Rahab’s faith is specifically remarked upon in both Joshua and Hebrews. Rahab is a wonderful example to us of what it means to fear God and live. To recognize His authority, that He will do as He has determined, and to submit to Him in this, obey Him, and be saved.
Rahab’s actions are not ones that, at first glance, seem to reflect our typical definition of “faith”. Today our methods of evangelizing are often overly fixated upon the love of God and man’s welfare. These things are wonderfully important, and yet we are prone to dismiss the fear of God in the name of them, thinking it to be archaic, a hindrance, and even inherently abusive. Many Christians believe that the fear of God has no place because of the love of God, as if these two are in contradiction, rather than in perfect union. Yet the fear of God, held rightly, is most certainly something we are all called to both embrace in our own lives and to minister into the lives of others. And through Rahab we see that this fear of God is faith. In reality, this is often the chosen method through which God works.
God demonstrates in Rahab the significant distinction of faith being built entirely upon a right fear of God. This fear of God brought about salvation to her and her family, and so it does for the world today. “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Eccl 12:13)
I. How the Fear of God Is Used Wrongly
When we consider the problems we associate with this “fear of God”, we will see that the real issue is the abuse of the fear of God, not the doctrine itself.
In one way, the fear of God is abused through the means of false prophecy. False prophecy is giving either a promise or a command in God's name that He has not given. Within the fear of God, it is telling a person that God has commanded something that He has not commanded. It puts the obligation and fear that belongs to God, in which we must obey God, behind false commandments. 1 Timothy 4:1-3 specifically speaks to this: “...who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” (v3) To twist the fear of God into something that is used to coerce people into behaviour and choices that are not scriptural is great evil. The Lord tells us in in Deuteronomy 18:22 that we are free from fearing such false commands: “When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.” (Emphasis added) This word is greatly needed by believers precisely because the Lord knows that some people will try to force others under a false fear of God to do their own wills instead of His.
When the fear of God is abused (either by man or the devil), it is also taken up in order to condemn a person or to accuse them of something they haven’t done, bearing upon them to accept this false accusation (hello Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar; we’re talking about you!). All kinds of evil and harm results from this. It is important that we recognize when this is being done to us because it makes us feel obligated to submit to lies masquerading as “righteousness”. Sadly, this type of wrong fear is placed upon believers all the time, pushing them to feel morally obligated to bear responsibility for something that isn’t theirs.
Another way the fear of the Lord is seen as harmful is when those who are tender in conscience cannot seem to stop trembling at God’s Word. They fear God’s Word, and yet the fear of God is wrongly applied against them, again and again. Where the fear of God is meant to warn us away from continuing in sin and of the condemnation of choosing sin rather than holiness, this person remains in the intense fear of condemnation regardless of the distinction in their choices. We must always discern what we are actually choosing—God or the world, obedience or rebellion—and when we are choosing God (to whatever extent we are honestly capable), we should not permit condemnation to continue against us. A right fear of God provokes us to walk away from sin. Yet we must remember that when we do this in Christ, we are not to imagine that the condemnation of God remains upon us. It is important to mention these people specifically, because in talking about the fear of the Lord these people are prone to feeling completely overwhelmed, as if their choices have no outcome in their lives. What we must define rightly is this alone: there is a way to walk contrary to God and there is a way to walk in submission to God. Which are we doing?
All of these are areas where the fear of God is used in utter violence. And all of these abuses of the fear of God are very evil, yet the fear of God itself is right. It's the same as saying you can use a hammer to build a house or kill someone. If this is true of a hammer how much greater is this with the doctrine of the fear of God? So in one sense, we are right to resist such things. Yet in another sense, we are very wrong, because the abuses of this doctrine are not the only reason we put off the fear of God (as we will discuss further in the next section).
