Exodus 20:20 – Moses said to the people ‘Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.’
This is quite the conundrum. Moses tells the people to not be afraid and then tells them that they should possess fear of God. Paul tells Timothy that God has not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. Yet Solomon said that people rejected knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord.
You have two hands and can hold very different things in each of your hands. Both items might be very necessary even though they don’t seem to compliment each other. So it is with differing ideas in the scriptures.
On the one hand you are told that fear of God keeps you from sinning. Why? Fear of discipline should change the behavior. Sometimes it does and other times not. Listen to the two thieves on the cross. But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? Luke 23:40. Both were being punished to death for their crimes, yet the punishment produced fear of God leading to eternal life, while the other remained hardened with no fear of God even at death.
Malachi shares that sin (violating God’s rules for holy living) will be brought into account, judgment. Look at Malachi’s indictment. “Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:5. Preaching the law reminds us that we all have to give an account to God one day for our actions here on earth. Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. So, many spend time trying to remove God from their lives. If a person tries to remove God, then they hope they can also remove fear of His accountability.
Fear of God should remain even for children of God. Grace and love teaching does not give license to keep on sinning. Paul addressed an incomplete teaching of grace. Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Romans 6:1-2 NLT. Why? A proper fear of God knows that sin, every sin will be judged. For the child of God, those sins are meted out in judgement upon Jesus. Why would a child of God desire for Jesus to endure more punishment for a chance to violate God’s rules.
Okay, this is way heavy of a topic, let’s find a landing place.
- A healthy fear of God (respect for His holiness and judgment) can deter me from choosing sin. When I lack this type of fear of God…I will do what is right in my own eyes.
2. As a child of God, love for him becomes the highest motivation for doing what is right. This motivation allows me to choose the higher road instead of trying to stay out of the pitfalls. Fear of punishment focuses on the pitfalls. While love focuses on pleasing God and enjoying holy living. Love is a powerful force to change our choices. Fear is limiting.
Keep a healthy fear of God in one hand and a passionate love for God in the other. Then let the voice of the Holy Spirit guide you into all things good.
Blessings Love y’all