The fear of the lord has been said to only be reverence or worship to God. This is a half-truth, and because it is said as a whole truth, then it is a false claim. Jesus for example, when quoting the Old Testament to the Devil, used the word for “worship” in the place of “fear the Lord.” However, it is not as if this was the only time fear of the lord is mentioned in the entire bible.
This is one fault I find in the faith preachers; they often say fear of God is only reverence, but it is more than that.
We are told to fear God in a similar way we fear a King. If we were part of king Solomon’s’ inner consul, yet we betrayed him and sided with rebels and traitors, then what would Solomon do to us? The conclusion is grammar school level easy. You should fear the wrath of the king if you do that. The same with God. If we were to fear the wrath of king Solomon, then how much more the King of Kings? As Jesus said “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28).
“For evil people have no future;
the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.
My child, fear the Lord and the king.
Don’t associate with rebels,
for disaster will hit them suddenly.
Who knows what punishment will come
from the Lord and the king?”
We ought to see how Jesus fulfilled the law for us, forgave us and already made us children of heaven. Thus it is correct to say, out of love to God for these good things, we should seek to purify ourselves in this wicked world and separated ourselves to Him. Peter says we sin because we forget how forgiven, pure and highly loved we are.
However, in this context, we cannot say, it is only out of love but no fear that we strive to mature ourselves in Christ. Jesus is always the King of Kings. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. It is always applicable that if you rebel against God and side with unbelief and traitors, you should fear His wrath. This context never stops being a context for any created being, particularly mankind.
However, the application of seeking God out of love is about an established repeating of thought. We are to fear Almighty God, knowing He alone holds life and condemnation. This is a truth. It will always be part of our thoughts. We can be lazy and numb, and thoughts of God’s wrath are helpful to inspire us to correct ourselves. It is often the fear of God’s judgement that will help divide so-called Christians from false and true, by spurring the true Christian to stop sinning and return to God in repentance. One of the promises of the New Contract (Jeremiah 32:40) is that God will put the fear of God into our hearts, along with the love for Him, by wanting to obey His commandments. It is not an either or, it is both.
The bible is full of God’s dreadful wrath. He drowned the whole world. He kept hardening Pharaoh’s heart (which meant Pharaoh was willing to let the people go), so that God’s full measure of wrath was poured out on Egypt. Even though God forgave David for his sin, He still killed the child and caused him on going troubles for the rest of his life. The things God caused to happen to Jerusalem (out of His wrath on the) by Babylon’s hand is horrific and should inspire repulsion.
To fear God is a glorious and noble thing, because God is the ultimate judge of man. No one can cause more harm to man, than a wrathful God. The fear of God’s dreadful wrath and the ultimate cumulation of this in hell, is supposed to lead to wisdom. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. That is, it should cause you to “run from evil.” This is good. Yet, it is only the beginning of wisdom. The maturity of wisdom “runs to God” to find forgiveness, and then greater wisdom “runs to God” to freely receive all good things from Him. Because we are to always run from evil, this fear of God’s judgement never stops from being in play. The person who does not fear God’s wrath, is a walking corpse, they just don’t know it yet.
However, when Jesus and the disciples often talked about not being mindful of worry (repeated thinking) and fear, it is contrasted with being constantly mindful of your heart established on grace, the law already fulfilled in you through Christ, on no condemnation for those in Christ, on God’s supply, on God’s nearness to help, that you have already passed from death to life and sit with Christ in the heavenly places.
We are instructed to set our minds in heaven with Christ, because our life is hidden with Him there. John says we should know we are truly born-from-God, and if so, then all fear of condemnation is gone, because God’s love dives it complete away. We are commanded to constantly look to Jesus for help in our fight against sin, who is the author and finisher of our faith. He wants to help and promises to do so. We are never told to do this in regards to fearing God. God’s fear is part of thinking about God’s truth as a whole, such as Psalm 1, in the sense we are always to run from evil. Also, if a particular group or persons were in willful sin, they need to again meditate on the fear of God. Those in sin, have forgotten the beginning of wisdom and need to remember where wisdom begins. How can they move on to greater wisdom, if they have forgotten the starting of wisdom?
