What is Fear?
"The fear of the Lord" is a common expression in the O.T. Job 28:28; comp. Acts 9:31. It refers to awe and reverence for piety rather than to dread of God. The love of God is not so plainly revealed in the O.T. as in the New. The attributes of God's holiness and power are most strongly emphasized. Hence the frequent exhortation to fear God. Fear has its fit place also under the gospel dispensation. Paul exhorts Christians, Phil 2:12, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." If it is a "fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God," Heb 10:31, and "if the righteous scarcely be saved," 1 Pet 4:18, we ought ever to remember the punishment due to us for sin and God's abhorrence of it, and in view of the punishment pass our time in a proper state of godly fear, which, however, is not slavish, but consistent with assurance of faith and with love for God as our Father. Comp. Rom 8:15; 1 John 4:18.