Author Topic: To fear or not to fear?  (Read 905 times)

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To fear or not to fear?
« on: September 21, 2009, 03:02:22 AM »
There's one particular word in the Bible that has always struck me as sending what at face value appears to be mixed messages, and that word is "fear".  On one hand, those who fear God are (I believe) exclusively spoken of positively, as in these verses:

"I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right." (Acts 10:34-35)

"Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king." (1 Peter 2:17)

"Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come." (Revelation 14:7)

But, then, at the same time, we have verses that seem to indicate the exact opposite:

"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'" (Romans 8:15)

"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 4:18)

I can confirm that the Greek word in every verse comes from the same root (phobos, fear), so it's not the case that there are two different words being translated to the same English word.  I've heard the explanation of "fear and trembling" before, so intuitively I get the sense that this may be more of that... but I have no real evidence of that.

Evidently, something here is not what it seems, but I would be interested to hear input regarding which it is, as this has pretty well always been a point of confusion and uncertainty for me.

Thanks. :smile:

Offline reFORMer

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Re: To fear or not to fear?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2009, 03:26:57 AM »
Reality is what everything is to God.  All is subjective to Him.  Fear is a misconception or unbalanced reaction to anything but God.  Fear is a form of worship.  When our inner world is set in proper order our conceptions correspond accurately with reality. It is not that we know everything, but we are agreeing with the Divine nature in all our reactions to what is.  Then we will fear nothing but God. 
I went to church; but, the Church wasn't on the program!  JESUS WANTS HIS BODY BACK!!  MEET WITHOUT HUMAN HEADSHIP!!!


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Re: To fear or not to fear?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2009, 04:00:08 AM »
But 1 John explicitly says that there is no fear in love and that the one who fears is not made perfect in love.  Yet, elsewhere we are told both to love God and to fear God.  I suppose what I'm really asking is how these statements, put together, are logically compatible.  At face value, they seem not to be.

And, as a corollary, I'm also curious just what it is we are being told to feel towards God.  Intuitively, the concept of fearing God, as we understand the English word, seems like the wrong idea: it brings to mind ominous thoughts along the lines that God's gonna getcha if you don't act perfectly in line.  But I don't have any evidence available that this is not the case.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2009, 04:08:07 AM by Gab »


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Re: To fear or not to fear?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2009, 05:53:09 AM »
Fear God to me simply means respect God.
I have a hard time loving something I fear but is easy to love someone that is respected.
This may be just me. :HeartThrob:

Offline eaglesway

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Re: To fear or not to fear?
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2009, 08:34:09 PM »
I think its a good example of a number of places where the meaning of the word depends to some extent on the context. "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom"..... in context, means awe, respect and an awareness of power to be reverenced, not disregarded.

"There is no fear in love" is to me simple, if you love you have no reason to fear, "everyone that loves knows God"
However, if you do not love, then the consequences are to be "feared" ....because God has set them in place for the instruction of the wicked. This instruction ensures that no one prospers in consuming the lives of others, and some mens sins go before them into judgment and some follow after.

Justice is remedial, so in the end there will be no fear anywhere because love will be eveywhere :bgdance:
Fear is temporal, love is eternal....our God is a consuming fire.

The enemy uses fear as a weapon, inflating our phobos of lower order to provoke us into saving our own lives,by consuming others lives,i.e departing from the love of God.

Jesus encourages us to fear God, not the loss of lower things (death). He is not teaching a fear based relationship. He is creating an awareness of the hidden things of Gods eternal power and divine nature so that we stay in the way of life, which is love. Pause, reflect, consider before acting, this is meekness and waiting upon the Lord. Lean not towards your own understanding. Beware when you bite and devour one another, lest you consume yourselves.

If we fear (reverence, respect, awe, awareness) the power of God we need not fear anything else.Once all the adversaries are reconciled and all is in harmony and union there will be no fear.

We proclaim the consequences of wickedness so that all will consider the awesome God we serve and return to the two great commandments. The one who loves God and loves his/her brother, need not fear-because perfect love casts out all fear.
To tell people they do not need to fear(respect God who is love and be aware of the consequences of predatory wickedness) is foolishness(foolishness is a lack of discernment, a lack of awareness).

Both the saints(for He chastises every son whom he receives, and will test the works of everyman by fire)
and the unbeliever(for it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God) need a healthy respect(which the word calls fear) for the will of God and the purpose of God and the means by which He causes all things to work according to the counsel of His will.
The Logos is complete, but it is not completely understood.