If one is in greater levels of sin, whether an unbeliever or church goer, you need to fear God’s wrath and hell. If you are truly saved, it will help you. If you are confident of your standing in God, remember He disciplines (Heb. 12) (not condemn) his beloved children. It might be painful for a moment but turn to God and you will be healed, forgiven and restored. Remember, for God’s children Jesus is ministry is only of the good things He mediated for you. He does not give sickness; He takes it away. He does no give pain: He takes it away. In the indirect sense of relationship (not ultimate level), He might hand someone over to Satan (temporarily) to experience bad things, to wake them up and lead them to repentance. Yet, regarding your direct relationship to Jesus Christ, He is not a minister of pain, sickness or hardship; rather, He only ministers salvation and help and joy. He is the Christian’s best friend, so much so, He gave up His life for you. He is on your side.
Hebrews says it is good for the heart to be established on God’s unmerited favor, not about how the King’s wrath is kindled if you betray Him. Jesus tells us to forgive others, because if we do not, God will not forgive you. That is, if you cannot forgive, it means you are a reprobate, and were never forgiven by God and filled with His Spirit in the first place. However, we are told to forgive others, by thinking about much God loves us, and has forgiven us.
The fear of the Lord is like putting off the old man. Wisdom tells us we “start” by taking off the old. You flee sexual temptation. Out of the fear of the Lord, you put off the old man. This is the negative part, in the since it is about pulling away (or running from) from something, or pushing off. However, the positive part of putting on the new man, is having the love of God fill your soul with His Spirit and truth. All obedience is part of the broad category of fearing the Lord, but the Scripture often emphasizes obeying God out of favor or love to Him. It is positive in the since you are drawing closer to it.
The one repeated ordinance of Christianity is directly about remembering God’s love for us in the atonement. The atonement does have God’s condemnation, but it is a past judgment of our sin upon Jesus Christ. Paul, John and Jesus all refer to His atonement as remembering His love for us. In Jesus’ ministry and command there is a repeated focus on healing, healing and healing. Jesus could have spent more time talking about hell, but He kept healing. We are to know all biblical truths and affirm them without doubt or hesitation. We are to think about and meditate on all aspects of doctrine. However, there is a focus for us to repeat (daily, over and over) and mediate on the good promises of God toward us in Christ, more than other truths. In our constant daily or hourly prayers, our need and God’s constant unmerited supply naturally puts the truths of His love and promises before us. We are to be in repeated thankfulness for His goodness to us in Christ, know He has saved us and will continue to do so in both spiritual and material aspects.
In this context it is appropriate to say, “out of love we strive to grow in maturity in Christ.”
“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
5 So put to death the sinful…”
Colossian 3:1-5 NLT.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.”
1 John 3:1-3 NIV.
“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law,
but under grace.”
Romans 6:14 NIV.
“The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.”
Peter 1:8-9 NLT.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
1 Corinthian 3:71-18 NIV.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim FREEDOM for the prisoners
and [freedom from] blindness,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” [Isaiah 61:1-2]
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.””
Luke 4:18-20 NIV.
A few big takeaways from this is simple. Those who have a clear and continual memory that God has completely forgiven and purified them, are those who walk in Christian obedience and good character. Those who have a constant focus on their superior identity in Christ, which is now with Christ in heaven, are those who purify their behavior on earth. The more spiritual minded you are the more holy you become. Also, those who have clear and constant faith in knowing they are children of the most high God, and the hope of what this means, are those who purify themselves on earth. Also, those who are constantly aware of the abundant supply of God’s unmerited favor, are those who experience freedom from the power of sin. That is, not conscience of their sin, or issues of forgiveness, but repeatedly conscience of their righteousness in Christ and God’s unmerited favor, are those who experience freedom.
Lastly, those filled with the Spirit, and particularly the baptism of the Spirit, are freed from besetting sins, trials, health conditions and many more. Jesus was Baptized with the Spirit and by this made a point to emphasis this meant freeing people, particularly from health conditions. The Spirit brings freedom to the whole condition of man, from spiritual to material. The Spirit is power to set free. Jesus commands us to have the same baptism of the Spirit (Acts 1:1-8). By this we are endowed with power to experience supernatural freedom, and to help bring freedom to others. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is indeed great power for freedom.
