|“We are lost when human opinion means more to us than God’s.” D A Carson (“Don Carson”)
Thoughts from the Diary of a Desperate Man by Walter A Henrichsen (“Walt”)
“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love.” 1 John 4:17-18
Jesus says that when you love God and your neighbor you fulfill the law. To the degree that you love perfectly, you have nothing to fear in the day of God’s judgment. Of course the opposite is also true: To the degree that you fail to love you have a great deal to fear in judgment, for “he who fears is not perfected in love.”
“There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.”116 The promise of forgiveness enhances fear. God’s mercy motivates you to fear Him, for without His forgiveness you would have no hope and your fear would quickly turn to resignation and contempt.
Fear and respect are different. Respect is on your terms while fear is on the other person’s terms. You may respect someone you admire and desire to emulate, but you determine the areas of his life you deem worthy of your respect. If you are in a military boot camp and have as your drill instructor one that is twice your size and equally mean, you fear him. He, not you, defines what that fear looks like. C.S. Lewis, in his The Chronicles of Narnia, says regarding Alsan the Lion, who represents Jesus Christ, “He is good, but He is not safe.”
I wanted my children to both love and fear me, for in their fear rested their safety. When we were together but out of reach and they moved into harm’s way, I would tell them to stop assured that they feared my voice. They feared for they knew that disobedience brought unpleasant consequences. If you respect God but do not fear Him, you will consider His commandments negotiable.
116 Psalm 130:4
Deuteronomy 10-12 Mark 12:1-27 (New King James Version)
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