Many Christians today are far too casual with God. We often treat Him like a celestial vending machine, popping in prayers when we need something and expecting Him to respond with just what we ordered. We must consider His holiness! He is the Almighty God, Creator of the universe who deserves our reverent fear.
But the proper fear of God is not an attitude that keeps us shaking in a corner or running away from Him as fast as our weak little legs can carry us. No, if we have trusted in Jesus as our Savior, then His blood has granted us access to the very throne room of God. We can draw near to our holy God “with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:19-23).
Yes, we have access, but God is still holy. Malachi 1:6 reminds us that God is both our Father and Master, which makes us both child and slave. This dual role creates a tension that helps us better understand what it means to fear God A proper balance will keep us from either treating God too casually or remaining too distant.
We will obey God out of fear. In his book, Holiness, Henry Blackaby says, “Where there is no fear of God, there is no fear of sin.” When we do fear God as we should, then we will begin to obey Him. Our obedience will then foster a deeper intimacy and closeness with God than we have ever experienced. Jesus understood this connection:
If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed the Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:10-11, NIV.
The Bible is full of passages showing the blessings associated with fearing God. Below are just a few from the Psalms. For space sake I will list the reference and the blessing. I encourage you to look them up and read them for yourself when you have time!
- Psalm 25:14 – God confides in those who fear and makes His covenant known to them.
- Psalm 31:19 – God bestows His goodness on them.
- Psalm 33:18-19 – God’s eyes are on those who fear Him to deliver them from death.
- Psalm 103:13 – God has compassion on those who fear Him.
- Psalm 115:11 – God is their help and shield.
- Psalm 145:19 – God fulfills their desires; He hears their cries and saves them.
These are just the beginning and they are all glorious! But my favorite passage about the blessings of fearing God is Malachi 3:16-17a:
Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name. “They will be mine,” says the LORD Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession.
We have only touched the surface of what it means to fear God. Here are a few resources that will help you better understand God’s holy nature and what it means to fear Him.
- The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul
- The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer
- The Joy of Fearing God by Jerry Bridges
- Holiness: God’s Plan for Fullness of Life by Henry Blackaby
- Before His Throne: Discovering the Wonder of Intimacy with a Holy God a 9-week Bible study through the book of Malachi by Kathy Howard
How has your understanding or view of fearing God changed this week?