When Jesus predicted Peter’s betrayal, Jesus said He prayed for his faith to not fail and encouraged him that he has prepared a place for Him in His Father’s house. It is not that Jesus forgot about the fear of the Lord, but it is presupposed here as a foundation. Jesus’ focus for Peter is the forward call of God through Him and the good things available to Peter in this irrevocable call.
Oddly, even if the faith teachers do not understand what they are doing, they are in essence fearing the lord, by obeying His commands to receive all His good promises. All these good promises are commands. To turn from unbelief (siding with traitors) and seeking to obtain these in faith, is to obey and fear the King. This is not to say their “fear of the Lord” is perfect, but they are pragmatically doing a big part of it. Thus, they are better at fearing the Lord, than those who talk often of fearing the Lord, but suppress faith, healing on demand, miracles and baptism of the Spirit.
Lastly, I think it is important to make that distinction of the emotional, fleshly, slavery of fear and attacks of Satan, in contrast to fearing God. One of the most repeated commands in the bible is not to fear. This is referring to putting fear in things that are not God, and this would include man, trials, demons or emotions.
I think some who have a history of Satan attacking them with fear and dread, might think we when say we need to fear God, irrationally equate the two. Indeed, some know the truth about fearing God and are willfully rejecting it. These need to be rebuke harshly. But there are others, usually through bad teaching, and abuse from demonic attacks might have confusion how demons use fear and what it means to fear God. The fleshly fear is emotional and feeling. From this foundation of emotion and blindness of heart, demons irrationally lead people to conclude dreaded outcomes. It makes the flesh and emotions a first principle of truth over the Scripture. Demonic attacks of fear is defined by emotions of dread, then using emotions to make conclusions that say there is no hope, no mercy from God and no way out. This is a lie against scripture. Do not endure this. You have the authority to rebuke Satan and make him flee from you. Caste out the kingdom of darkness in the authority of Jesus’ name. Sometime Satan’s attack is more than lies against the truth, but emotional and irrational. You have the authority to command such harassment to leave. This is not demonic possession, but Satan will still attack Christians with lies against the truth and even spiritual force attacks of irrational emotions. In both cases, the Christian has the truth and has the power to rebuff and destroy all such attacks. The kingdom of God is more than just truth, it is also power. Pure unfettered power!
Godly fear is foundationally intellectual and spiritual. It is an intellectual understanding of God’s authority of King and His power over life and condemnation. Remember Solomon’s proverb? He says this as a father who instructs their child. “Remember to fear both God and the king, their wrath is real. Therefore, do not go down the evil path. I will show you a better way.” It is not emotional dread, with no way out. There is many, many repeated exhortations in scripture to turn from sin and find mercy and help. The story of the prodigal son is a great picture of this. Thus, God’s fear tells you to fear the King who has the power of life and death, but Scripture also tells you there is a way out even if you have transgressed. We are pointed to the finished work of Jesus Christ. Mercy triumphs over judgment for all those who fear God, by putting their trust in His unfailing mercy.
To repent and be reconciled to God is a command. Thus, confession of sins and trusting God to full His promises of love and unmerited favor is to fear God by obeying Him. He wants this. By His own will and desire, He wanted your faith in Him to forgive and lavish you with unmerited favor to be part of what it means to “fear the Lord.” Healing is also a command for those who are sick, Jams 5:13-15. To reject this is disobedient and not fearing God. By God’s own good pleasure, He wanted your faith to be healed and lavish you with finial help to part of what it means to “fear the Lord.” Thus, to doubt God’s good promises for forgiveness, imputed righteousness, sonship, healing, prosperity and miracles is life spent not fearing God.
The doctrine of the fear of the Lord always applies. It applied to Adam before the fall, to mankind after the fall, to us now and forever. However in Christ our new identity is our special focus. Our new man is renewed by seeing our glorious image in the glorious image of Jesus. As the Father loves the Son, He loves us. As the Father receives the Son, He receives us. As all things are under Jesus feet, they are under our feet. As Jesus is healthy, so are we in this world. As Jesus is righteous before the Father, so are we.
“For it is good that the heart be established by [unmerited favor].”
