The Fear of God

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by CSUjr, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. CSUjr

    CSUjr
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    From age 7, I was taught to Love God.

    I learned this by being read and instructed to read references in the Bible that tell us to Love God.

    However, as a young boy, I became confused by many other references in the Bible that tell us to Fear God.

    Because of this, I was taught that the Scripture that tells us to Fear God means that I should Fear the consequences of offending God by committing Sin and that the best way to avoid that is to Love God with all of my Heart and all of my Soul.

    I consider myself very fortunate to have teachers that encouraged me to focus on Loving God rather than Fearing God, because I witnessed others suffer from not understanding this as I was taught to do.

    My first experience in witnessing someone suffer from focusing on Fearing God rather than Loving God occurred upon a visit from my Grandfather.

    Each year, as a choir boy, I received a gift from the Church.

    One year it was a Bible cover, another year it was a Bible bookmark and this particular year that my Grandfather visited, I received a florescent Cross.

    This was the first time that I had ever seen anything florescent and I was fascinated by how it glowed in the dark.

    My Grandfather, my Mother’s Father, migrated from Italy in the late 1800’s.

    He was brought up to be a strict Christian.

    He spoke very little English, adhered firmly to the ways of his upbringing and strongly avoided American ways.

    At the time of his visit, I was into building wooden model airplanes.

    It took me days, sometimes over a week, to cut out all of the little pieces of balsa wood, glue them all together and sheath them with tissue paper.

    I was very proud of my airplanes.

    I hung them from my ceiling with strands of thread.

    My Grandfather was encouraged by my Mother to spend the weekend with us and instructed me to graciously offer him to use my room.

    The light in my room was turned on by a chain that hung from the ceiling.

    The first night that he stayed, he had trouble finding the chain in the dark and tore some of my airplanes down from the ceiling.

    The following day, in an effort to protect the surviving airplanes, I attached my florescent Cross to the chain so that he would be able to find the light easier.

    Although this was very well intended to help, it proved to be a huge mistake on my part.

    That night, while preparing for bed, we were all shocked by a horrific scream coming from my bedroom.

    We rushed upstairs and found my Grandfather on his knees speaking frantically in Italian.

    My Mother became very upset and ended up driving him home.

    With none of us able to understand Italian, we had no idea of what was wrong until she returned.

    When she did, I was reprimanded severely and held to blame for so horribly scaring my Grandfather.

    When my Father intervened and asked her to explain, she said that when my Grandfather opened my bedroom door and saw the glowing Cross, he believed that God was visiting him because of all of his Sins.

    Although I believed that his Fear came from his misunderstanding between Fearing God and Loving God, I went to Church the next day and confessed my Sin.

    That was the day that I learned one of the strongest lessons of one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

    Through my confession, I was taught that the Sin that I committed that led to this incident was the Sin of Pride.

    Although I was taught that it was the Pride that I had for my airplanes that caused me to hang that Cross from the light chain, I was also directed to pray for my Grandfather, that he would come to Love God more that he Feared him.

    If he were alive today, I would like very much to share the following with him;
    Trust
     
  2. Andy T.

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    If one properly understands the Gospel and all that it entails, we will keep our Fear of God and Love of God in proper balance and perspective. One does not have to win over the other. Rather, the two complement each other in our relationship with God.

    And fear, properly understood for the born again individual, is a reverance and awe for God, not fear of being "visited for our sins". Although, there are times where God can use our fear of Him in His discipline to bring us back on the right track. For the person who is not born again, then yes, fear is an awful fear - a fear of judgment. But the fear of judgment no longer applies to the Christian - Romans 8:1.
     
  3. J. Jump

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    This is giving Christians a false sense of security! Romans 8:1 is often misused to say that Christians have nothing to fear after salvation, which is directly opposed to what the Bible teaches. The fear is not a word for reverence or respect, but it is the word that we use as phobia, it is speaking of being afraid.

    We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Revernce does not cause one to tremble. The Bible also says that it is a fearful thing to end up in the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31).

    The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.

    The Bible also tells us that we ALL will stand at the judgment seat of Christ and so judgment does await Christians. Now for those that are faithful it's not as much a judgment as it is an account giving and receiving payment for services rendered. But for the unfaithful Christian it will be a judgment.

    The Bible says God will not be mocked for what a man shows he will reap. If you sow to the flesh you will reap corruption and if you sow to the Spirit you will reap life. That is a warning, exhortation, encouragment, whatever you want to call it, to saved people.
     
