart. But my works are often the results of what’s in my heart.
Freedom in Christ doesn’t mean the absence of guilt and consequences when there’s failure in our life. True freedom is having the power to do what God’s word teaches. It is the freedom to be the man or woman that God has called you to be.
My friend, let’s ask God to show us the true condition of our heart and reveal any secret sins. If we continue to rationalize and remove a healthy fear of God, we will continue to walk in defeat. We will never become a broken person until we’re able to view our sin as it appears before a holy, righteous and fearful God.
When we remove a healthy fear of God, we forget that God has many emotions and characteristics. God is deeply saddened when we continue to fail in defeat. His heart is immensely grieved when we exchange brokenness with self-justification. God experiences sorrow and anger because of our habitual sins.
Gird up your loins, fight your battles. Cowards have no place in this war. We’ve become “soft on sin” while touting about the grace of God. Could it be because we’re trying to cover up our own failures and guilt?
God is waiting. He’s waiting for you to come to Him. In brokenness and repentance. Yes, He loves you unconditionally, yet, He judges you justly. Your works, thoughts and actions will be proclaimed before God and others. A healthy fear of God today just may be your saving grace on the judgement day.
- ~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)