People might sometimes attribute laws as just being negative. Don’t do this, don’t touch this. However, this is wrong. Many commands and laws are also wrapped up in precious and gracious promises. Take for example forgiveness of sins and being saved. The promise is that for all who call upon the lord will be saved; they will not be put to shame. Yet this is also a command, for Paul says in Acts17 to the Greeks that God has commanded all to repent and thus be saved. The same for healing. It is not optional to keep your mouth shut if God has done something good for you. James says in chapter 5 to give a praise report. This is not a self-help tip. It is a command. The same with healing. The command is not to merely pray with the elders for healing, but to be healed in faith. Healing is not merely a precious promise, it is a command.
Not all laws are negative. For example, a country can say you have the “freedom” to say ‘x,’ or do ‘y.’ This what the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus means. It is a law declaring our freedom, both “from” something and “to” do something. The usually Scriptural emphasis is what we are “free to do” in the law of life. We are free “from” the power of sin, but we are also free “to” approach God’s throne to ask and receive.
This is one difference between the Law of the Old Testament and New. It is not that one exclusively says “do not,” and the other “you are free to do this.” Yet there is a difference in emphasis. The law is more focused on what you must do or not do, in order to be righteousness and stay righteous. The Law of the Spirit of Life, emphasizes all the good things you get to do, because you are already righteous in Christ. The law of the Spirit transfers you to a place of victory, and from this place of victory you fight, because joy has overwhelmed you knowing you cannot lose the good reward promised you in Christ. The Apostles had no issue reminding us in their letters that we are not to do this or that(morals of the Old Law do not stop from being in play); however, the emphasis of the Apostles is the freedom to receive all the good things given to us and freedom to do good things, because we are already righteous in Christ.
Benny Hinn, “The privilage of justification, is no longer living under the threat of punishment.” The law of the Spirit of life, with the impute righteousness of Jesus as the foundation, frees us from the fear that we need be reconciled to God or the fear of losing our special insider status with God. This freedom and peace is foundational to a growth in sanctification. The New testament writers referred to some in their letters as knowing their election of God. Therefore when there is laziness and willful sin, we are told to check and make sure our election is sure. Having this confidence helps us in sanctification, because it removes both fear, and or delusion about oneself. One of Satan’s tactics involves fear, which hinders sanctification. The bible mentions a slavery to fear, because it is a real danger and weapon of the evil one. We have been freed from the slavery of fear, and now have the Spirit of sonship bursting in our souls. The kingdom of God is not eating or drinking, or fear or worry, but joy, power, a sound mind and righteousness.
Recall this section is about salvation as a subcategory of reality and causality, which is by God’s absolute sovereignty. We then moved into sanctification as a continuation of this. Thus, we did not get into all the specifics of what we do, but how God causes us to be sanctified. The Contract says God will write His laws in our souls, so that we obey Him and will never depart from obeying Him. God promised by His Son’s blood and death, that He will do this in us. It is certain. It is reality. It is already accomplished by the finished work of Jesus Christ. You are free! You are already under the power of the Spirit crying out in you, I am a child of God. You are already transferred from being under sin, to being under the dominating force of God’s unmerited favor.
The Spirit in conversion is endless power for intelligence and the subcategory of ethics. But the Spirit of God is more that. We just learned the Spirit is endless Power of freedom for the whole man, both spiritual and material. In addition to all this endless power for so many categories, the Spirit is also endless power for missional aspects and expanding the Kingdom of God.
  and emphasis by Author
 The exception is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. But those who commit this sin, are often too blind to be convinced they committed it.
 Benny Hinn, “Special Message -Romans 8,” from Youtube Aug 24th 2022.
 “Man’s moral nature distinguishes him from the animals, and so it seems that it is a part of the image of God. But what is the basis of this moral nature, and how does it operate? Even animals “obey” God’s commands, but instead of doing so on the basis of understanding and volition, they are compelled by instinct. On the other hand, man receives and understands a divine command, and then decides to obey it or defy it. He can comprehend the concepts of good and evil, and he can discuss them by the use of language. This means that man is moral precisely because he is rational. Morality is a function of intelligence or rationality. Therefore, although to have a moral nature is part of what it means to be a human person, it is not necessary to include it as part of the basic definition for the image of God.”
Vincent Cheung. Systematic Theology. 2010. Pg 120.