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Question #89168 posted on 03/19/2017 7:36 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How do you reconcile all the different times the scriptures tell us to fear not, with all the times they tell us to fear God?



Dear Fear,

As Anne, Certainly pointed out, a distinction between those two uses of the word fear is made in the Bible Dictionary, which reads:

Care should be taken to distinguish between two different uses of this word. The “fear of the Lord” is frequently spoken of as part of man’s duty (Ps. 111:10Eccl. 12:13Isa. 11:2–3Luke 1:50); it is also described as “godly fear” (Heb. 12:28). In such passages fear is equivalent to reverence, awe, worship, and is therefore an essential part of the attitude of mind in which we ought to stand toward the All-holy God. On the other hand fear is spoken of as something unworthy of a child of God, something that “perfect love casteth out” (1 Jn. 4:18). The first effect of Adam’s sin was that he was afraid (Gen. 3:10). Sin destroys that feeling of confidence God’s child should feel in a loving Father and produces instead a feeling of shame and guilt. Ever since the Fall God has been teaching men not to fear, but with penitence to ask forgiveness in full confidence of receiving it.

Going along with this, to me, fearing God means recognizing and paying respect to His divine office as the Creator of the Universe and Father of our spirits. In contrast, the kind of fear that is the antithesis of faith seems to stem from distrust. Personally, I fear the future most when I don't fully believe the promises I've received in blessings and revelation pertaining to the future because it just seems too illogical, which is essentially another way of saying I don't fully trust God. Framed in this context, the two different uses of fear actually have directly opposite consequences. Fearing God results in greater trust in Him because it opens our eyes to His power and majesty, engendering trust in His purposes and abilities. Other types of fear arise from incomplete trust in God (note: this is my personal interpretation, and not official doctrine).