If God Is Love, Why Are We Told to Fear Him?


Fear of the Lord does not mean it is His desire that we be afraid of Him. Rather, we should approach Him boldly, in reverential awe.

Q: If God is love, why are we told to fear Him?

A: There is no denying our God is awesome and powerful! Psalm 24:8 says, “Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty; the Lord, invincible in battle.” The wicked are terrified in God’s presence because meeting The All Powerful One without Jesus is a frightening experience.

But for a Christian, the situation is totally reversed. The thing we must understand is that God does not desire that we be filled with terror and fear at the thought of meeting Him. In fact, He sent his Son, Jesus, to die for us so that we wouldn’t have to.

Here is God’s intent toward a Christian:

“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him."

“... All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love."

“God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world."

“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love” (1 John 4:9, 15-18).

Those scriptures simply remind us that the Lord God is worthy of our honor and respect. That does not mean, however, it is His desire that we be afraid of Him. The Amplified Bible refers to the fear of the Lord as reverential awe: “The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord brings instruction in Wisdom, and humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 15:33, AMP).

This reverential fear is full of respect and honor for the Lord. We encourage you to substitute the words honor and respect whenever you read a verse containing the phrase “fear the Lord.” This will help you gain a deep understanding of the reverential fear of the Lord.

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