Yes, God Should Really be Feared
We don’t have the right to think of “God” as we would have Him to be. It is wrong to fashion our concept of Him according to our own understanding. Such inevitably degrades the glory of the true God. It is wrong to harbor concepts of Him which are not compatible with the revelation of Himself in the Bible. We have to make a choice to be honest about everything God has said about Himself in the Bible and not alter our concept of Him to suit ourselves. We have to make a choice not to entertain in our minds a chosen concept of “God” that is pleasant and/or suitable to the desires of our own hearts. Proverbs 28:26 says, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”
When the Bible talks about the fear of God it means “the fear of God” (yes, really). A word that is often used in the New Testament to refer to the fear of God is in the original Greek the word “phobeo” (the source of the English word “phobia”). The true fear of God is an intense dread of displeasing and offending God. We are told in Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
Any who doubt whether God should really be feared only need look at the drastic, dreadful things He did in Scripture to make an example of those who turned from Him and did wickedly. There are many, many such examples in the Bible of God so working regarding individuals, families, cities, and nations. There are also the terrors of the end-time and of the Day of Judgment that we are warned about in the Book of Revelation (and of course elsewhere in Scripture too). There has even been a time already when the Lord killed every single person on earth except eight people. If your God has not done so, then your god is an idol and not the God of the Bible, the true God.
Here are some more Biblical truths about the Fear of God:
Those who do evil in God’s sight provoke Him to anger and hot displeasure (Deuteronomy 9:18-20).
God has a controversy with those who don’t walk in His ways (Hosea 4:1, Micah 6:2).
God condemned Sodom and Gomorrah with an overthrow, making them an example for those that after should live ungodly (2 Peter 2:6).
God is angry with the wicked every day. He has prepared His judgment for them if they turn not (Psalm 7:11-14).
God will punish workers of lawlessness on Judgment Day (Isaiah 26:21, Luke 13:27, 2 Peter 2:9).
He calls Himself “a great God, a mighty, and a terrible” (see Deuteronomy 10:17).
God’s anger/wrath are as great as He is (Psalm 90:11).
God casts people away for refusing to hearken to Him (Hosea 9:17).
In Malachi 1:6 God equates honoring Him with fearing Him. He also rebukes Israel’s priests for not fearing Him in the same verse.
In Jeremiah 2:19 He tells the people of Judah that it is an evil thing and bitter that they’ve forsaken the Lord and that His fear is not in them (thus connecting not fearing God with forsaking Him).
In Revelation 15:4 glorified saints marvel that anyone would not fear the Lord.
In having the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence and a place of refuge (Proverbs 14:26); in the true fear of the Lord there is life, satisfaction, and protection (Proverbs 19:23).
Nobody is getting away with anything. When God’s wrath fully comes, it is then too late to repent and get right with Him (Hebrews 9:27). The Bible says that the unrepentant treasure up wrath for themselves on Judgment Day (Romans 2:5).
Finding mercy of God is conditioned on keeping His covenant- which always involves fearing Him and keeping His commandments (Psalm 103:11, 17-18).
There is no contradiction between our need to love God and our need to fear God. At least once God expressly commands us to do both in the very same passage of Scripture. Deuteronomy 10:12-13: “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?”
Jesus Christ, incarnate as a man, spoke frequently of the reality of the eternal fire of hell and its appropriateness for those who continue in sin and despise the terms of His offer of mercy. Jesus said that it’s better to lose an eye, hand, or foot that causes us to sin rather than to be cast into the fire that shall never be quenched (see Mark 9:43-48- obviously, this is implying that if we continue to sin, we’ll go into the fire that shall never be quenched. Even though cutting off a body part won’t deal with the root of sin in the heart, the point is obviously that we must be extreme in fearing God and forsaking sin at the heart so that we stop committing it). Throughout the entire Bible we see both God’s goodness and His severity, just as we are warned in Romans 11:22 to behold “the goodness and severity of God.” Following Christ’s prescription for righteousness is often hard, but it is never unreasonable. Not embracing the Bible’s warnings about an eternal lake of fire for those who don’t follow Christ’s prescription for righteousness is negating what Christ has said and done. Obtaining His mercy requires that we properly recognize His rightful authority over us, break from our sins, and live in subjection to His Word. Without the intense dread or fear of offending God at the foundation of one’s life, it is impossible to exercise a living faith in Jesus Christ which shuns sin’s temptations, and which overall causes one to live worthy of His everlasting kingdom.
Aaron’s email is: [email protected]