Afraid of God?

Should we be scared of God?

The quick and easy answer is no, of course we shouldn’t. He’s a God of love, grace, and compassion.

But that answer would be too quick and superficial. What are we supposed to do with passages like this one?

Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him (Psalm 2:10-12).

And it’s not just an Old Testament thing.

  • So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you (Romans 11:20-21).
  • Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others (2 Corinthians 5:11).
  • Therefore, . . . work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).

The New Testament seems to say quite a bit about fearing God.

But then you’ve got thoughts like this: For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15).

So . . . should we, or not?

I think the answer is both, and there’s probably a fine line somewhere.

As God’s children, we shouldn’t draw back in terror from him, cowering before him as we would before an enemy who wants to hurt us. We should feel confident in his love, mercy, and grace.

But maybe we don’t respect God as we should. We’re too flippant with his name, too casual with his word, too frivolous with holy things.

Our attitude toward God should be characterized by reverence and awe.

He’s a holy and awesome and powerful God who deserves our complete respect.

Should God scare us?

If we don’t follow his Son, then absolutely. There’s no worse place to be than outside of Christ.

If we’re believers, though, we don’t cower in fear.

But we always stand in awe of him. —Chuck


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