Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"The Fear of Love"

       No one should more fear the Lord than those who have a strong assurance of His love, grace, and mercy.

    "Let us have grace, that we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear" (Hebrews 12:28).

    The writer of Hebrews reveals the connection between grace and godly fear.  This may seemcounter intuitive upon first consideration.  Indeed, grace saves believers from the wrath ofGod unto living, family relationship with the Lord as our Heavenly Father.  We are dear and beloved children to Him, being freely "accepted in the Beloved," namely, in the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:1; 1:6; II Thessalonians 2:13).  Why then should we fear the One who loves us to the degree that He gave His Son to a cross of sorrow, pain, forsakenness and death in order toshower forth His grace upon us?

    God's love itself provides our answer.  OurHeavenly Father eternally devotes Himself to our best interest and well being.  He always acts according to our truest need, as opposed to our desire and pleasure.  He will not be swayed from this loving emphasis by the sentimentality that often characterizes human "love." How often do we act toward each other in a manner that that seems genuinely loving, but which actually originates in the mere attempt to make the moment more pleasant and manageable.  Certainly there are times when the Holy Spirit ministers comfort through us to each other withsoft and tender administrations.  However, we also sometimes 
coddle each other when our truest need involves challenge.  In such times, self-interest rather than love guides our words and actions, a mistake that our Lord never makes.  He loves us purely and perfectly, and if our best interests sometimes require the rod, He will wield it for our benefit.

     We should fear such love, and thus, we who most believe in God's lovingkindness and tender mercies should also be those who hold a solemnand fearful reverence for Him deep within ourhearts.  Our Heavenly Father loves us enough to hurt us if the need requires.  A Biblical view of Divine love includes fear of the devotion to us that ministers both the tender caress and the chastening rod.  Yes, the love of God and the fear of God reside together in the hearts of those who realize thholy purity of His commitment to us.

"In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence, and His children shall have a place of refuge.  The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death."
(Proverbs 14:26-27)

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