The Scriptures speak of the Christian being able to draw near to God with confidence. Based on the sound foundation of the Lord’s totally substantial sacrifice, the Christian can “have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place” (Hebrews 10:19). In his first letter, John says that the Christian can be confident before God “if our hearts to do condemn us” (Hebrews 3:21). And “if love is made complete in us so that, in this world, we are like him” we can be confident in the day of judgement (Hebrews 4:17). Note the conditionality of he confidence we may have. We may be confident if we are completely submissive to the grace of God, to obeying His commands and to loving as He loves.
It is true that “The Lord will judge His people” (Hebrews 10:30). It is true that “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). It is true that if a person “deliberately keeps on sinning after receiving the knowledge of truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgement and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God” (Hebrews 10:26-27). It is true that God is both “kind and stern,” exercising “sternness to those who fall” and “kindness to you, provided that you continue in His kindness” (Romans 11:22). [Note the condition]. Thus, heeding the warning “be on your guard so that you may not… fall from your secure position” (2 Peter 3:17) is critical.
It is the Christian’s personal responsibility “to present himself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed…” (2 Timothy 2:15). Reverence is the basis for the Christian’s behavior. Christians are to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). God is to be worshipped “acceptably with reverence and awe” (because He is a “consuming fire”) (Hebrews 12:28-29). Thus, it is every Christian’s concern that he “always obey” and “continue to work out (his) salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
It is valid that the Christian practice fear of God. Not the kind of fear that compels an effort to hide from Him. Or the kind that separates from Him. But rather that which compels us to seek Him. That which seeks a disciplined walk in His way. A fear that so loves Him that we would not want to grieve Him, disappoint Him, nor wound His heart. That kind which keeps one from “crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace” (Hebrews 6:6).
Frank J. Daniels, pulpit minister and teacher