“The fear of Lord” in the old Testament is in distinct contrast to the trembling fear of the New Testamant, which can be cast out (1 John 4:18). Many have given their own definitions of “the fear of the Lord” in the Old Testament as reverence, etc. Not just anyone can understand the “Fear of the Lord.” Solomon describes how men can understand the Fear of the Lord. After giving several requirements and conditions, he says “Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God” (Pro. 2:5). God gives his own definition of what he means by the “Fear of the Lord”
Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. (Psa. 34:11-14).
This is the Lord’s own definition of “the fear of the Lord.” He states that this fear includes 1) seeing good, 2) not speaking evil or guile, 3) departing from evil, 4) doing good and 5) seeking and pursuing peace. Many in the New Testament time had the Old Testament fear of the Lord. For example, the churches in Judaea and Galilee and Samaria “. . . were “walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 9:31). Cornelius was described as a “just man, and one that feareth God” (Acts 10:22). Paul addressed his audience saying: “Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience” (Acts 13:16). This fear, “The fear of the Lord,” should never be cast out by perfect love or anything else.
In contrast to the fear in Psalms 34 is the fear that “hath torment” (1 John 4:18). “There is no fear (which has torment) in love, for perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). This fear needs to be cast out. However it can not rightly be cast our prematurely. We are commanded to have fear throughout the time of our exile (1 Pet. 1:17). We must obey the command to fear God until we grow to the perfect love which will cast that fear out (1 John 4:18).
Some see where this pathway is leading and counter by saying, “Though we try to obey all the commands of God, and thus do not need to fear His wrath, the scriptures teach that as long as we are on earth, we will always sin.”
Is this true? Let us pursue this thought.