Hello, beloved brethren, and welcome back to yet another Twisted Tuesday. The verse I’d like to address today is 1 John 4:18. I grew up being told that we don’t have to be afraid of God, He’s our buddy, He loves us, nothing to fear there. This verse in 1 John is often quoted as the Biblical backup for this position. This is what I believed for over a decade, while still in my sin. However, when I became a believer July 4th, 2015, and began to read His Word, I saw something completely different commanded of us. Rather than being told, Biblically, that we should see God as a cool Dad, I saw it repeated that fearing God was wise, even the beginning of wisdom. Christ Himself said that we ought not to fear the one who can kill the body, but the one that can kill the body and cast the soul into Hell. So there are two options here, one is that the Bible contradicts itself, the second is that we’re twisting it. Remember, friends, when we see supposed contradictions in Gods Word the fault lies in us, as is often seen by sifting through the entirety of the full counsel of Gods Word.
Another thing I’ve been told is that our fear of God is actually just respect. So we fear God like we fear our Earthly fathers. I didn’t have a dad growing up, so I can’t really be 100% sure about this statement. However, while it’s clear we ought to love, adore, worship, and respect God, it seems the fear of the Lord is another thing altogether. God is Christ’s Father, and it is true that as born again believers we’re adopted into the family, the question is, is this the fear we ought to feel? Is that a Biblical understanding? My Earthly father might have been able to kill my body, but only God can cast the soul into Hell. This means the fear Scripture refers to is a fear He alone can and should hold. That being said, I see this as a disagreement rather than a twist in scripture. I mention it as an aside, to seek correction from wiser more mature brothers and sisters. It’s very possible that I’m misunderstanding the relationship between a child and a father.
That point aside, let’s focus on the push to ignore Scripture and claim fear of God is out of place in our day. The Bible clearly tells us otherwise, namely that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. What then? Have I lost my assurance in place of fear? No, I’ve been saved through faith alone, in Christ alone, by the grace of and for the glory of God alone. What it does mean is that when I see the lost shaking their fist at God, the Father, I tremble. When I consider all my friends and family aimlessly wondering from sin to sin, seeking the pleasures it brings for a season, I tremble. When I consider what would have been the just punishment for my own sins had I died July 3rd, 2015, I tremble. The fear of the Lord justly, rightly, judging the lost, moves me to prayer, and it moves me to share the Gospel. The Lord gets no pleasure from the death of the wicked, however He is a just God, and like any judge He must hold law breakers accountable.
The real issue is telling a room full of idolatrous tares amongst the wheat that they need not fear God. Clearly seen in context, our fear of God is not in regards to assurance of salvation, but in His righteousness. Like Luther, who grew to hate God’s righteousness before being saved, we should be in a state of fear that God is good, and we are wicked. If we are unsaved that knowledge should, as in the case of men like Luther, Bunyan, and Brainard, send us weak knee’d before God in humble repentance. If we are born again, that fear ought to send us out to the highways and byways, to call men to repent and flee the wrath to come. I hope this post is helpful, and appreciate your opinions on the Earthly father and Heavenly Father comparisons. As always, my dear beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.