  4. Andy T.

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    If I am judged for my works, then I am toast, as we all are. My own righteousness is as filthy rags.
     
  5. J. Jump

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    Well it depends. If it is works of the flesh then you are correct. However if it is works of the Spirit born out of faithfulness based on the grace of God then they will stand as gold, silver and precious stones. It is God that does the work through our dying to self and allowing Him to use our vessel via the Holy Spirit, and when that happens the Spirit does the work, but God gives us credit as if we had done it ourselves. So they are considered our works.

    Paul said "I" have finished the race and "I" have fought the good fight. Paul didn't consider it himself that had done it, but rather the Spirit that did it through Him and was crediting to his account as if he had done those things himself.

    Hope that clarifies, but there is no doubt that we will give an account of what we have done in this body whether good or bad. That is the only thing that can be judged, because whether or not you are saved or not is judged during your present life and is final upon death.

    No one will stand in judgment as to whether they are saved or unsaved as that has already been determined before one ever arrives at a judgment seat where Christ will be the Judge.
     
  6. Oasis

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    No Fear In Love

    Posted by Andy T.
    Good morning Andy. You are right .:thumbsup:

    Fear in the sense of being terrified does not apply to the believer. We will not be judged for our salvation. For a believer that has been secured.
    "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus"(Romans 8:1 NIV). The Law condemns, but believers have a new relationship to the Law through Christ Jesus, so we cannot be condemned.
    It doesn't say you are not going to fail or sin. Christians do fail and sin. Abraham lied about his wife; David committed adultery and had a man murdered; Peter tried to kill a man with his sword. These men did suffer the consequences of their sin, but not condemnation for their sin.
    Adrian Rodgers said,
    "You can choose your actions, but
    you can't choose your consequences."

    Despite our sins, as a believer we have an intercessor. Look at Peter. He tried to kill a man; he even denied the Lord three times, no less! But what did Jesus tell him?
    "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you , Simon, that your faith may not fail."(Luke 22:31-32 NIV).

    Hebrews 10:32 is talking about those that have rejected the love of God in Christ. They should most certainly be fearful in the terrified sense. But believers fear? No! In a nutshell, it comes down to God's love for us and our loving him back.
    "We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement because in this world we are like him. there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."(1 John 4:13-18 NIV).

    Have a great day!:godisgood:
     
  7. pinoybaptist

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    Psalm 56:4, which the OP provided as link, and centers on the word "Trust", says, using the KJV:

    In the beginning of the psalm, it is written:

    While this is a psalm for deliverance from actual human enemies, one can also consider it in the light of its spiritual meaning.

    v.1 - Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppreseth me.

    Compare this with Paul's words, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? ", as he spoke about the struggle going on between the old man, and the new man, within each child of God.

    Every day of our lives in this fallen world, while in this fallen flesh, and despite the new nature that God has given us, we struggle daily with "man", that is, ourselves, and the world around us, its fallenness, its temptations, its pervading sins. The world, "man", oppresses us daily, each ticking minute.

    It brings up emotions in us that can cause us to sin: anger, pride, lust, envy, all those things listed in the Bible. And because we are God's children, and wary of sinning against the God who loved us before we loved Him, Satan uses these things to oppress us and bring us down and cause insecurities in us.

    "Mine enemies daily would swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O Thou Most High".

    Mine enemies. How many enemies do we have ? We have thought as an enemy, motive as an enemy, the flesh itself. We have the lust of the eye, the lust of the world, everything around us. Sometimes our enemies are of our own house, sometimes in our own churches. But our greatest enemy is self.

    Daily they would swallow us up. IF they could. IF because look at the next verse:

    "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee."

    When fear of retribution, fear of punishment, fear of being conquered and overcome by our enemies (sin and Satan) get really really heavy, and the child of God is afraid, he says, "I will trust in thee".

    Trust God what ?

    Trust in His mercy, trust in His goodness, trust in His faithfulness, trust in His strength, trust in His judgment, trust in Him and Him only, because "I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing".

    We know that when everything seems to be falling apart around us and in us, we dwell in the arms of the God who spoke everything into existence, before whom the angels of heaven worship, and the angels under the earth tremble.

    " Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?".

    And finally we come to verse 4, and as we ponder the great mercy wherewith God had been merciful to us, as we ponder and come to terms with the fact that He loved us before we loved Him, and that it is God who justifieth, and Christ who died, and rose again, and in Him we are safe, we come to know what "TRUST IN GOD" is all about.

    Are we to justify sin ? Never.


