More on Holiness & the Fear of God, Pt. 22
Yesterday I explained how holiness and the fear of the Lord act as sentinels to our intimacy with God. But what exactly is the fear of God? What does it mean for those who are whole-heartedly seeking His face? Using Scripture as the plumbline, let’s examine the Scriptural definition of the fear of the Lord and the benefits of its presence in our lives.
· Psalms 19:9, "The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever." It is unmixed and untainted.
· Prov. 8:13, "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil." It is to consider odious anything that brings hurt, is perverse, injurious, wrong, unethical, and distressing. The list goes on.
· Prov. 9: 10, Prov. 15:33, "The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom."
· Prov. 1:7, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge."
· Prov. 14:27, "The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death." It is the source of purification and joy that causes life to flow out of and revive us. It causes us to depart and turn aside from the bait and snare of the enemy to bring death into our lives.
· Is. 11:2, "The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord." It is evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives.
· Ps. 34:11, "Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord." It is taught and best taught from childhood.
· Prov. 1:29, "Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord." It is a conscious choice.
· Prov. 2:1-5, You have to seek for it.
What are its benefits?
· Prov. 19:23, "The fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil."
· Prov. 22:4, "By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life."
· Is. 33:6, "Wisdom and knowledge [which come with the fear of the Lord], will be the stability of your times, and the strength of salvation; the fear of the Lord is His treasure."
· Prov. 14:26, "In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge."
· Prov. 10:27, "The fear of the Lord prolongs days."
· Acts 9:31, "Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied."
So, I pose my question again. Why would you want to serve a God whom you do not fear, given the benefits of fearing the Lord? I would submit that holiness and the fear of the Lord go hand-in-hand. You cannot find the one without the other. Not only have we not walked in it, but we also have not taught or exemplified it, and the reason why is because we have bought into the lie that Jesus was a friend of sinners.
When you look at the two Scriptures where that phrase is mentioned, Jesus is quoting the Pharisees' perspective of Him, not saying it of Himself (Matt. 11:19; Luke 7:34). At the same time, Jesus did dine with tax collectors and sinners. When people encountered Christ, repentance from sin brought about salvation (Luke 19:1-10). When Christ intervened for the woman caught in adultery, He told her to go and sin no more (John 8:1-11). When He healed the man at the pool of Bethesda, He told him to go and sin no more (John 5:1-11). It is apparent that while Christ is always willing to intercede in the sinner's life, He came to give life and that more abundantly (John 10:10). That can only happen outside of sin.
In John 15:14-15, Jesus states, "You are my friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you." So Jesus' friends were not those who walked in sin, but rather repentance and then followed it through with action. They are those to whom He can reveal the heart of the Father. Those who, I would propose, walk-in holiness and the fear of the Lord. This is not judgmental. This is love. Life is found in fear of the Lord. Life comes when we hate evil.
Do you want stability in your life? Fear God. Do you want to prosper? Fear God. Do you want to walk into abundant life? Fear God. Do you want God's church to multiply? Fear God, and allow the comfort of the Holy Spirit to guard your heart.
Father, I have seen You as my Savior, but I have to admit that I have sometimes used Your grace as a license to allow sin to remain in my life. I haven't cultivated the fear of the Lord in my life. I haven't chosen to fear You over remaining in the comfort of that which holds me captive. Today, I decide to hate evil in my life. I want life more abundantly. I desire that the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord that characterized the life of Christ be manifest in me. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for being my teacher. In Jesus' name, amen.