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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Fear of God

On rooting out sin at the level of our desires, Ed Welch says...
As the Holy Spirit exposes these critical issues about the person, the Spirit also reveals more of the knowledge of God. The theme of God's love continues, but now we are reminded that it is a holy love. By holy we mean that it is unparalleled in human experience. There is nothing like it. It is beyond comprehension, and it is unsurpassed. It is distinct or separate from our own. As a result, it leaves witnesses in awe. This is the beginning of the fear of the Lord. When we witness His forgiveness, we learn the fear of the Lord (Psalm 130:4). When the disciples saw His power over the wind and the waves, "they were terrified" and grew in the fear of the Lord (Mark 4:41). When Isaiah was taken into the throne room, he was so overwhelmed by the holiness of God that he cried out, "I am ruined" (Isaiah 6:5). Isaiah's knowledge of God's holy majesty and holy forgiveness established him in the fear of the Lord for the rest of his ministry as a prophet. Indeed, the fear of the Lord is both the beginning of wise living and its goal.

One of the great blessings of the fear of the Lord is that it can teach us to hate sin (Proverbs 8:13). The knowledge of the holy can mobilize. It can take the drudgery out of daily self-control. It can make us warriors against the tendencies of our sinful nature. This aggressive stance toward sin is especially critical since our problem is that we like it. It has the power of our affections. If we don't root out these affections, we are guaranteed that temptation will always be nearly overpowering. The fear of the Lord can keep us battle-ready. With the heavenly throne in sight, we do battle with the "sin that so easily entangles" (Hebrews 12:1).
Ed Welch, Journal of Biblical Counseling, vol 13:3, 1995. pages 28-9.


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