    But we remember: If our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts, and knoweth all things.
     
    #7 pinoybaptist, Sep 24, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 24, 2006
  8. J. Jump

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    Again how can one say that when the Bible speaks directly opposite to that statement in a number of different places?

    It depends on what you are talking about when you say salvation. If you are talking about eternal salvation that is correct. There is nothing to fear because we are secure in the finished works of Christ. But if you are talking about the salvation of the soul or the sanctification process then that does not apply, because that is not secure. That's why it is said that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

    Unfortunately many translations leave off the rest of that verse: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (KJV)

    If a Christian is walking after the flesh the previous statement does not apply to them. It only applies to those that are walking after the Spirit.
     
  9. Oasis

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    Posted by J. Jump
    Please show me the Scripture and I will be happy to discuss it with you.
    In the mean time, it's important to know that the word fear is defined in different ways throughout Scripture. You will see the word "fear" in the NT most often defined from the Greek root, phobeo, "to reverence or respect." You will also see some synonyms such as, "tarasso", which means, "disturb or terrify." There are other meanings, but I don't believe they have any bearing on your statement.



    J. Jump, I'm not sure where you are going with this. Again, Scripture please. I am speaking about the Salvation event, when I believed and was saved. My soul was saved and my sanctification will bear that out. Perfect? No! Condemned? No! Confidence in the promises of Jesus Christ? Absolutely!

    I believe the Grace that was good enough to save me is good enough to keep me, just as Christ prayed for Peter so that his faith would not fail. Luke 22:31-32.




    Although we will sin as Christians our goal is always to walk after the spirit. Paul speaks of his struggle with this in Romans 7:7-25. Paul was not condemned for this. He explains it in Romans chapter 8.

    Take care.
     
  10. pinoybaptist

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    What J. Jump is referring to is similar to what we in the Primitive Baptist churches call the timely (or here in time) aspect of salvation. This aspect of salvation depends on our conduct here in time. We do not preach this aspect of salvation as one that MUST be done IN ORDER to get rewards.

    We believe that if a man who has received gospel instruction, obeys the gospel, turns from his religion and to the living God, lives a separated, submissive life, he shall be saved from the errors of his ways here in time
    with the natural result being the blessings and protection of his Lord and Savior. Consider the following Old Testament verses:

    Or this New Testament scripture:
    Timely salvation is something in which we have a choice. To either obey or disobey. Its benefits might bemissed by the child of God, due to lack of instruction, or poor gospel preaching, erroneous doctrine, false doctrine, or false creed.

    Eternal salvation, on the other hand, is completely out of our hands. It is something we have no decision on, something we have no part of, it is something we cannot merit. It does not depend on our obedience, or on our theology, or on our creed, or doctrine, race, tongue, or societal circumstances. Eternal salvation is GIVEN, not earned. It is the result of God's mercy upon the sinner.

    Somebody in another thread said something about the right of sinners to salvation.

    Eternal salvation is NOT A RIGHT. It is the sovereign prerogative of a Holy and Offended God to grant to whom He pleases, in Christ, by whom grace and truth came, and who is the express image of God. Grace, truth and mercy in the flesh, come for His people.

    This is the salvation that the Bible refers to when it says: Salvation is OF the Lord. Its author and finisher is Christ, and Him only.

    I hope this somewhat satisfies you.
     
    #10 pinoybaptist, Sep 24, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 24, 2006
  11. J. Jump

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    Well I would disagree with your definition. This is where we get our word phobia, which is not even remotely close to reverence or respect.

    Again here are just a couple of Scripture: work out your salvation with fear and trembling. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.

    Then yes I would agree there is no judgment or condemnation that awaits in that respect.

    Your soul was not what was saved at the point of salvation it was your spirit. The soul and the spirit are not the same thing. People are spiritually dead, not soulically dead. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, but that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

    It is our spirits that are made alive. Our souls were already alive. But in order for our souls to be saved we must die to self and allow the Spirit to live out the manifested life of Christ through our vessel.

    If we sow to the Spirit we will reap life. If we sow to the flesh we will reap corruption.

    If you lose your life (soul - same Greek word) now you will find it in the age to come, but if you save your life now you will lose it in the age to come.

    Broad is the way that leads to destruction and many there be that find it and narrow is the way that leads to life and few there be that finds it.

    Those are both written to believers about themselves not in regard to unsaved folks.

    The only message the Bible speaks to the unsaved is that Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood on their behalf and if they will believe they will be saved.

    Everything else is written to believers about how to live after the point of salvation.
     
