Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Psalm 34:11
Are you saved? If you know what that means, and can answer yes, then you know the fear of the Lord. For you, the fear of the Lord is a reverent loving fear. One is which there is no terror or angst, but a tremendous respect, devotion, worth, and desire to please. If you’re saved, you fear the Lord because you know who He is and what He has done for you. You know what you deserved before you were saved and you know what you truly deserve now. You fear the Lord because you know that there are no expectations in this world and all goodness comes from Him alone by grace. You fear the Lord because there is no one and nothing else to fear in all of existence. To live in the fear of the Lord causes us to live rightly, joyfully, peacefully, safely, and eternally. Fear the Lord!
If you are not saved and that concept has no meaning for you, then the fear of the Lord is something that you also know all too well. You know the fear of the Lord with every worry, with every stress, with every care, with every loss. You know the fear of the Lord with every hardship and illness, with every reminder of death and mortality. Every time you make a mistake or do something wrong you are reminded of the fear of the Lord. That sickening oppressive feeling in your gut that you try to escape with entertainment, chemicals, people, work, celebration yet always seems to return, is a reminder of the fear of the Lord. You may deny the Lord God and pretend He does not exist but the pressures of life that cause you to be afraid are only hints at the fear that is to come. If you are not saved, the fear of the Lord is not a reverence, but a terror, one that you do well to heed and work out. That fear has only one antidote and that antidote is Good News! God graciously gave you an escape from terror in sending His Son to earth to die for your sins and make you His child. Christ died to save sinners. In sin you are right to be terrified. In salvation you are right to lovingly fear. Learn the fear of the Lord and know Christ.
I am convinced that when the fear of God is taught in society the positives outweigh the negatives. Theology can be abused and misapplied to be sure. However, everyone needs to know the fear of the Lord. I would never have become a Christian if I did not know a fear of judgment. Churches need to teach the fear of the Lord to their member so that His honor and glory is first in their lives. Churches need to teach the terror fear of the Lord to the world so that they have no choice but to repent as a result of that fear. A society that is accountable to a higher power is more prone to do right. Even when a non believer acts out of sheer fear of judgment, if he acts rightly it is better than the alternative. Churches that want to see revival and want to please Christ must teach the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. The fear of the Lord leads to repentance and right living. The fear of the Lord leads to the necessity of Christ and His free gift of eternal life!