The more we understand the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, and his forgiveness of our sin, we will be filled with a holy fear (awe) of Him. Amazement mixed with fear – of His power, His holiness, His righteousness, His absolute perfection, and His unbelievable sacrifice.
Before Jesus went to the cross to be crucified, He prayed to the Father.
Matthew 26:39 He went on a little farther and bowed with His face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.”
Jesus knew exactly what He was facing, but He was obedient to the will of the Father. He sacrificed Himself willingly because He understood that it was the Father’s will. He understood that God’s justice must stand, and the debt for sin must be paid in full. He was willing to DIE as a sacrifice to pay the penalty WE deserve, so that WE can receive God’s forgiveness.
Psalm 130:4 But You offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear You.
When we see Him as He truly is, and we take a hard look at the sin and evil in our own lives, we should get a greater understanding of our unworthiness of His love. We are fallen, sinful, disobedient. A healthy dose of humility should crush our self-righteous pride.
Knowing we fully deserve eternal punishment for our rebellion against a Holy God should give us a healthy fear of Him. When we see His amazing love and forgiveness in place of His wrath that we deserve, we should fall on our face before Him in gratitude. We should be blown away by His grace and mercy. Our hearts should be filled with reverence, deep respect, and awe-struck wonder.
To NOT have this healthy fear of God leads to disaster and death.
Proverbs 1:28-33 “When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me. For [because] they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the LORD. They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes. For simpletons [fools] turn away from me – to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency. But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.”
There are both immediate and eternal consequences for those who refuse to listen to God, and do not respect His power and authority. He allows them to choke on their own schemes. But those who listen to God and respect His authority over their lives have nothing to fear. His mighty power us used to save and protect.
Hebrews 12:24-29 You have come to Jesus, the One who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel. Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! When God spoke from Mount Sinai His voice shook the earth, but now He makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.
Judgment is coming, and all of creation will be shaken. Our faith and trust needs to be in the UNSHAKABLE GOD.
Proverbs 9:10 Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.
We all need to have a healthy fear of the Lord, and that should grow as we get to know Him. We need to see Him as He is – the Almighty, Sovereign LORD. The One who holds ALL authority over all of His creation. We should never take Him for granted, or treat Him as if He is less than He is. We should never deliberately sin and presume upon God’s grace. We should have a much greater respect and fear for His authority than we do!
But at the same time, our healthy fear of God must be balanced with an understanding of His unending LOVE for us.
John 3:16 [Jesus] For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Romans 8;14-15 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, “Abba, Father.”
Because of Jesus Christ, we have been given the unimaginable privilege of having a relationship with a Holy God where we can call Him “DADDY”! The more we understand what He has done for us, the more we should long to be obedient to Him and serve Him with a heart filled with deep love and gratitude.
Additional reading: 1 Samuel 2:3, Job 34:27, Psalm 7:11, 50:6, 76:9, 82:8, Ecclesiastes 3:17, 12:14, John 8:50, Romans 2:3, 3:6, James 4:11-12, 1 Peter 4:5, Revelation 14:7