These abuses are all very legitimate concerns. We are very cruel to belittle the absolute agony these problems create—these need to be remedied. Many people in the church are staggeringly obtuse about these great agonies and wrongly interpret a person’s struggle with these as an all-out rebellion against God. We need to realize that to bulldoze past these pains and weaknesses, as if holding the doctrine of the fear of the Lord without question is more legitimate than pursuing the correct usage of the same doctrine, is to be blind to some of the cruelest and most confusing ways the devil works today. No, we must care about both. We should not presume these legitimate struggles are merely excuses made by those who are rebelling against the fear of the Lord. In reality, they are fighting against something entirely different. To condemn their “residence” here (against sin and the devil), as if it is rebellion against God, is to recommit the sins mentioned above! This actually gaslights them, and expects them to gaslight themselves. It brings about great pain and confusion. We must learn from Job’s friends that this violence comes from the devil and not from God. Let us always remember that we are called to submit to God yet also to resist the devil, and be very careful to not condemn one another for where we are walking in this. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
As our problem in one sense is confusing a right resistance with a wrong submission, so we also have the problem of confusing a wrong resistance with a right submission. Meaning, many of us are very susceptible to taking our fights against fear too far. And sadly, this is actually a part of the devil’s aim. The devil wants to abuse us by misusing the fear of God, but his end goal is often far worse than this. He aims to cause us to cast off the fear of God altogether. He wants us to turn against right doctrine. Rather than resisting the devil, we resist God and think this is right. We try to remedy the abuses of a false obligation to fear God by preaching that God need not be feared at all, and this is where we so often go wrong.
Much of the devil's aim in abuse is to cause us to blame God, rather than man's sin and the devil's hand, so that we curse God and die (Job 1:11, 2:5,9). We are in great need of realizing what James 4:7 (seen above) teaches us, the great need to resist the devil in these abuses of God's fearsomeness, and yet fully submit to God in true fear of Him. For it is in casting off the fear of God that a great many perish. It is a fearful thing to lose the fear of God! And this is the devil's greatest aim, even more than these abuses. His goal in harming Job wasn’t the harm itself, but to drive Job to curse God and die, and it is the same aim he is after within these abuses. The church today is in great need of seeing just how active the devil is in these false fears and actively opposing him in them! We are wrong to bypass all these great evils. At the same time we are in great need of seeing just how legitimate the fear of God is, and to turn towards Him with a right fear once again!
The fear of God comes together with the kindness of God and leads us to a right repentance and conformity to the holiness of God. Even for those who have been abused in this wrong fear, especially for these, the true remedy is not putting off the fear of God, but is putting off this false fear while also putting on the right fear of God. To fail on either is to fall in defeat.
II. Rescuing the Right Fear of God
Our problem today is that in trying to remove misplaced fear, many of us instead seek to remove the fear of God altogether, and this is the harm, danger, and evil of which we are often guilty.
Let us be clear: people do not seek to remove the fear of God merely because of these abuses. In truth, when we are truly seeking to remove the fear of God, it is the sin within us that seeks to do so and nothing less. The complexity within the human heart is that we can struggle with wrong fears while also, equally, resisting the holy fear of God out of the deep sin within our hearts. The right heart will seek to resist these wrong abuses of God’s fearsomeness and yet will also equally fight to maintain the right fear of God in their lives.
At the base of all of our hearts, even those who have been wronged in this way, is the desire to cast off the fear of God so that we might live in our own will and desires. Man’s heart is still sinful, regardless of what others do. And the center of this heart is the desire to do our own wills rather than God’s, to put off God’s commandments rather than obey Him. And ultimately, this is what many Christians today are in need of realizing: casting off the fear of God is deadly, deceptive, and comes from the wicked nature within us, not from something righteous or virtuous, nor simply as a response against religious abuse. It can be mixed with our ignorance, confusion, and pain, but that never removes the truth of the equal portion of wickedness from our own hearts, which desire to remove it.
The desire in us to cast away the fear of the Lord is evil not good! It comes from the world’s mind and not God’s. Ultimately this is rebellion against God, one that we continue in today all while claiming to love God. Often we claim to be rejecting the fear of the Lord out of a trust of His love or in the name of loving Him rightly. But can we really say we love God when we reject a great portion of who He is? No. In truth, we believe this lie not because of logic, but because of the sin that persists in us. The reality is that we cannot truly love God if we do not love all of who God is. And it is this sin that the church today particularly walks in.
