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A Question about Fear

We got this request for clarification:

Hi I just read your article on the wrath of god and at the end you say that those who have been defiled would be saved with fear, pulled from the fire at the last moment and shown mercy. I was just wondering if you could go into a little more detail of what you mean here because I was under the impression that god did not use fear to save people.

Please write me back.

Thank you.

Paul replied:

Hi Mike,

You ask about the following portion at the end of The Wrath of God:

“For those who have ears to hear, repent, quickly. The time is at hand. For many it’s too late; that invisible fine line has been crossed when they were unaware. When God called, they wouldn’t answer, and now He won’t answer when they call in their calamity. Others who are defiled will be saved with fear, pulled out of the fire and shown mercy at the last moment.

‘I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion’ (Romans 9:15 MKJV).”

Specifically, you ask us to go into more detail about the defiled who are saved by fear, because you’ve been “under the impression that god did not use fear to save people.”
No, God doesn’t save people by fear of death or consequences alone, whether real or imagined (never-ending torment), but He does save them by the fear of Him:

“Now therefore let the fear of the LORD be on you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of bribes” (2 Chronicles 19:7 HNV).

“He charged them, saying, ‘Thus shall you do in the fear of the LORD, faithfully, and with a perfect heart’” (2 Chronicles 19:9 HNV).

“And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom! And to depart from evil is understanding!’” (Job 28:28 MKJV)

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!” (Psalms 111:10 ESV)

Proverbs 1:29-32 ESV
(29) Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD,
(30) would have none of My counsel and despised all My reproof,
(31) therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices.
(32) For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them.

“If you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:3-5 ESV).

“The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death” (Proverbs 14:27 KJV).

“By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil” (Proverbs 16:6 KJV).

“The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm” (Proverbs 19:23 ESV).

So wouldn’t you say that a proper fear of God is necessary for salvation? Didn’t Jesus say the same thing, even with words that sounded threatening?

“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you of Whom you shall fear: Fear Him Who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yea, I say to you, fear Him” (Luke 12:4-5 MKJV).

Not that it should be hell that is feared, but Him.

Finally, the wording from the paper on our site hearkens to what Jude wrote:

“But save others with fear, snatching them out of the fire; hating even the garment having been stained from the flesh” (Jude 1:23 MKJV).

There’s nothing wrong at all with using fear to save some, the right kind that reverences God through the hearing of faith. We warn everyone that God is not to be trifled with; He is indeed to be feared. Those who believe take heed and are saved:

Malachi 3:16-18 HNV
(16) Then those who feared the LORD spoke one with another; and the LORD listened, and heard, and a book of memory was written before Him, for those who feared the LORD, and who honored His Name.
(17) They shall be Mine, says the LORD of Armies, My Own possession in the day that I make, and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son who serves him.
(18) Then you shall return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him who serves God and him who doesn’t serve Him.

How about you, Mike? Do you have a healthy fear of God? I believe if you properly feared Him, you wouldn’t lump Him in with the idols of men, writing of Him as a lowercase “god.” Lack of reverence = lack of godly fear.

Paul Cohen

– April 13, 2014

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