Fear and God?

Are we to Fear God?

If so…

Why and how?

Depends on what you mean by fear. I was taught that fear of God is not “being afraid”, but instead showing great respect and reverence, awe.

So in this sense, we should fear God at all times, in everything we do, but most especially when we come together to worship, to hear His word and receive the sacraments.

In Luther’s small catechism, he starts his answers to questions by saying, “We should fear and love God,…” Fear (respect and reverence) and love seem to go together when we consider God’s great love and grace for us.

Jon

Just as Jon said, I was always taught to see this ‘fear’ as respect and awe. not fear as in ‘to be scared of’. It’s an older use of the word.

=Rawb;5512240]Just as Jon said, I was always taught to see this ‘fear’ as respect and awe. not fear as in ‘to be scared of’. It’s an older use of the word.

Does the fact that you’re responce is correct does preclude the realitythat God is Fearful and should be feared?

The Holman Bible Dictionary contains a readable entry on this subject. It’s written by Professor Claude F. Mariottini, who I think is a Baptist. The premable deals with the broad range of emotions that are involved and then moves to “religious fear,” stating:

Religious Fear is the human response to the presence of God.

Then comes the following.

***A prominent element in Old Testament religion is the concept of the fear of God. Most often the sense of fear comes as individuals encounter the divine in the context of revelation. When God appears to a person, the person experiences the reality of God’s holiness. This self–disclosure of God points to the vast distinction between humans and God, to the mysterious characteristic of God that at the same time attracts and repels. There is a mystery in divine holiness that causes individuals to become overwhelmed with a sense of awe and fear. They respond by falling down or kneeling in reverence and worship, confessing sin, and seeking God’s will (Isaiah 6).

GOD AS A FEARFUL GOD
The God of Israel is an awe–producing God because of His majesty, His power, His works, His transcendence, and His holiness. Yahweh is a “great and terrible God” (Nehemiah 1:15); He is “fearful in praises, doing wonders” (Exodus 15:11); His name is “fearful” (Deuteronomy 28:58) and “terrible” (Psalm 99:3). The fear of God comes as people experience God in a visible manifestation (Exodus 20:18), in dreams (Genesis 28:17), in visible form (Exodus 3:6), and in His work of salvation (Isaiah 41:5). God’s work, His power, majesty, and holiness evoke fear and demand acknowledgment. The fear of God is not to be understood as the dread that comes out of fear of punishment, but as the reverential regard and the awe that comes out of recognition and submission to the divine. It is the revelation of God’s will to which the believer submits in obedience.

The basis for God’s relationship with Israel was the covenant. The personal relationship that came out of the covenant transformed the relationship from a sense of terror to one of respect and reverence in which trust predominated. This fear which produces awe can be seen in the worship of Israel. The Israelites were exhorted to “serve the Lord with fear” (Psalm 2:11). Fear protected Israel from taking God for granted or from presuming on His grace. Fear called to covenant obedience.

FEAR AS OBEDIENCE
Deuteronomy sets out a relationship between the fear of God and the observance of the demands of the covenant. To fear the Lord is one of the ways by which Israel expresses its obedience and loyalty to Yahweh and to His divine requirements: “And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13; compare 6:24-25; 10:20; 13:4). Fear becomes a demand that can be learned (Deuteronomy 17:19). Fear of God was part of the religious life of every Israelite, where the acknowledgment of it required a specific behavior from each individual. Fear of God was a requirement demanded from every judge (Exodus 18:21). The kings of Israel should rule in the fear of the Lord (2 Samuel 23:3); even the messianic King would live in the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2). To fear God was the beginning of wisdom and thus of the pathway to true life (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; 15:33).

“FEAR NOT”
The expression “fear not” (also translated “do not fear” or “do not be afraid”) is an invitation to confidence and trust. When used without religious connotation (15 times), “fear not” is an expression of comfort. These words come from an individual to another providing reassurance and encouragement (Genesis 50:21; Ruth 3:11; Psalm 49:16). When “fear not” is used in a religious context (60 times), the words are an invitation to trust in God. These words appear in the context of the fear and terror that follows divine revelation. God invites His people not to be afraid of Him (Genesis 15:1; 26:24); the angel of the Lord seeks to calm an individual before a divine message is communicated (Daniel 10:12,19; Luke 1:13,30); a person acting as a mediator of God invites the people to trust in God (Moses, Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua, Joshua 10:25).

THE “GOD–FEARERS”
The “God–fearers” were those who were faithful to God and obeyed His commandments (Job 1:1; Psalms 25:14; 33:18). Those who fear God are blessed (Psalm 112:1); they enjoy God’s goodness (Psalm 34:9) and God’s provision (Psalm 111:5). In the New Testament “God–fearers” became a technical term for uncircumcised Gentiles who worshiped in the Jewish synagogue.

FEAR IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
Some Christians tend to de–emphasize the fear of God in the New Testament by placing the love of God above the fear of God. There is indeed a greater emphasis on the love of God in the New Testament. However, the element of fear was part of the proclamation of the early church.

Paul admonished believers to work out their salvation “with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). The early church grew in number as they lived “in the fear of the Lord” (Acts 9:31). The fear of God is related to the love of God. The revelation of God to people in the New Testament contains the element of God’s mysterious otherness calling for reverent obedience. The New Testament church stands in awe and fear in the presence of a holy God, for fear is “the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).***

I think this is a well–presented article and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed copying and pasting it.:slight_smile:

Selflessly,
Mick
:thumbsup:

I agree with Friend Jon…“perfect love cast out all fear”…“He has not given us a spirit of fear…but of a sound mind.”

A point for reflection: 1 Jn. 1:8 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

Should this give pause for further reflection in the light of Divine justice and fairness?

contains a readable entry on this subject. It’s written by Professor Claude F. Mariottini, who I think is a Baptist. The premable deals with the broad range of emotions that are involved and then moves to “religious fear,” stating:

Religious Fear is the human response to the presence of God.

Then comes the following.

I think this is a well–presented article and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed copying and pasting it.:slight_smile:

Selflessly,
Mick
:thumbsup:A point for reflection: 1 Jn. 1:8 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

Should this give pause for further reflection in the light of Divine justice and fairness?
[/quote]

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suppose that as a result of the utterances of people based inside Christendom, and perhaps even including Saint Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo, any number of outsiders do not think of the justice of God but of the judgment of God. I daresay many have inferred that God is eagerly waiting for an excuse to punish mistakes by way of severe judgment having first made it impossible for mistakes not to be made. Indeed, that line of thinking leads to fear of God in the everyday sense of the word fear because fear has to do with punishment.

No harm in adducing the occasional prooftext, though.:slight_smile:

Reflectively,
Mick
:thumbsup:

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