In our emotion-based Christian culture, we often picture our God as a kindly old man who emotionally loves us no matter who we are and what we’ve done. We’re told to imagine ourselves crawling into His lap and cuddling as we talk to Him. This is a dangerous and misleading picture!
Our God wants to be reconciled with the mankind He created and who walked away from Him 6,000 years ago. But make no mistake: we are to fear our God as we answer the call to a two-way relationship born of obedience out of faith, “I will be yours if you will be mine!”
Let’s look at that ‘fear’ after glancing at some of the characteristics or nature of your God who is a jealous, just, merciful provider and protector of those who are His.
God is jealous: He wants to be our only God
A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies. The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, And clouds are the dust beneath His feet.—Nahum 1:2-3.
God is just: He will keep His promises despite any ‘feelings
The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He. —Deuteronomy 32:4.
God is merciful: The promises He keeps as a just God bring life
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. —Luke 6:36.
The LORD is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. —Psalm 145:8.
God is protector and provider and forgiver of the righteous
“But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.’” —Jeremiah 7:23.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. —1John 1:9.
God is judge of all
Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead. —Acts 17:29-31.
Another destructive misconception in today’s Christian culture is that God is ‘not of fear’. However, that claim comes from a lack of understanding and by taking a biblical text out of context. It’s true that we have no need to fear a man when we have the Spirit; however, we are to fear God and with good reason.
- Fear of God and Christ (i.e. Luke 7:16, Acts 13:16, Romans 13:7, 2Corinthians 7:1, Ephesians 5:21, Philippians 2:12, 1Peter 1:17). This healthy fear is represented by the Greek word phobos (Strong’s G5401); it indicates alarm, fright, or terror.
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. —2Corinthians 7:1.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling —Philippians 2:12.
If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth —1Peter 1:17.
- This next ‘fear’, phobeō (Strong’s G5399), comes from the one we just covered, and it basically means to ‘be in awe of’ or revere. Examples of its use can be found in Luke 12:4-5, Romans 11:20-21, Acts 5:10-11, and 1Peter 2:17.
“I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!”—Luke 12:4-5.
Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. —1Peter 2:17.
Your just God is willing to protect, provide, and forgive when we respond to His call through faith and action. Believe. Repent. Love through charity and obedience. Fear in a healthy fear the nature of your God Jehovah and live!
Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2016 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!
And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!