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Fear

Care should be taken to distinguish between two different uses of this word. The “fear of the Lord” is frequently spoken of as part of man’s duty (Ps. 111:10; Eccl. 12:13; Isa. 11:2–3; Luke 1:50); it is also described as “godly fear” (Heb. 12:28). In such passages fear is equivalent to reverence, awe, worship, and is therefore an essential part of the attitude of mind in which we ought to stand toward the All-holy God. On the other hand fear is spoken of as something unworthy of a child of God, something that “perfect love casteth out” (1 Jn. 4:18). The first effect of Adam’s sin was that he was afraid (Gen. 3:10). Sin destroys that feeling of confidence God’s child should feel in a loving Father and produces instead a feeling of shame and guilt. Ever since the Fall God has been teaching men not to fear, but with penitence to ask forgiveness in full confidence of receiving it.