What is godly fear?

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Godly fear explained in the Bible

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7).

Wisdom comes from understanding the holy and righteous nature of God. Without this knowledge we can’t truly reverence God. Those that fear God have a grateful attitude compounded with love and awe to Him. These individuals have realized their own unworthiness and have found salvation in God’s gracious plan.

People should not be afraid of God for He has proved His love at the Cross: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). God’s love for sinners led Him to give all that He had for their salvation (Romans 5:8).

Reverence for God

Godly fear is synonymous with profound reverence for the Creator such as the kind that Isaiah felt when in His presence. He said, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5). This vision of God in His holiness and glory gave the prophet an idea of the wickedness and insignificance of a human. Looking upon God and then upon himself, he understood his own nothingness in comparison with the infinite, the “Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 5:24).

Moses covered his face when he came into the presence of Jehovah (Exodus 3:6), and Job hated himself and repented in dust and ashes (Job 42:6). Thus, godly fear is built on an understanding of the character, glory, and greatness of God, and of one’s own unworthiness.

Adoration for God’s love

The fear of the Lord is a reverent adoration and obedient respect for a loving heavenly Father. “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him” (Psalms 103:11). God’s love is as immeasurable as the infinite distance between heaven and earth. “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether” (Psalms 19:9). Godly fear is something far different from the fear that lost sinners will one day experience. It is the source of true piety.

Godly fear prevents conceit

When the true connection between the holy God and the sinful man is understood, there is no place for vanity. Solomon wrote, “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? there is more hope for a fool than for him” (Proverbs 26:12). A man who professes to be wise refuses to learn (Matthew 9:12; Romans 1:22; 12:16; Revelation 3:17, 18), but the man who recognizes his ignorance is willing to be taught.

Godly fear is a deterrent to sin

Job’s godly fear kept him away from sin (Job 1:1, 8). “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate” (Proverbs 8:13 also Acts 5:5).  “Now therefore, let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes” (2 Chronicles 19:7).

Godly fear gives freedom from all other fears

A Christian who worries is not relying on God. With all care cast upon the Lord (1 Peter 5:7), with every deed within one’s power done, the believer can rest in the affirmation that all the angels of heaven are available to make sure that nothing happens to him that is not for his ultimate good (Romans 8:28). “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge” (Proverbs 14:26). Godly fear leads to life, and he who has it will not be affected by evil (Proverbs 19:23). Thus, he who stands in awe of God can be free from all fear.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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