Healthy fear

“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. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;” (2Cor.5:10-11)

The word “terror” here means, “to be put in fear”. Some translations use “fear” in this verse. In this text, Paul was referring to the last judgment. I believe a good healthy fear of God and His judgment is needful as we try (by His Spirit) to persuade men. I like the “Lamsa” translation that says, “Knowing therefore the fear of our Lord, we try in a persuasive way to win men;”

Over the years, I know that a good healthy fear of God has helped me not only in trying to persuade men to Christ, but also in my own personal walk with Him. I believe it’s good to fear the judgment, to fear sin and it’s consequences.

I know most people have a problem when you mention “fear” or talk about “the fear of God, but I believe the problem lies in our understanding of fear. Most people consider fear to be mostly bad and do not allow themselves to see the benefits of a healthy fear.

Isn’t it funny, how when we are looking up the definition of a word, we focus on the meaning that comes closest to our understanding of that word. What we want to hear. I have been guilty of that many times. I skip over any meaning that I don’t agree with or don’t want to hear.

Most words have multiple meanings. I believe we need to get the general meaning after considering the text in which it is included in. Also try to condense or put together the sometimes multiple meanings. For example, the word “fear”. It’s Hebrew meaning spans from, “to fear”, “to revere”, “to frighten”, “to make afraid, dread, reverence, terrible, stand in awe, make to shake, to be startled, terror, awe, horror”. The Greek meaning is basically the same.

I find it difficult to rightly explain a healthy fear. Within my heart I know how good it is, and how it has helped me over the years. One example of a “healthy fear” would be as follows,
Let’s say, I am sitting in a coffee shop and along comes this very beautiful women and sits down next to me and she begins to talk and get very intimate in conversation with me. The Spirit of God quickly checks me through my conscience and thus tells me that this is not a good thing.

At this moment, it would be a good thing for me to fear what would happen if I were to continue to listen to this women. What would happen if I rejected the Holy Spirit and my conscience and begin to converse with this women? The end result would be sin in either thought or deed. I should fear what would happen if I continued on in this conversation, right?
This to me, would be a good example of the proper fear of God and fearing sin and it’s consequences.
It would be healthy and profitable for me.

Every time fear is mentioned, some would immediately quote the verse, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear,” (1Jn.4:18). We must be reminded of the text in which this verse appears. John talking about abiding in God. The verse preceding verse 18, speaks of having confidence, boldness on the final day of judgment. We who are in Christ, through God’s love need not fear the final judgment. Our abiding in God and His love, conquers all fear of judgment.

So in the end, a healthy fear of God is needed and a deep respect or reverence for Him is needed in this life. Also, a dose of fear when we are tempted to sin is also very much needed. Both these understandings of fear are truly good for us all.

Back to our original text that said, “knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;”. Understanding (the best we can) the terror or the fear of the Lord, helps us in dealing with the lost also. Realizing that the final judgment of God is going to be either, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”, or “Depart from me ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angles:” (Matt.25:34,41)

Which of these verses do you want your family members to hear on that day? How about your co-workers? Your neighbors?
Let us, with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, persuade men this day!
Amen

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7 Responses to “Healthy fear”

  1. timglass Says:

    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom! Amen. Thanks for the visit,today. I enjoyed reading your blog. Great thoughts.
    His blessings this day.

  2. mcalmond Says:

    Good post Richard and it is so very true that a healthy fear of God is vital to our everyday lives, let alone our ministry life. We need to see a lot more of this revelation manifesting within the Body of Christ Jesus, both within our culture, our peoples lives and within our churches.

    Blessings in Christ Jesus!

  3. rjperalta Says:

    timglass,
    Thanks for the comments. I enjoyed your post also.
    May we fear the Lord and walk in wisdom.
    Be encouraged in Jesus!

    Thanks Phil,
    For the words of encouragement and your prayers. And yes, may the Body come into an understanding of operating in the fear of God.
    Praise Him!
    Richard

  4. Peter Says:

    I was thinking of that line too but timglass beat me to it 😉 Note that it is the beginning, kind of like the foundation to a house….

  5. Mark Wilson Says:

    Mmmm… this is a challenging post.

    I don’t like to think about fear, but it’s true that it’s the beginning of all wisdom. Unless we understand that He has the power to take or give life, some people won’t ever take Him seriously. For them, fear is the beginning of their journey to the wisdom that God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit has for them.

    For others, we see God, we feel attracted and we go on with Him in our lives. For these people alternate meanings of the word fear are more useful… like respect. And yet we can become too familiar with Him and then a bit of unfashionable fear can get us back on track.

    Good post!

    Bless you!
    Mark.

  6. rjperalta Says:

    Thanks Mark,

    I appreciate your good response.

    Good Day,

    Richard

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