I appreciated this quote from John Stott about the fear of God. The fear of God is a profound respect for His holiness, which includes a fear of the consequences of disobeying Him. It shouldn't scare us out of our wits; it should scare us into them. "The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death" (Proverbs 14:27).
Stott wrote this in The Cross of Christ:
The kind of God that appeals to most people today would be easy-going in his tolerance of our offenses. He would be gentle, kind, accommodating. He would have no violent reactions. Unhappily, even in the church we seemed to have lost the vision of the majesty of God. There is much shallowness and levity among us. Prophets and psalmists would probably say of us, "There is no fear of God before their eyes." In public worship our habit is to slouch or squat; we do not kneel nowadays, let alone prostrate ourselves in humility before God. It is more characteristic of us to clap our hands with joy than to blush with shame or tears.
We saunter up to God to claim his patronage and friendship; it does not occur to us that he might send us away. We need to hear again the Apostle Peter's sobering words, "Since you call on a father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives in reverent fear." (I Peter 1:17) In other words, if we dare to call our judge our Father, we must beware of presuming on him. It must even be said that our evangelical emphasis on the atonement is dangerous if we come to it too quickly. We learn to appreciate the access to God which Christ has won only after we have first cried, "Woe is me for I am lost."
Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Unsplash
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.