Not only do we resist walking in the fear of God, but our methods of evangelizing and ministering also lack it. We fear calling things for what they are, especially calling all people to respond to the truth of God’s Word in the fear of the Lord. And we fail to recognize that God operates in this world by moving people to reach out to Him as Savior with faith similar to that faith He cherished in Rahab—one that fears being an enemy of God, who trembles at His Word, fears being in sin, and reaches for God.
Now, it’s worth noting the specific category of “fire and brimstone” preaching. Again, we have need of dealing with two issues here: addressing the abuse of the fear of God (those who do violence to those who are seeking God) and that of rescuing a right fear of God.
Many people who claim to minister God’s Word do so from heartlessness, bearing no mind to the crippling fear they inflict upon people. They never “drive” these people to any destination of salvation and hope, but continually drive people around in circles of terror. They also do this for their own ideas and will, not for God’s.
When we enter into the fear of God, we do not have to accept these people as if what they do is right! They're most harmful in what they do, they do it for evil reasons. But the great struggle here is how to reject all they are saying in evil hate and rescue the true doctrine in the midst of it.
Therefore the work for the Christian is discernment, and this discernment has to do precision surgery. If a surgeon just hacked away at the healthy parts of the body in the name of cutting out cancer in the body, they'd be delicensed and sued. Their job is to cut so closely, separating the deadly from healthy, and to save the life only by this exactness in their work. To not cut out what is healthy, but not leave in what is cancerous, because both can kill. How much more are we to do this with the truth? With the holy and righteous fear of God?
The issue at hand for us is still that of rescuing the right fear of God, regardless of what others do. In spite of others’ sinful choices, what matters is our own obedience to God's word—to obey Him rightly (John 21:22). Therefore this means in one part seeing that the fear of God is very right. “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt 13:41-42) In a word, there is still fire and wrath. If we look at Matthew 13:41-42, 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 2:12, and Romans 2:6-8, do these not still resound with the fire of God’s judgement? They most certainly do. Is this not where so much of the church has actually gone wrong? Because of these individuals who have committed such great sins in God’s name, we've allowed ourselves to be pushed away from a right preaching of the fear of God. We've put off God’s authority, His right in commanding man to repent. We’re more busy apologizing for God than proclaiming Him!
The fear of God is a great portion of what drives man to repent of sin. It flows out from His authority and truth. How greatly we hinder the truth of God by trying to get in the way of God’s hand! And this is exactly what the devil is after. Yes, he wants people hindered from the Kingdom by putting great evil, abuse, and offensiveness in the way by its very “ministers”, but so too does he want to hinder the spreading of the Gospel by getting God’s own people to stand in the way of it!
We fail to comprehend today just how absolutely vital the fear of God is! In evangelizing, ministry, and in our own lives as Christians, Christ says to all of us, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3) This is fearful. God has purposed His fear so that we will truly turn from our sins to Christ, obeying the Gospel. Is 2 Thessalonians 1:8 not fearful? “In flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” It most certainly is. God commands our repentance in the fear of Him. God does not apologize for placing this fear upon all of mankind, and neither should we. In truth, it seems that much of the church’s weakness today is due to the fact that she has sought to remove the fear of the Lord, rather than wrestle into the truth of how to walk rightly within it.
“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)
God commands with utmost authority that all of us, every single person in this world, would repent and turn to Him through Christ. Failing to do so means the wrath of God remains upon us (John 3:18). This certainly means that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” (Prov 9:10a) And it means that we are found opposing God if we continue to resist the right fear He deserves. Resist the devil! Yet submit to God.
III. How Fearing God Is Integral to Faith
So the question for us might be, “Do you mean this fearsomeness of God should replace God’s love?” Certainly not! Rather, we need both. We certainly need both.
