People naturally fears those people, influences, objects and events that they see as threatening, as being able to control, overpower or destroy them (Num 14:9; Ps 2:11; Luke 21:26; Heb 2:15; 10:27). In some cases this may be a cowardly fear (Prov 29:25; Gal 2:12), but in others a very healthy fear, amounting to respect or reverence (Gen 20:11; Lev 26:2; Rom 3:18; 1 Peter 2:18). In this latter sense people are to fear those who have authority over them (Lev 19:3; Prov 24:21; Rom 13:3,7; Eph 6:5), and particularly to fear God (Ps 34:11; Isa 8:13-15; Acts 9:31; 1 Peter 2:17). Sinners have good reason to fear God; because God’s punishment will one day fall upon them (Micah 7:16-17; Matt 10:28). Believers also fear God, but theirs is a different sort of fear. Their fear of God is mixed with love for him (Deut 6:2,5; 1 Peter 1:8; 3:15). If believers obey God solely because they fear his punishment, such obedience displays an immature love. They should obey God because they love him (Deut 10:12; Rom 8:15; 1 John 4:17-18; 5:3). Nevertheless, believers’ love for God is not a substitute for reverence, nor does it excuse them from judgment. God still requires obedience and holiness. He is the almighty judge as well as the loving Father. Therefore, believers must have a healthy fear of him as well as a warm love for him (2 Cor 7:1; 1 Peter 1:16-17). Such an attitude guarantees God’s help in living a life that pleases him and benefits the believer personally (Ps 147:11; Prov 1:7; 8:13; 9:10; 10:27; 14:26; Phil 2:12-13). It also gives confidence not to fear the dangers and uncertainties of life (Ps 46:2; 112:1,7; Luke 12:4-5; 1 Peter 3:14-15).

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