The New Testament tension between the fear and love of God; 1 Corinthians 5 and 1 John 3-4

The picture of the fear of God in Psalms and Proverbs is one of a heart attitude of awe, reverence and trembling that prepares us to hear, receive and practice His precepts…the beginning of wisdom according to Proverbs 1.  As our relationship with God has deepened in light of Christ’s ministry to and in us compared to that of the Old Testament saints, believers are once for all forgiven through His mercy and grace.  This is God’s love to us resulting in reconciliation and peace with Him.  A new relationship and spiritual life is so profoundly different that the God of the universe in the person of Chirst calls us “brethren” (Hebrews 2:10).  Later in Hebrews he says, “let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace” (4:15).  Enter “new testament” fear. This is fear that Paul describes when pondering the bema seat judgement in 1 Cor 5. This is also the fear that is set aside within a Spirit filled abiding relationship with God in 1 John 4. Respect and honor yes, but within the new covenant God’s perfect love “casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).

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