The Fear of God

Richard Thetford

In 1 Peter 2:17 we read, "Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king." Peter says we are to fear God. Now what does that mean? First, it means to revere God, to stand in awe of Him and to respect Him. Secondly, it involves an anxious dread of displeasing Him.

Both aspects of fearing God play significant roles in our being devoted to the Lord. David exclaimed, "Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him." (Psalms 33:8). It takes this kind of reverence to serve God acceptably. We must humble ourselves under God's mighty hand. In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). His ability to speak all things into existence as recorded in Genesis 1:14-15 boggles the mind.

The awe and respect we have for God leads us to dread displeasing Him for we know that one day we'll stand in judgment before the One whom He has appointed. 2 Corinthians 5:10 says, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."

Paul said, as he was convicting all men of sin, "There is no fear of God before their eyes." (Romans 3:18). This is certainly true of many in our time.

How about you? Do you fear God? Do you have a wholesome dread of displeasing Him? In Hebrews 12:28-29 it says, "...Let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire."