Should We Be Afraid of God?

When we consider the infinitude of God, and all that the Scriptures tell us about the fear of God, is it then right for us to be afraid of God? This is an important question to consider. The book Creature of the Word tells us:

"The fear of the Lord should be a motivating factor for the gospel-centered leader. Unfortunately, we are often confused by the fear of the Lord. We tend to think of cowering away from a vindictive God who is ready to strike us. But a biblical understanding of the fear of the Lord actually draws us closer to the Father:

The true fear of God is a child-like fear. Some of the Puritans used to call it a "filial fear." It is a combination of holy respect and glowing love. To fear God is to have a heart that is sensitive to both His God-ness and His graciousness. It means to experience great awe and deep joy simultaneously when one begins to udnerstand who God really is and what He has done for us. 

Therefore the true fear of God is not a fear that makes a person run away and flee from God. It is a fear that drives him to God

Love for God and fear of Him are, therefore, not at all incompatible. To think that they are is to fail to see the richness of the character of the God we worship. It is to ignore the way in which knowing Him in all His attributes, and responding appropriately to Him, stretches our emotional capacities to their limit. Scripture portrays the fear of the Lord and the love of the Lord as companion emotions." (p. 172)


In Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer writes the same: "In olden days men of faith were said to "walk in the fear of God" and to "serve the Lord with fear." However intimate their communion with God, however bold their prayers, at the base of their religious life was the conception of God as awesome and dreadful. This idea of God transcendent rims through the whole Bible and gives color and tone to the character of the saints. This fear of God was more than a natural apprehension of danger; it was a nonrational dread, an acute feeling of personal insufficiency in the presence of God the Almighty. 

Wherever God appeared to men in Bible times the results were the same - an overwhelming sense of terror and dismay; a wrenching sensation of sinfulness and guilt. 

Conversely, the self-assurance of modern Christians, the basic levity present in so many of our religious gatherings, the shocking disrespect shown for the Person of God, are evidence of deep blindness of heart.

Many call themselves by the name of Christ, talk much about God, and pray to Him sometimes, but evidently do not know who He is. "The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life," but this healing fear is today hardly found among Christian men.

The greatness of God rouses fear within us, but His goodness encourages us not to be afraid of Him. to fear and not be afraid - that is the paradox of faith."


What characteristics of God cause you to be filled with awe, holy fear and glowing love?