I have been teaching through the subject in Sunday School for a few weeks, and really only doing a cursory overview. Many have done a more thorough job of it, and have continued the series for a longer term.
This theme definitely seems to be one that is forgotten in our day. We live in a land of “No Fear,” and that lack of fear, or plain stupidity flies in the face of natural normal danger, but so much more so when one considers the Holy Righteous God of justice who will judge the sin that he abhors. God, who is a consuming fire, who is angry with the wicked everyday, who is majestic in might, immensity, and holiness, this God should be feared, by the lost and saved alike.
In closing my lessons I tried to condense it all into a nice little outline. You certainly lose so much of the Scripture and authority behind the outline when this is done, but outlines can be a helpful and succinct reminder of what has been studied. I am posting below, my outline.
“The Fear of God is the very soul of Godliness.”
- The Fear of God is a predominate theme in Scripture
- To be devoid of the Fear of God is to be outside the family of God. (Ps. 103:11, 13, 17)
- To be ignorant of the Fear of God is to be ignorant of a necessary and basic part of Christianity. (Prov. 1:7; 9:10)
- To grow in grace and in Christ’s likeness is to grow in the Fear of God. (Ex. 18:21; Is. 11:1-3)
The Fear of God has two aspects as found in Scripture. These two aspects are united in the commendations and commands to Fear God.
- Terror and Dread (Luke 12:4, 5; Heb. 10:26-31)
- This fear is derived from the harm that the object of fear can inflict.
- The unsaved should dread and tremble at the prospect of the righteous judgment of God.
- Knowing God’s judgment, saints respond:
- By working out our salvation in fear and trembling. (Phil. 2:12)
- A deterrent to sin, we dread the correcting hand of God in judgment. (Heb. 12:6, 11)
- By persuading men. (2 Cor. 5:10-11)
- Reverence, Honor, and Awe (Is. 6:1-5; Gen. 28:11-18)
- This fear comes from the intrinsic worth and dignity of the object of fear.
- This fear causes us to follow God in love, submission, and faith. (Luke 5:4-11)
- Necessary Ingredients of the Fear of God – Abraham
- Correct concepts of the Character of God – Holiness, Immensity, Majesty
- Pervasive sense of the presence of God – God is not out there somewhere, but He is here now!
- Constraining awareness of our obligations to God
- Love Him Supremely (Mark 12:30)
- Obey Him Implicitly (John 14:15; 15:14)
- Trust Him Completely (Heb. 11:6)
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.