  12. Lacy Evans

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    2 Corinthians 5:10-11
    10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
    11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
     
  13. Oasis

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    Posted by J. Jump
    Hi J. Jump

    My definition came from the Greek Lexicon. The concept of "fear" in the NT is most often associated with the root, "phob"-(mentioned 146 times. The most of any variations )as in the verb, "phobeo"-to fear, reverence, or respect.

    verb, "phobeo"-to fear, reverence, or respect.
    noun, "phobos"-fear, terror, reverence, respect.
    adjective, "phoberos"-fearful.

    "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."(Philippians 2:12-13 NIV)
    I see no terror in this verse. Paul is speaking to believers who have the promise of Jesus Christ as assurance. I tremble; I am obediently fearful(respectful) when I think of the awesome power of God, but as a believer, I feel no terror. Terror is reserved for the eternal consequences of the unbeliever.

    "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise."(Psalm 111:10 NIV)

    Again, obedient fear is evident. Terror and wisdom do not go together, but the wise fears obediently.

    I'll have to address the last part of your post tomorrow. I'm out of time.

    Have a great evening J. Jump.:godisgood:
     
  14. Hope of Glory

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    Romans 8:1: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus

    I have highlighted a word that many people overlook in this verse. (Also, the rest of the verse is missing in the older manuscripts and seems to have been a marginal note that was included in the text at some later point; actually, it seems to have been two marginal notes, the first saying "who walk not according to the flesh", and then a later person added, "but after the spirit".)

    When you were saved [event], your spirit was saved. The salvation of the soul is an ongoing process.
     
  15. Oasis

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    Posted by J. Jump
    Good morning J. Jump and Hope of Glory.:wavey:

    The following is from John Macarthur's Bible Bulletin Board and does a better job of explaining the soul and spirit than I could.

    I agree with this conclusion because Scripture bears this out. The vast majority of Scripture does not distinguish between the two. The NT does not make a fundamental distinction between soul and spirit in the person but sees the terms as interchangeable.

    HAGD!:godisgood:
     
  16. J. Jump

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    Actually Scripture lays out matters in quite the opposite fashion, but if you want to believe man is just two-parts then that is between you and God, but it is contrary to Scripture, despite what John MacArthur says :)

    It seems John MacArthur is leading people astray in a couple of different areas :(
     
  17. Hope of Glory

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    I am somewhat familiar with MacArthur's work, and he's very charismatic and he gives a lesson that people want to hear.

    But, is that the objective of a preacher?

    I will take one statement that he makes and show that it contradicts Scripture:

    Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    The word of God can divide the soul and spirit, which are two completely different things, just as the joints and marrow can be divided and are two completely differnt things.

    The Bible tells us that even animals have souls, but there is nowhere in Scripture that we're told they have spirits. The spirit is what separates man from the animal kindgom.

    Just as God is trichotomous, so is man. After all, we were created in his image.
     
  18. Oasis

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    Hi J. Jump and Hope of Glory:wavey:

    I've read comments on this subject from a handful of credentialed men, as I'm sure you both probably have too. They have expressed that this is not an easy subject to deal with or agree on. They're right.

    I don't see the need to perpetuate discussion of an issue when both sides are convicted of their position. I think this is one of those issues that we just agree to disagree on and move on to other things.

    HAGD:godisgood:
     
  19. Oasis

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    Good morning pinoybaptist,


    Thanks for your comments. I understand that we choose(are responsible for) the type and depth of our Christian walk. As true Christians, our desire to follow the tenants of Scripture will be born out of love for Jesus Christ; for the truth. It will not be just because we feel it is required of us. It is a balance between head knowledge and heart change. Simply put-the Sanctification process.

    Initial Salvation is by faith, not works. But works(or "working out our Salvation")is always a byproduct of true faith. Because of our faith we will want to work for Christ, and because of that we are given assurance that our faith will not fail.

    "Simon, Simon, satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."(Luke 22:31-32 NIV)

    Did Peter's faith falter? Yes, more than once. But did it fail? Was it destroyed? Absolutely not! He, like us, had the prayers and assurance from Jesus Christ himself. As true Christians, Christ will let our faith be tested("sifted by satan"), but we have His assurance that He will not let our faith fail.

    "Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to inetercede for them."(Hebrews 7:25 NIV)

    Fanny Crosby wrote-
    Bessed Assurance, Jesus is mine.
    Oh what a foretaste of Glory divine....

    What a wonderful hymn of blessing and promise for believers!:)
     

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