Yet we must also understand that “[God’s] mercy is for those who fear him.” (Luke 1:50) The doorway to God’s mercy and love is through fearing Him. It is only those who fear Him and keep his commands who dwell within His mercy and love (Proverbs 10:27, John 15:10). The Lord’s mercy and love is truly available to all, but God sets His promises for those who obey Him through Christ. “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2)
The fear of God causes us to surrender to Him and to obey Him. Rahab feared being in opposition to God, and it is through this doorway of fear that we enter into the fold of the people of God and find mercy, just like Rahab. There she found the green pastures of God’s grace. “The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.” (Psalm 25:14, emphasis added) Also see Proverbs 9:10, and Psalm 147:11. Rahab entered into God’s people through this gateway of trembling and she found mercy and salvation (Isaiah 66:2). In the fear of God we turn away from sin and rebellion against God, and to submission and obedience to Him. It is in this that we have peace.
Look at what the fear of God is against! It's against sin. It's against evil. The fear of God is where it is, so that we stop doing evil against God and man... This is incredibly good! Look how evil and fallen we are to even think that such a thing is evil rather than good! We love and hate in complete opposition to the truth.
Humanity’s great error is in thinking we can make choices for our lives and leave God out of it. But we are fools to think this. Everything in our life is a relational decision—to either accept or reject the God of all of creation. And it is the constant rebellion against this God for which we must all repent.
God’s love is higher than we could ever possibly comprehend—He gave His Son to save us from our fallenness. He is a God of mercy and forgiveness, and we most certainly need this, and we need the fear of God just as much. To believe that mercy replaces fear is a great error. We need to understand God’s love, forgiveness, and grace within and beside the fear of Him, not outside of it. God’s mercy is to save us from our sins, to save us from His wrath—this means His mercy is entirely for the purpose of repentance, submission to Him, and for walking in holiness (Titus 2:11-14, Eph 1:4). And it is fear of God that brings us to and keeps us in this place. The fear of God keeps us pressing towards obedience, submission, holiness, and trust in God. “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.” (Jer 32:40, emphasis added)
It is only in the fear of God that we truly begin to align with reality itself. In truth, all of us are fallen and this means that our perceptions are also fallen. We fail to fear God and see the truth about our sin, because we fail to behold Him as He truly is. This is the effect of sin within us. There is no way out of this, apart from Christ! We are doomed in our spiralling sin, self-effort, and wicked rebellion. When we fear God, submitting to His authority, seeking Him through Christ in the truth of His Word, we begin to truly behold God as holy—as unpolluted by the wickedness that has fully corrupted us, as the only One who understands and orders all creation, as Lord—and we begin to take our right place in submission to Him. And we also begin to behold ourselves as we truly are. It produces a reality-check that awakens us from the slumber of sinful flesh, a mirror by which we might see the utter ugliness of our rebellion, pride, the deep wickedness of our heart, and our blindness to the truth. It is this fear of God that leads us into such submission to Him, into obedience that works such reverence, humility, and holiness within us.
Our lack of the fear of the Lord is evidence of our failure to truly know Him, or know Him completely. It is not evidence of some "greater" Christianity, but evidence that we are still walking in the foolishness of our own mind, for it is the flesh that is dead to God not the new spirit within us.
We need God’s love and we need God’s fearsomeness. Contempt upon the idea of fearing Him has caused many to turn from the faith. Encouraging unbelievers to share this contempt has led to their destruction, not their salvation. It is the fear of God that controls us for good. It turns us away from destruction and brings us into life, peace, joy, rest, truth, holiness, the right worship of God, and into His mercy and love. And we need this fear in order to keep us in the right pathway, even as Christians. When we abandon it, we cast away the very means that brings us into the good we seek. It works together with the love of God, with trust in God, bringing the sharp contrasts of reality to us—how infinitely beyond understanding it is for a God like this to move heaven and earth to make us His own, to redeem us from our sins.
