My God is many things He is Merciful, He is Righteous, He is Love and also He is a consuming fire(Heb 12:29) that will take vengeance on this world (2nd Thess 1:8). Is this some type of contradiction in the Bible, can God be all of these things, can God be a God of Love and a God of vengeance? Yes he can and He is all of these things. The Bible does tell us in Luke 12:5 to fear God, but in 1 John it says “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear:..” Is this a contradiction? Do we fear God or not? Let’s look at the Bible (King James) for the answer.
The Lord God has spoken a lot about fear in the Bible and is specific on who and what we should fear. Lets read Luke 12:5 in its entirety “But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” and again in Matthew 10:28 “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Man may kill our body, but man cannot kill our soul, so we are not to fear Men, but rather God. Remember King David how he ran not walked RAN towards Goliath? David trusted and believed that God would deliver him from his enemies. In Proverbs 29:25 it reads “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.”
Ok so now we know that we are not to fear men, but what about God, do we fear Him? Again let’s turn our eyes to His word. Deut 6:2 “That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee…” Ps 89:7 “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.” Ecc 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Heb 10:31 “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” 1st Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” Heb 12:28 “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:”(Note: The NIV removes “godly fear” with awe which is NOT the same) These are just a few of the many times in the Bible where God tells us that we must fear him.
So now we have verses telling us not to fear men and verses telling us to fear God, do we discount the many verses about fearing God because 1 John says “There is no fear in Love..” Do we discount John and what he wrote? NO. John is telling us that if we have perfect love in Christ, God will cast out any and all fears of this world whether it be men or dying or whatever you are fearful of. John is not contradicting the word of God he is explaining who are God is and how we are to be.
So are we to fear God? Yes! We are to fear God in all His glory and power. Are we to fear anything else? No. Romans 8:31 “…If God be for us, who can be against us?” I fear my Lord God with godly fear….