Saturday, 29 October 2016

The Fear of God in the New Testament

There is still a place for fearing God, in the New Covenant life.

Fearing God is part of the Gospel.

At the Beginning of the Gospel

When Mary realised the Gospel was about to begin in Israel through her, she exclaimed: "...his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation..."

After Zecharias and Elizabath's miraculous experience which heralded the start of the Gospel, "...fear came on all that dwelt round about them..."

During Jesus' Ministry in Israel

As the Gospel-ministry was expressed in Israel, "...they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear..."

"...and there came a fear on all: and they glorified God..."

Jesus said: "I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him".

"...fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell".

In parables He said: "...There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man"; 

and He described a man who "...said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man".

On the cross, one thief said to another, "...Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?"

" the days of his flesh...he [Jesus]...offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared".

In the Early Church

The fear of God carried over on this side of the cross, into the early Church.

Among the Jews

"...fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles".

"...great fear came on all them that heard these things".

"...great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things".

"Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied".

Among the Gentiles

In Caesarea there was "A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway".

"...Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews..."

Peter preached that "God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him"

Paul said, "...Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience".

"Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent".

When Jews and Greeks at Ephesus realised that an evil spirit recognised the authority in Jesus' Name Whom Paul preached "...fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified".

In the Epistles

Paul decried the fact that "There is no fear of God before their eyes" - whether Gentiles or Jews - in Gospel-times, just as much as David had, in Old Testament times.

Paul therefore advised all believers:

"...Be not highminded, but fear: for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee."

"Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour".

"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God".

He commended the repentant Corinthians: "For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter".

Titus's "inward affection" was "more abundant toward" the Corinthians, "while he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him".

"Submit yourselves one to another in the fear of God," wrote Paul.

"Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord..."

" singleness of heart, fearing God".

"  ye have always much out your own salvation with fear and trembling".

He advised Timothy: "Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear."

The Hebrews were warned: "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it".

"If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries".

"The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God".

"...Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark..." and he was used as an example for believers.

When Moses saw the quaking mount, he said, "I exceedingly fear and quake".

"But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling..."

"...wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire".

Peter said, "...if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear".

"Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king".

Wives might win a husband, if any obey not the word, "when they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear".

"...sanctify the Lord in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience".

Some unrepentant church-attendees were "feeding themselves without fear".

"And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh", remembering that God is "able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy".

In Revelation 

"...great fear fell upon them which saw them [the two witnesses]".

"...thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth".

"Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth..."

"Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest".

"Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great".


"...let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire".

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