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People naturally fears those people, influences, objects and events that they see as threatening, as being able to control, overpower or destroy them (Numbers 14:9; Psalms 2:11; Luke 21:26; Hebrews 2:15; Hebrews 10:27). In some cases this may be a cowardly fear (Proverbs 29:25; Galatians 2:12), but in others a very healthy fear, amounting to respect or reverence (Genesis 20:11; Leviticus 26:2; Romans 3:18; 1 Peter 2:18). In this latter sense people are to fear those who have authority over them (Leviticus 19:3; Proverbs 24:21; Romans 13:3; Romans 13:7; Ephesians 6:5), and particularly to fear God (Psalms 34:11; Isaiah 8:13-15; Acts 9:31; 1 Peter 2:17).

Sinners have good reason to fear God; because God’s punishment will one day fall upon them (Micah 7:16-17; Matthew 10:28). Believers also fear God, but theirs is a different sort of fear. Their fear of God is mixed with love for him (Deuteronomy 6:2; Deuteronomy 6:5; 1 Peter 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15). If believers obey God solely because they fear his punishment, such obedience displays an immature love. They should obey God because they love him (Deuteronomy 10:12; Romans 8:15; 1 John 4:17-18; 1 John 5:3).

Nevertheless, believers’ love for God is not a substitute for reverence, nor does it excuse them from judgment. God still requires obedience and holiness. He is the almighty judge as well as the loving Father. Therefore, believers must have a healthy fear of him as well as a warm love for him (2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Peter 1:16-17).

Such an attitude guarantees God’s help in living a life that pleases him and benefits the believer personally (Psalms 147:11; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 8:13; Proverbs 9:10; Proverbs 10:27; Proverbs 14:26; Philippians 2:12-13). It also gives confidence not to fear the dangers and uncertainties of life (Psalms 46:2; Psalms 112:1; Psalms 112:7; Luke 12:4-5; 1 Peter 3:14-15).

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Fear'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 28th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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