The fear of God is a great part of faith. Faith is recognizing the authority of God and responding to it. Believing God and walking in obedience to Him. When we remove this we confuse people as to what faith truly is. We think of faith as courage, positivity, or feelings, but faith is the conviction of, and the embracing of (Heb 11:1) the reality that only God is God, and acting accordingly. Faith is turning back to God from our rebellion against Him, in submission to and trust of Christ. This is done in obedience to God’s command to “repent and believe” (Mark 1:15). God sends out His Word in authority to all mankind, calling all to bow their knee, to repent of their sins, and to obey the Gospel, and it is this very message that we as His ambassadors are to proclaim.
IV. Where Fear and Trust Meet
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mark 10:28)
The Lord’s holiness and power will produce fear in the believer, but equally produces trust if we follow it to its conclusion.
One thing we should learn about God is that He is actually the most fearsome. Out of all things within this universe, the Lord is the most fearsome being that exists. This does not mean He is also evil, though this is what we often associate with fearsomeness. We consider someone to be most feared who is most wicked. This means that when we see God’s holiness and trustworthiness we often eliminate His fearsomeness. But the Lord makes it plain that we should not cast off the fear of God, but we should fear Him the most! For this is what is true.
The reality of sin and hell and God’s judgement against sinners is quite literally the most terrifying thing there is in this whole universe. Therefore we should be wise to turn to God, to face His Word and so be saved from such great terrors. This is the wisdom that we need.
But there are wrong fears. Within this right fear of God, we must understand that this does not mean that any fear is right, or even any fear of God. As mentioned previously, there are many people who have suffered under a fear of God to the degree of despair, and this is most certainly evil and harmful. Again, it is the devil who seeks to put this wrong fear upon people. God does not want us just terrified in a corner for all eternity. No, we need to see God accurately. And this is why we need to see His true fearsomeness (Heb 12:21), yet at the same time we need to see the Lord’s trustworthiness. “Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.” (Psalm 40:3)
Part of the problem is not seeing what the fear of God is for. Fearing God produces the context and urgency which turns us to righteousness and obedience, rather than remaining passive in our sin. This doesn't mean perfection, but a true acknowledgement of God's Word and our "every effort" being put into obedience to it. And if we are walking in that, then there is no longer condemnation for those in Christ.
Within the fear of God we need to see that God is looking for our salvation. He is looking for our repentance and our turning towards Him. He could just as easily bring judgment sooner, but Scripture shows us that He delays precisely for our sakes, because He does not want any to perish (2 Peter 3:9). If we are not careful to understand this, then the fear of God will drive us to terror and despair. The terror of hell and God’s judgement is real, and we are very wrong to undermine the truth of these. We’re not wrong to want salvation! Yet we often try to seek salvation by dishonest means: i.e., trying to undermine the truth. Rather, we need salvation through the truth (John 10:9). This is where much of the trouble is! We need to see God rightly in His salvation, and this is where we have Jesus, our true Savior, rescuing us from these great horrors.
Fear alone is never going to keep us rightly balanced within the things of God. We need God’s trust alongside it. Without this trust in His goodness, steadfast love, kindness, mercy, and atonement, without truly believing that God will do everything for the one who seeks Him in this repentance and obedience, we will be driven to a works-based salvation or utter despair.
We need to see that God is fully trustworthy within our seeking of faith, repentance, and holiness. And that He will never despise a person, however weak, who is seeking these things in Christ. Failing to understand this leads us to fear God in a very wrong place: believing He will condemn the repentant and seeking! When we seek to align with God’s Word, moving forward with submission, obedience, and faith by His power to overcome our sin, then we are rightly responding to the Gospel. It is the devil that tries to blind our eyes to this and brings us into the fear of condemnation in spite of the godly fear we are walking in (Rom 8:1). Trusting God rightly and fearing God rightly are so intertwined.
Let us look again to Rahab: all the people in Jericho feared! But it was only the one who feared and put her trust in God that saved herself and her family. Faith is submission—one that doesn't try to oppose God in fear, but one that submits to God in this fear, and looks for God's mercy and salvation.
