Seeing and Fearing God
John Donne wrote, “As he that fears God, fears nothing else. So he that sees God, sees everything else.”
In this video and the following transcript, I share some related thoughts:
There’s several components to Donne’s quote. One is that if you fear God, you don’t have to be afraid of anyone else. We’re all going to fear somebody. The question is, who?
It’s like when people talk about not feeling comfortable with the idea of fearing God. Well, get used to it. Scripture says we’re supposed to fear God, even though, yes, He’s our Father and some people quote 1 John 4:18 (“Perfect love casts out fear”). That is true, but we’re still told that in the right way, we’re to realize that God judges sin. If we sin, we should fear the natural consequences that are going to come out of that. So, when you fear God, you don’t have to fear anything else.
Likewise, when you see God, you can see everything else. I would relate that to something C.S. Lewis said, where he talked about light coming into a tool shed. When you see the light come in, it’s not simply that you see light. It’s that you now see everything else in the tool shed because of that light.
We see the whole world in the light that God brings us. In fact, in John 1:9 it says that Christ came into the world and He was the true light that enlightens everyone. Even the unbeliever, as a result of Christ’s incarnation in some way that we don’t even totally understand, is enlightened through His redemptive life and death. We’re able to see things as they really are.
Some people are always trying to work out their worldview and ask “What’s your opinion of this?” and “How do I look at this and how do I look at that?” What we really need is to see God and to contemplate His attributes. When we see God as He truly is, then when we look around and see ourselves and other people and the world, we’ll see all of that in light of God who we behold.