The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Proverbs 9:10, Psalm 111:10
If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth…
1 Peter 1:17
We are continuing our study on the Character of a Godly Man.
The subject we’ll consider is one that is often overlooked today, but is a vital ingredient to your sanctification, a motivation to flee temptation, and will bring urgency to your evangelism. It is the fear of the Lord. It is the fear that drives out all other fears.
First and foremost, we should consider that God is infinite and we are very finite. He is Creator, we are creature. He is perfectly righteous, holy and just. We are not.
Too much of what is called “Christianity” today is marked by a casual and lighthearted attitude, if not downright flippant. Yet there should be a genuine holy reverence, a humility, a worshipful attitude that makes us see God for who He is, and makes us evaluate ourselves for who we are.
Although a Christian has been saved from judgment, He still acknowledges that God is the righteous judge, and our sinfulness in this life should rightly keep us in reverent awe of Him, and instill a very real fear for those still under His wrath.
The fear of the Lord makes grace amazing.
1 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10, Ps 111:10)
- The fear of God always begins with the understanding of judgment (1 Peter 1:17)
- God has the right to judge
- Our judgment is warranted (Ps 51:5)
- The fear of God means an understanding of our finiteness
- God is infinite, transcendent, all-knowing (Ps 145:3)
- He is always beyond our understanding
- We are His creatures, and we should be in awe (Ps 139)
- The fear of God should be passed on to our children (Ps 78:1-8)
- Fathers must be telling of God’s greatness
- This is the continuous practice in the home (Deut 6:7-9)
- Make it the legacy you strive to pass on (do your children know the works of God? Have you given them an awe of Christ?)
- Practical aspects to the fear of the Lord
- an urgency never to displease God
- searching for ways to always please Him (Eph 5:10)
- see the example of a man who fears God in Ps 15
2 – A man is blessed if he fears the Lord (Ps 128)
- To know God is to fear Him
- A blessed man flees evil influences (Ps 1:1)
- God looks to a particular kind of man
- humble, contrite, trembling at His Word (Isa 66:2)
- a man who’s convictions are based on the character of God
- believes and lives the truth (Ezra 7:10)
In our current condition (saved, but yet not glorified) an encounter with God would leave us in utter terror (remember John’s reaction when he saw Christ in Revelation 1?). A simple evaluation of who God is, and then a simple evaluation of who we are should bring us low before His majesty. It should make us reel at how amazing God’s saving grace is. It should make us tremble at what awaits unbelievers, and stir us to evangelism. It should cause our prayers to be marked by reverent awe.
This is why Peter says “If you address as Father (yes, there is an intimate, familial relationship) the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work (and yes, He the Holy Judge), conduct yourselves in fear (a healthy reverence and awe) during the time of your stay on earth.”
There is the promise held out in that last line, that one day – when indwelling sin is finally removed and all things are made new – we will be in His presence without fear, and instead, He will come to us with comfort and dwell with us in eternal joy.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”