2 CORINTHIANS 7:1 – Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
THEME OF THE DAY. GOD’S FEAR AND THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. There is nothing we do in life that lacks a motive. Even the routine things in life. It might be simply just to get something done; like laundry, like dishes, and like my yard. My commitment to mow and keep up my lawn is not motivated by desire to make it look pretty. Not at all. I don’t get all excited when I see the grass grow and know I have to cut it soon. I am not swelling up with pride to make my yard pristine. Oh, I do a good job and it looks good when I am done, but my main motive is basically one – get it done. And in the Christian life, there are motivators as well. One of the chief motivators in living for the Lord and conforming to His holy Person is found in today’s scripture – “bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” But before we move on, allow me to qualify something. The ultimate motivate for what we do and don’t do as Christians is love. It is the love of Christ in and controlling us that is to be the energy, direction, and motive behind all we do. However, this love is not separate from what Paul is telling us today – God’s fear. In fact, God’s love cannot be separate from His fear. And this is a good time to offer us a word of caution. Should we find ourselves focusing almost always on God’s love either inwardly to ourselves or in conversations with Christians and non-Christians, we are out of balance. The dominant theme in the Bible is not God’s love but His fear and within this fear is His love. Pay attention to what God says through the prophet Jeremiah – “And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul” (Jeremiah 32:39-41). It is His fear AND love that He places in the hearts of His children and that fear has two applications in living out the Christian life.
First, the fear of God in the heart of His children enables us to see sin as He does. We will hate it, avoid it, fight against it, and be wise to its deceptive power of promising lasting pleasure, but only delivering lasting pain. Notice in the Jeremiah passage what God says His fear will do – “I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever.” It is the fear of God that prevents a divided and compromising heart when it comes to total devotion to God and overcoming temptation.
Next, the fear of God in the heart of His children prevents spiritual decline or becoming a spiritual backslider – “And I will put the fear of Me in their hearts, that they may not turn from Me.” The road to shipwrecking our faith and landing in a horrible backslidden condition is to allow the fear of God to drift from our thinking. Remember how the Apostle Paul described the unsaved – “there is no fear of God in them” (Romans 3:18). Remove the fear of God from the believer’s mind and spiritual disaster results – every time. There is no restraint to the flesh and giving into temptation when the fear of God is absent.
So, as we walk with the Lord, let’s be motivated by His fear. It is fear which is healthy and opens up our hearts to truly experience His amazing love.
PRAYER: “Father, deepen Your fear in my heart that I might pursue holiness with consistency, delight, and diligence.”
QUOTE: “The fear of God is given to every believer and it is to be the attitude governing our walk with the Lord Jesus”