Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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Dear Pastor John,
I looked up the word "fear" in The American Heritage Dictionary.
#4.a Awe; Reverence: Fear of God.
Awe is good, but I liked the word reverence. The Heritage says reverence means profound honor or respect. Some other Scriptures:
Lev. 26:2 "Ye shall keep my sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD your God."
Esther 3:2 - ". . . But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence."
Matt. 21:37 - "But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, 'They will reverence my son.'"
Showing reverence (honor, respect, being in awe of ) all seem to lean toward another word ?? obedience. Being obedient to God and doing his will each day is showing your fear of God. By being obedient and listening for God's word hopefully gives one understanding and wisdom. Gaining wisdom from God gives us power and also makes us realize more and more that He is real. Thank you God for your gift of the holy Ghost which will enable us to remain fearful of you.
Bro Jim K.
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Hi Brother Jim:
The controversy concerning the true definition of the phrase "the fear of God" is an old one that rages at times among religious people like some political debate between liberals and conservatives. On the one hand (mostly on the liberal end), the verse "love casts out fear" is often quoted as part of an argument that the phrase "fear of God" does not include a sense of fright. On the other hand (usually among conservatives), room is made for frightfulness, even if it is not the main ingredient of "the fear of God". By the grace of God, we are set free from the controversy altogether.
The fear of God includes everything that you have written concerning "awe" or "reverence" as well as everything that Sister Donna recently wrote, and even much more than either of you, or I, have said. I should emphasize one element as an addition to your comments and to hers; to wit, terror. The genuine, mature fear of God includes the sense of sheer terror at His mighty power.
Paul told the saints at Corinth that he knew "the terror of the Lord". The reason that this same "terror of the Lord" is not much mentioned nowadays is that the power of God is not often experienced in our time. This is a real tragedy, and we must seek God for His cure for this spiritual handicap. Every man of God in the Bible who ever came in contact with God's power learned how to tremble in sheer terror. Some became physically ill as a result of God's visitation (Daniel); several others literally passed out (Ezekiel, John); and a number of others did likewise. "A horror of great darkness" attended God's visitation to Abraham (Gen. 15), and when God shook Mount Sinai, Moses said, "I exceedingly fear and quake." As descriptions of the emotions experienced by the human participants in such scenes, words such as "reverence", "respect", and "awe" fall far short of the truth. I know by my own experience that when God's holy presence comes upon a man in strength, the words "awe" or "reverence" are completely inadequate to describe the feeling that is created in the heart. Nothing but the word "terror" suffices.
My sincere hope is that God will create His fear in the hearts of all His children, including us, by giving us experiences with His power. Few, it seems, among those who believe really understand what is meant by the term, "the fear of God", and the only cure for that serious problem is a visitation from God. May God grant that mercy to us, so that we can at last be delivered from all the spirits of Christianity, spirits that debate in the dark about definitions of the light and about experiences they do not have from God. When I began my journey in Christ, I remember praying often and earnestly, "Lord, deliver me from my own opinions!" I'm not sure that I understood at that time just how deeply our opinions are embedded into our nature, but I knew that I needed help to get rid of mine. Only God's power can change the foolish nature of man.
Many people have a preference, because of some predisposition, for one part of the gospel as opposed to another. For example, it may seem more comfortable for some to speak of the blessings that Jesus bestowed on suffering people rather than his angry cursing of the fig tree or his calling certain men sons of Satan. The Scripture, "God is love" is far better known than is the Scripture, "God is a consuming fire". But to lean too far either one way or the other in preference is "in the flesh". Paul exhorted us to "behold both the goodness and the severity of God" (Rom. 11:22), and unless we take heed to that exhortation, we run the risk of fashioning from our own imaginations a god to worship that we prefer rather than to submit to the one true God that is. Such contrived gods are notorious for allowing sin to infect the soul. They have never done well in the area of protecting God's people, or anyone else, from sickness, sin, or death.
Brother Jim, please help me pray that Jesus will come to us and upon our children in his mighty power as well as with his loving kindness. If he does not, none of us will ever truly come to know God.