The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge….
A truth fully taught in the Scriptures and verified in personal experience by countless numbers of holy men and women throughout the centuries might be condensed thus into a religious axiom:
“No one can know the true grace of God who has not first known the fear of God!”
The first announcement of God’s redemptive intention toward mankind was made to a man and a woman hiding in mortal fear from the presence of the Lord.
The Law of God was given to a man trembling in terror amid fire and smoke, quaking at the voice of thunder and sound of the divine trumpet.
Even the famous annunciation, “On earth peace, goodwill toward men,” was given to shepherds who were “sore afraid” by reason of the sudden overwhelming presence of the heavenly host.
The presence of the divine always brought fear to the hearts of sinful men, a terror having no relation to mere fear of bodily harm.
I do not believe that any lasting good can come from religious activities that do not root in this quality of creature-fear. The animal in us is very strong and altogether self-confident. Until it has been defeated God will not show Himself to the eyes of our faith.
It is sad but true that the love of God affects a carnal heart not at all; or if at all, then adversely, for the knowledge that God loves us may simply confirm us in our self-righteousness!