What is the “Fear of God”?


Our parents and grandparents did not have an issue with the term “Fear of God.” It is a term that appears throughout the Old and New Testaments, and a term that was in the minds of the faithful throughout the ages.

These days, however, this phrase troubles many people, who seek to re-define and soften it. They ask “why should we fear God? Isn’t He the God of love? Isn’t He our Father in Heaven?” If you are one of those people, then consider that in essence, you seek to not be accountable for yourself and your life choices.

Consider also, that if we do not fear God, then perhaps it is a sign that we do not know God at all.

If we truly understood His greatness, His power and His majesty, then we would truly fear God in the same way that we fear the powerful people in our lives. If we understood His all-encompassing love, and the depths He has gone to and will go to for our benefit and our salvation, then again, we would truly fear God, in the same way that we fear breaking the relationship with all those people in our lives who love us deeply.

We can allow ourselves to fear God as King. In this way, we fear breaking his rules for life, knowing that in doing so we travel away from the path to Heaven and become lost. On a higher order, we can allow ourselves to fear God as Father. Not wanting to disgrace and soil ourselves with wrongdoing, mindful that He created us in His image and likeness. God gave His only begotten Son for our salvation that resulted in Him being nailed to the cross to save us. When we understand this, will we not find ourselves ashamed to betray Him and His love for us?

Do we fear the police officer whose job it is to keep the law? How much more so the Creator of the Universe who laid out for us simple rules for good living and love for each other. Do we fear standing before leaders of this country, who hold the highest office? How much more so the King of Heaven who sits upon the throne of Cherubim and is honoured by the Seraphim. Do we fear our own mother whose love for us knows no boundaries? How much more so our Father in Heaven who gave His Son’s life for us.

If you find that you cannot fear God through knowledge of Him or His love, then fear God whose face Moses was not permitted to see. If you cannot do that either, then contemplate and fear your own eternal destruction brought about by blinding yourself to His presence. If even that is too difficult, then consider whether you fear death. If (like most people) you do, then surely you can take the next small step and begin to fear God.

Those saints who lived with fear of God kept His rules to the best of their ability. When they understood that they had made a mistake, they would repent and run to Him to seek His forgiveness. They lived by His example as laid out in the New Testament. They copied His love in their dealings with other people. They were His sheep and He was their Shepherd. Do not seek to redefine “Fear of God”. Embrace it as part of your life in His flock.


† Fr N. S.


Source: Lychnos February – March 2021