We need trust with the fear of God, but we also need the fear of God with our trust of Him. Both of these things must be held. Without this fear, we abuse God’s grace, live self-indulgent lives, permit sin, and ultimately wander towards truly dangerous ends. It is a right fear of God that keeps us from great danger, even after our conversion. It is the contempt of the fear of God that has caused many to wander to their destruction. At the same time we must know that God keeps all who call upon Him, who seek Him, who do their utmost to obey and believe Him. Therefore we must trust God to keep us! And we must also watch and pray. This is the duality of the Christian faith. “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.” (Prov 14:27)
The Lord is the most fearsome being there is! And yet He came to us as a baby. He is incredibly humble, gentle, and kind. We have such reasons to know that if we look to Him we shall be saved, in spite of all our failures, sins, weaknesses, unbelief. He is never against us in His own salvation!—and we need this hope. And within this, let us realize the great sins we walk in if we try to make Jesus only a lamb but not also the great lion, only kind but not also severe (Rom 11:22).
V. Only God Should Be Feared
In looking at God's authority, let us always keep before us that God alone has the right to command man. While man, false religions, the world, and the devil have no right to do this, God most certainly does. We show great error when we think that the Holy God is somehow similar to those who falsely command man in how to live. It is evil for anyone else to try to take this place, but it is holy and right for God to take this place over mankind. God alone is the Master and Maker of mankind.
So often we imagine that God is evil for doing this when He is the only one who is worthy of it (Rev 5:12). Oh, the horrible irony of us thinking God is evil for sitting in judgment over mankind, when in reality it is precisely this that we are evil for doing—the very thing we have tried to steal from God! God alone is Judge, Maker, King, and yet these are the very things we try to steal from God in our pride, doing evil against God and evil against our fellow man. We say God is evil for His judgement, commandments, and rebukes, and yet we have no trouble dealing out judgement, commandments, and rebukes ourselves! And how low and sinful are we compared to the One True God?
Yet the Lord is seated on high. Lord over all creation. He is the Almighty, King of Kings, the Judge of mankind; infinite, all powerful, all knowing, and entirely holy. He is seated above all. Fear is a right response to God, and all of us are to submit to Him as this Lord. This is the right relationship between God and man.
“Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, ‘Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.’” (Revelation 1:12-18)
Christ is the Lamb (John 1:29)! And yet, He is the Lion as well (Rev 5:5). He is our God. His very existence and creation of us places us under His authority. Therefore our God commands us in how to live. He commands us to repent and believe the Gospel. And He is our Judge, judging all we have ever done. This great God is truly fearsome.
It is our failure and our sin in trying to make God nothing more than a puppy dog that has turned the fear of God out of His church. It is great evil to teach such things, contrary to Christ, and against the will of God (Matt 5:19). It endangers us with falling away from Christ, and means our evangelism is incredibly weak—and sometimes even a different Gospel. It removes the very bedrock of God’s authority, this singular right of God alone to command mankind in how to live. Without this bedrock, we are in danger of many false conclusions. We presume we can sin against this God, disobey His commandments, or reject His Son without consequence. In reality, “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31). Therefore Jesus teaches us not to deny such things, but prepare for such a day when we will all face this Eternal Judge: “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-35)
God, in Christ, takes His place of preeminence. He is described clearly as “a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him.” (Psalm 89:7) God sits in the place of giving all judgement, commandments, and having all authority. He gives this place to no other. “I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.” (Isaiah 42:8) It is our response to God in His commands, judgement, and authority that is faith.
“I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you . . . Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father's house, and give me a sure sign . . . and deliver our lives from death.”
Why Our Faith Cannot Be Separated from a Right Fear of God
I. How the Fear of God Is Used Wrongly
II. Rescuing the Right Fear of God
III. How Fearing God Is Integral Faith
IV. Where Fear and Trust Meet
V. Only God Should Be Feared
VI. God Honoured Rahab’s Faith