Without the fear of the Lord, we cannot obtain salvation (Psalms 85:9).
The Apostle Paul said to serve God acceptably is done with the fear of the Lord (Hebrews 12:28).
Tertullian, an Early Church Father, made a very powerful statement: that without the fear of God, there is no presence of God and no truth.
“[The heretics] say that God is not to be feared. So everything is free to them and unrestrained. But where is God not feared, except where he is not present? Where God is not present, there is no truth either; and where there is no truth, discipline like theirs is natural. But where God is present, there is the fear of God,. . . a united church, and all things godly.” (1)
Early Church Father, Origen, said the fear of the Lord would be one of the last things to be fulfilled in the earth, and through this fear, the Lord would birth the Spirit of salvation.
“Creation (since they are sons of God) is awaiting the fulfillment of these things, and “all creation is groaning and in travail together” (Rom 8:22) until, conceiving in the womb from the fear of the Lord, they bring forth the “Spirit of salvation” (cf. Isa 26:18 LXX). Then will the “generation” of which Christ spoke pass away, and the “heaven” as we have explained it, and the “earth” as we have interpreted it.” (2)
See how important, literally leading us to salvation, is for us to have a fear of God, especially given the time we are in right now. Now, let us briefly explore how we obtain the fear of the Lord.
Scripture reveals that the fear of the Lord comes through the revelation of God’s Word, and more specifically, obedience to His commandments, or His law.
Proverbs 2:1-5 (AMPC)
1 “MY SON, if you will receive my words and treasure up my commandments within you,
2 Making your ear attentive to skillful and godly Wisdom and inclining and directing your heart and mind to understanding [applying all your powers to the quest for it];
3 Yes, if you cry out for insight and raise your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek [Wisdom] as for silver and search for skillful and godly Wisdom as for hidden treasures,
5 Then you will understand the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of [our omniscient] God.” [Pro 1:7]
The Early Church believed this wholeheartedly, as stated by the Shepherd of Hermas:
“Fear the Lord and keep his commandments,” he said. So, by keeping God’s commandments you will be powerful in every action, and your action will be beyond criticism. Fear the Lord, then, and you will do everything well; this is the fear you must have to be saved.” (3)
We cannot have the right understanding of God’s law without the teaching from a true messenger (angel, Apostle, High Priest) of God, which ultimately means we can’t obtain the fear of the Lord without His true messengers and Apostles.
Let me explain…
The Law was given to Moses, the High Priest over the Israelites. Moses was instructed by God to teach the Israelites the Spirit of the Law written by the hand of God (Exodus 31:18, 32:16); but Scripture tells us the Israelites didn’t want to give up their idols, resulting in them being given the veiled Commandments/Law after their own hearts (Exodus 34:1).
In the New Testament, it is written that Jesus and His disciples were teaching the Law. In Jesus’ own words He said that He did not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). To “fulfill” literally means to “fully preach” (4). Jesus was teaching His disciples how to walk out the Law in the Spirit, not in the dead letter.
Scripture shows us that Paul followed and taught the Law:
Romans 7:12 (NKJV), “Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.”
2 Corinthians 6:14 (NKJV), “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”
Throughout the Old Testament, the priesthood taught God’s Law and throughout the New Testament, it was the mandate of Jesus and His disciples to teach the Law (correctly).
We can see a direct connection with the fear of God and the Law by looking deeper into the actual words themselves. The word for “fear” in Hebrew is yare. This word yare comes from the root Yod, Resh meaning: to “throw fear,” the “throwing of an arrow”. (5) The word for “law” in Hebrew is Torah (6), which comes from the same root as the word yare.
Through the Hebrew understanding of the Word of God, we can see that it’s through the Torah (Law) that the fear of the Lord is established. Without the true knowledge of His Commandments, we can’t rightly walk in the fear of the Lord, and there can be no salvation as we first established.
There is much more to this study that can not be contained into one article. I pray that through this brief study we can all grasp the understanding of the importance of the fear of the Lord, and the absolute necessity of His holy messengers to bring us the right understanding of the Commandments. Let it be, Amen!
(1) Tertullian, Against Heretics, Vol 3 Ch XLIII
(2) Origen, Spirit & Fire
(3) Shepherd of Hermas, Commandment Seventh
(4) Strong’s Dictionary G4137
(5) Strong’s Dictionary H3374
(6) Strong’s Dictionary H8451
All scripture references from The Holy Bible: New King James Version: NKJV.
Thomas Nelson, 2010. (unless otherwise stated)