You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48
Doesn’t this make you tremble, even a little? I’m not perfect. I know that and I can’t do it. I can’t be perfect even when I try.
But Angela, there is forgiveness…Jesus lived the perfect life and died the death you deserved and so there is not fear….
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 4:18
The fear John is referring to is the fear of not being loved, not being accepted, being turned away. And since Jesus already paid the penalty for our sin the fear of punishment is abolished, the fear being turned away ought to dissolve in the presence of the cross.
But there is a healthy fear of God. The kind C.S. Lewis mentions in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. In this book the character Alsan is a huge lion who can speak and he represents Jesus. When asking about Aslan the children in the story ask Mr. Beaver if Alsan is safe.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
When Isaiah saw a vision of heaven’s throne room he cried out:
And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Isaiah 6:5 ESV
When people see God they don’t give Him a fist bump and ask Him if Adam and Eve had belly buttons. No, they fall down to their knees in awe and fear. This fear frees them, it frees us.
It frees us to admit we cannot understand all that God is doing, but we can trust Him. He rightfully judges sin, we rightfully deserve that punishment, but through His amazing grace Jesus took that punishment for those who accept His gift of salvation. It means that we understand God is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, we are but a speck, a breath and wonder of wonders He loves us!
But if we don’t fear God we act as if He isn’t powerful or holy. We lose our security because how could a God reduced to our best bud be powerful enough to security eternity for us? So we once again become shackled to working to keep or obtain our salvation.
Father far too often I am comfortable with calling You my Savior, my Friend, but I forget to revere and fear You as my God. Help me never to forget that the fear of You is the beginning of wisdom. May I rest secure in You so that I may freely love You by gratefully serving You with my life. Amen.