What is the difference between fearing God and being scared of God?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 12 2016 Mini Agnes Mendenhall

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
When the word "fear" is used in connection with a Christian's attitude toward God, it is not meant to convey (for the Christian) a sense of terror or of being frightened. Instead, it refers to a combination of reverential respect and awe (in the same way that we defer to or obey those on earth whose authority we respect, owing to either their position or their personal attributes -- except that, in the case of God, the appropriateness of this response to Him is multiplied many, many times over).

And such a response IS appropriate, because God is worthy of it as both the eternal, immeasurably powerful Creator of the universe, and as the Being who loved us enough to become one of us, in order to make it possible for us to live forever with Him in a way that only He could have done, and that we could never have achieved by ourselves.

However, as Jesus warned His listeners (Luke 12:4-5), and as the writer of Hebrews reiterated (Hebrews 10:31), those who do not recognize and yield themselves to God's rightful power and authority, or who do not avail themselves of His grace and mercy, have a very real reason to fear God in the sense of being frightened, since He also has the ability (unlike anyone on earth) to consign them to eternal separation from Him.

January 19 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Billy P Eldred
Tim, as always gave an excellent answer to the question. I would like to add some personal opinion that I think might help. 

A friend of mine said "I came to Christ out of fear. I stayed out of Love!" I think the Bible uses the word fear to convey both sentiments. 

First, there is a need for the lost of the world to be afraid of God as there is consequence to rejecting Christ that should make anyone tremble. This is necessary as the first step in becoming Saved is to recognise that you need to be saved and from what you need to be Saved. The next step is to recognise Who can Save you. 

Before I address that second step I want to share a personal observation with you. The first time I read the Bible through from front to back, I thought : "UT oh, this God means business. He is waiting to zap those who mess up and do not do as He says! We had better toe the line or He's gonna get us!" (Don't want to go any further without saying this was not an accurate description of God, rather an appropriate description of Sin in my life) Was I in fear. Absolutely. But, you see, I didn't know God or Christ. But I did know I needed Saving. As I reread the Bible several times, I discovered that I had totally misread God. He was not the tyrant I imagined waiting to zap me, rather a Loving father waiting to wrap me in His arms to protect me. Protect me from what? The consequences of Sin which is death. The more I read the Bible, the more a loving God I discovered. 

Which brings me to other side of the word fear. The Reverence side. Knowing who can rescue you from the fear you feel. You see, we are not afraid of God, we are afraid of the consequence of the sin in our life. There are rules to this universe God has created because He created it out of His nature as God. One such rule is "the wages of sin is death". His nature is also the nature of one who loves us so much that He was willing to send His son to die in our place to make a Way in which He can allow us to be saved from those irreversible rules. What an all powerful Loving God we serve!

February 03 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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