Friday, March 27, 2009

Spurgeon, Welch, Adams & Bridges speak about "the fear of the LORD"

You'll remember that on Monday, I began my definition of "the fear of the LORD" like this:

To fear the LORD is to submit to him as the one true God, with trust, love, worship, honour, service and obedience..
You might be wondering what all this has got to do with "fear", and fair enough. I'll try to answer that question soon.

In the meantime, I thought you might like to know that I'm not alone in defining "the fear of the LORD" like this. Here are some great theologians who say things along the same lines.

Dr. Jay Adams defines the fear of God as “loving and respectful obedience toward Him” (cited by Elyse Fitzpatrick in Overcoming Fear, Worry and Anxiety p. 145).

Charles Spurgeon says, in his sermon Godly fear and its godly consequences,

What is this fear of the Lord? The expression is used in Scripture for all true godliness. It is constantly the short way of expressing real faith, hope, love, holiness of living, and every grace which makes up true godliness.
Dr. Ed Welch, in his very helpful book When People are Big and God is Small, writes

This fear of the Lord means reverent submission that leads to obedience, and it is interchangeable with 'worship', 'rely on', 'trust', and 'hope in' (p. 19).
Like Spurgeon, he goes on to say lots about the attitude of "fear" - but we'll leave that until next week!

And Jerry Bridges, in a fantastic interview with Peter Hastie about The Fear of God which didn't quite make it into The Briefing, says:

Deuteronomy 10:12 links fear, love and obedience together. Moses says to the Israelites: “What does the Lord ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, and to serve the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul?” He brings those three terms—to fear God, to love Him and to serve Him all together in the one passage. And the way the terms are used, it's almost as though they are interchangeable expressions.
Jerry Bridges, by the way, wrote a whole wonderful book called The Joy of Fearing God. It's well worth reading if you want to know about "the fear of the LORD", or if you simply want a bigger, more awe-inspiring view of God.

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