The love of God embraces the whole world and powerfully restrains wandering thoughts. Fear is the master of repentance. The love of God determines the fervor of our piety.
- Comghall, Rule (Irish, 6th century)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!
- Psalm 111.10
It is important to understand the relationship between fearing God and loving Him, because both are required of us (Deut. 10.12). Fear is literally that - fear. Not just reverent awe, but real fear, the fear that some harm or danger might come to you. God is capable of that, and you and I are certainly deserving of it.
We fear God because He is holy and we aren't. If you know God at all, and if you can be honest about yourself, then you have to realize just what God is capable of - and justified in - doing to sinners such as we. No wonder even the Apostle John, suddenly face to face with Jesus - his Savior and close friend! - fell flat on his face in fear (Rev. 1).
We would do well to nurture such fear, meditating on God's self-revelation in Scripture and the creation, until our sense of His greatness, might, power, majesty, holiness, and unbending purity drives us to our knees before Him in abject terror.
Love for God grows from realizing, in the midst of our terror, the touch of His gracious hand, as He says to us, "Don't be afraid" (Rev. 1.17). What we justly deserve, we don't get. What we don't deserve, we do. How can you not love such a God as this?
Because He loves us, He will discipline us betimes (Heb. 12.3-11). So keep the fear handy as "master" teaching you to shun the way of sin and to repent before God comes and works repentance in you His way.
Because we love Him we draw closer to Him, thus knowing Him better, engaging His glory more deeply and consistently, and, as we do, trembling - literally, friends - with fear, gratitude, wonder, and joy, all at the same time.
There's a mystery in this synergy of fear and love, as both are focused on God. We can't understand it, but we can definitely experience it. And, as we do, we know what the weight of glory is, and we discover the transforming power of that glory as it molds us into the image of Him we both fear and love.
Today at The Fellowship of Ailbe
The Pastors' Fellowship - Pastors, the seats are filling up for our two sections for April, as we gather in a free webinar to discuss the question, "What does it mean to be saved?" Want in? Register today.
A Mighty Fortress - Luther's hymn has more power than you perhaps know. Here's a little study of it to enhance your fear of and love for God.
In the Gates - All this week we're considering the Law's power to teach us how to fulfill the purpose of our redemption.
Thanks for your prayers. And thank you for your gifts. If our ministry helps you, please consider helping us. Use the donate button here or at the website, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 100 Lamplighter Ct., Hamilton, VA 20158. Thanks for considering us in your giving.