Is fear an obsolete concept? Something we should just learn to reject? Or can it actually be a good thing? What is good fear and what is bad fear? What is holy fear? What is the proper place of fear in the life of a Christian, and what does it look like? What are we to think when the Bible tells us, over and over, not to fearâ€”but then commands us, over and over, to fear God? The Bible says that â€śthe fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdomâ€ť (Proverbs 9:10), yet an honest assessment of modern evangelicalism would suggest that we do not today give the fear of God nearly that level of respect. Many Christians seem to assume that the gospel of grace trumps the fear of the Lord, and that wisdom now has some source other than godly fear. Yet only the God of the gospel is truly worthy of our reverential fear. Encouraging a group of Christians, the apostle Peter wrote: â€śconduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exileâ€ť (1 Peter 1:17). Life is an â€śexile,â€ť a short passing through on the way to our true home. And apparently we are to live this exile in godly fear. But what does that mean? And what does that not mean? The Bible offers us a standard for the pursuit of answers, an explicitly active standard: My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:1-6) The Two Fears will prepare you to embrace every active verb in this passage from Proverbsâ€”that you might receive, treasure, listen to, incline your heart, call out for insight, raise your voice, seek and search with all your might for holy reverence and the fear of the Lord. As you do, the promise could not be more clear: then you will understand. Then you will fear. Then you will find.
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