Living in the Awe
of the
Holiness of God

Fear not man


    By openly speaking of the fear of God, we might bring some emotional confusion to people, even to Christians. We have earlier expressed how the fear of God is a biblical concept, both in the OT and the NT. However, without proper teaching (1), many Christians have inserted worldly thinking into their minds which rejects the concept of the fear of God. We would like to identify five areas the world has felt itself necessary to strip children of the fear of God.

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  • Hatred of God's ways
    The secular society wants to protect its own decisions. They hate God and His ways. When God's commandments are mentioned, they feel guilty. They respond by rejecting this light and fighting against the mention of God and His ways.

  • Moral relativity
    The theory of moral relativity, the absence of an absolute right or wrong, supports the pursuit of self. This of course enables them to feel free to make unethical decisions with ease and accelerates the speed of moral degeneration.

  • Choice without consequence
    The world protects their sensitive guilt areas by using philosophies to keep God's invasion of truth out. One of these concepts is the freedom to live however one wishes. This often wrongly rides free under the umbrella of democracy.

  • Self-expression without constraint
    Another concept is the psychological attempt to bring about a child's fullest potential. They believe this potential rests in the ability to be free to develop. This means that they are supplied with options and kept from restraints including religious and parental teaching. Religious and moral concepts, they believe, interfere in the children's progress.

  • Children naturally good
    In order to support the above thought, they clearly believe that the child is inherently good and only turns out bad when he or she cannot freely develop.

The fear of God is the conscious presence of God and His ways.

The love of self attempts to shut God out of his life and conscience.

#1 Love for self produces a defensive hatred for the things of God
#2 Moral relativity shuts the door to God.
#3 Locks on their minds keep the door shut.
  1. Choice without consequence
  2. Self-expression without constraint
  3. Children naturally good

At this point we will not discuss the contributing philosophers to each of these philosophies, but instead we will point out that the teaching on the fear of God goes against each of the above points. All the points above are totally unbiblical but are to different degrees accepted by professing Christians living in the modern world. This is the reason the Christian no longer lives very differently than the non-Christian. There no longer is a fear of God.

If one notices each of the above categories, one will see that freedom of self-expression, thought and choice are deeply integrated here. The fear of God speaks of constraining oneself to God's ways. They know that if children hear the Word of God, then this will shape their perspectives and interfere in what they believe is full self-development.

Fear and Discipline
Furthermore, they 'guck' up the word 'love.' They seem of good intent when they only want to affirm and don't dare say anything negative or imposing on another person, but this is not what love is at all. The basis for this thinking is again that we are born innocent and will grow fine on ourselves if others just don't get involved bringing their expectations into our lives. One can see very quickly that the teaching of the fear of God stomps on this sloppy version of love. Here are some biblical supports against this kind of affirming love.

  • Jesus commonly reproved his disciples (Mark 4:40; Mark 8:17-18).
  • We are commanded to reprove others (Matthew 18:15).
  • Jesus reproved hypocrites from their false lives (Mark 7:6-13).
  • Jesus warned us of impending judgment (Matthew 11:22-24).
  • We are commanded to repent (Mark 1:15; Acts 8:22)
  • The beatitudes start with being poor in spirit and grieving rather than thinking one has everything altogether (Matthew 5:1-3).
  • God chastises us good and hard if necessary (Hebrews 12:5-11 and I Corinthians 11:27-32).

Love undoubtedly has a wonderful affirming character that we need to grow in (see I Corinthians 13). However, love has its balancing truths. For example, Jesus fully represented God when it is said of Him that He was full of grace and truth. We are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:5).

Behind the fear of the Lord stand three attributes of God. God is a just, holy and mighty being tolerating no sin and bound to judge and get rid of all sin. Because God is so much greater than ourselves He is awesome in glory causing us to fear Him (a good example are the angels covering themselves before God's presence). Because God is holy, sinful creatures like us are naturally fearing God when exposed to His presence. Christians do have the covering of Christ and so this fear is modified in a certain way but hardly eliminated. The more we realize the depths of our sin and the potential chastisement upon our lives, the more we will fear Him more.

The world is attempting to make all forms of punishment and chastisement wrong. For example, the people are taught to side against capital punishment even though the scriptures clearly support it. We are intimidated by the society to stand against discipline because it imposes ones judgment upon another. This is in complete contradiction to Hebrews 12 which clearly says that if we do not chastise, then we do not love. Affirming words without discipline is not love because it does not build the fear of God into their lives. Without the fear of the Lord, much harm and foolishness will come to them.

Much can be said about the need for proper discipline both in children as well as Christians. Only by fearing the Lord, will we discern these evil ways and be able to stand against them. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7).

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Biblical Foundations for Freedom

By Paul J. Bucknell

(1) We are not only concerned with not receiving enough good teaching but also the amount of bad materials brought into ones mind such as through television, music, reading, etc.