Today we begin a consideration of one of the most challenging doctrinal and philosophical issues of the Christian faith, namely the Scriptural revelation that the love of God and the fear of God must concurrently reside in the sensibilities of born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
"O love the Lord, all ye His saints... O fear the Lord, ye His saints (Psalm 31:23; Psalm 34:9).
At the outset, let us propose that no conflict whatsoever exists in the nature, heart and mind of God regarding these characteristics of His being. All Divine qualities exist in pristine and perfect harmony with one another. His grace and His wrath, for example, are branches of the same wondrous tree, a union we will easily recognize with our perfected understanding in Heaven. At present, however, we find it difficult to reconcile this seeming enigma unless we seek understanding and reconciliation solely in the pages of the Bible. Indeed, a thorough consideration of the Word of God can lead us to the beginning of a comfortable acknowledgement of both the tenderness and terror of our wonderful Lord.
For now, let us accept the plain truth of Scripture: to genuinely know God involves both love and fear. Both Old Testament and New continually call us to rejoice in the tenderness of His hand, and to dread the terror of His corrective rod (if we believe) or His flaming sword (if we do not believe). As we gladly emphasize the former, we cannot failure to reverently acknowledge the latter. In fact, if we rightly understand the fear of God, we shall see that His love comprises the very reason we must fear Him.
If we grow in the true and Biblical fear of God, we shall more love and cherish Him. This may seem counterintuitive, and certainly to faulty human reasoning, it is. As we proceed, however, we will discover from the pages of Scripture that our Heavenly Father's great love for us inevitably leads to a proper and healthy trepidation that accomplishes great things in the trusting heart. Indeed, consideration of the Bible's teaching regarding love and fear graces us with a sanctifying experience that blesses our hearts with a greater security and peace as it reveals the sublime devotion of God to our well-being. Again, growth in the fear of God leads to growth in the love of God. May our Father leader us in this vital contemplation.
"Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear."