Submitted by Andy McIlvain.
The Fear of God, what does it mean? God loves us, he is our Father yet he is a Holy Supernatural being so far removed from us it that it is death (Exodus 33:20-22) for sinful humans to look upon him. Christ then is the way we see God. We fear him because we have rebelled against him.
Despite our punishable sin God was with us in common grace even after the fall and continues to bless all of humanity. The story of redemption is that of an all-powerful, holy, and sovereign God who is to be feared and who graciously calls all people to Himself.
The fear of the Lord remains, then, a great source of blessing. Knowing that Jesus was punished for our sins in our place reminds us both that God is to be feared (He takes sin seriously) and yet is love (of which the cross is the sign).
Charles Taylor says in A Secular Age:
“… modern, western civilization has disenchanted the cosmos and moved away from a porous self—in which the person can be influenced by forces and spirits of the cosmos (God) – to the buffered self which lives primarily from its own lived, internal experience of reality. The buffered self is detached, or buffered, from direct contact with reality and thus is able to interpret and create meaning from the material world around them.”
This way of thinking excludes the possibility that true fulfillment and God are linked.
In Our Secular Age: Ten Years of Reading and Applying Charles Taylor, Bruce Ashford states:
“We must embrace the moment God has given us – a secularized, cross-pressured, fragilized moment. When the Lord returns, we will meet him first and foremost as Christians. But we will also meet him as citizens of the modern West. Being a cross-pressured and fragilized Westerner is not the most important dimension of our identity, but it is an unavoidable one for which we will give account. For that reason, it is incumbent on us to tailor our witness for a secular age […] Within the immanent frame (modern worldview), we search for meaning, and find an explosion of different options. As a result, we are ‘fragilized’; surrounded by competing options in close proximity to ourselves, we lack confidence in our own beliefs. We are ‘cross-pressured’; caught between the modern disenchantment of the world and the haunting of transcendence, we find ourselves in perpetual unease.”
Hebrews 12:28-29 says, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ’God is a consuming fire.’”
Reverence and awe is a large part of what the Fear of God is. Fearing God means having such a reverence for Him that it has a great impact on the way we live our lives by respecting Him, obeying Him, submitting to His discipline, and worshipping Him in awe, and fearing His judgment on our sin.