To listen to Nancy’s answer recorded from the Moody radio interview click here!
If the person asking this question is not a follower of Christ, the answer to his question is different than that of a Christian.
Without Christ as our Savior, the thought of being in the presence of a God who is all powerful, holy and the one who judges all people would indeed be terrifying. Eternal death in the absence of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control is what that looks like without a relationship with Christ. That place is Hell with no hope of relief from constant and intense torment.
Just reading this sends a bit of terror through me. and motivates me to share the good news all the more.
The solution to this conflict is to trust Christ by acknowledging Him as your Lord and Savior and choosing to obey Him in all areas of our lives.
If the person asking this question is a follower of Christ, the word “fearing God” takes on a whole other meaning. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” Proverbs 1:7.
Fear in this use is being in absolute awe of our God. His beauty, love, grace, power, holiness, joy, sovereignty, faithfulness, trustworthiness and wisdom is more that we can handle.
Isaiah 6:1,6 “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple…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!”
Hebrews 12:28-29 is a good description of this: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ’God is a consuming fire.’”
The fear of God for the believer also comes with the full understanding of how much God hates sin. He hates anything that gets in our way of living out our lives in accordance to the life God planned for us before the beginning of time. When we live out a life that is contrary to what God’s best is for us, it is called sin and there are consequences for the believer that we do not get to choose. This is when we need to remember that He is always willing and ready for us to confess and repent, but again, the thought of the consequences that we will have to face can be extremely painful on many levels.
In light of God’s judging of our sin, it is also important to remember that God is always loving and just and would never do anything to us that would harm us for harms sake. His desire is to restore us, and teach us from our mistakes so that we can better live our lives reflecting Christ.
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?…You shall fear the Lord your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen“ (Deuteronomy 10:12,13,20,21).