Friday, May 29, 2009

Faith In The Gospel Begets Fear Of God

By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household.
Hebrews 11:7 (emphasis added)
Servile fear is a fear that without any temperament of hope and comfort, and so it weakens the certainty of faith, rather than the security of the flesh. But now the gospel-fear is mixed with hope and joy: Psalm 2:10, 'Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.' Because our affections are apt to degenerate, therefore God would have this mixture. Hope is apt to degenerate to presumptuous boldness, and joy to grow into fond boasting; and therefore God hath required that we should allay the excess of one affection by the mixture of another, that so the spirit may be kept aweful, but not servile; and therefore in the children of God there is always such a mixture; their fear ends in reverence and caution, but not in torment; for it is overmastered by the apprehensions of God's love: 1 John 4:18, 'There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear torment; he that feareth is not made perfect in love.' The fear of the godly makes them more circumspect, but not a jot less comfortable; the more they fear, the more blessed, the more comfortabl--'Blessed is he that feareth always.' They are more wary and cautious in their walking with God, more serious in their special converses wand conferences with God. But now the issue of slavish fear is not love but torment; it is full of discomfort and dejection, and makes us anxious rather than cautious; and therefore it is good to temperate your fear, that you maby be comfortable in the use of holy duties, and your walking with God.

Out of all you see that there is a godly fear, which is the fruit of faith. There is a fear of reverence, proper to heaven; a fear in the church, that is a fear of caution; and a fear in hell, and that is despair, or a fearful looking for of the fiery indignation of the Lord.

--Thomas Manton, Works of Thomas Manton, Volume 14, p.200-201.
There is a fear that the gospel aims to cast out....
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins...There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
1 John 4:10, 18
And at the very same time a fear that it aims to create...
If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, [so] that you may be feared.
Psalm 130: 3,4 (emphasis added)
God's design in the gospel isn't to remove our fear of Him. His design is to transform it. Therefore...
Since we have these [gospel] promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
2 Corinthians 7:1 (emphasis added)

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