Tuesday, January 27, 2009

1 Peter 1:17-21 "Reverent Fear"

Read 1 Peter 1:17-21.

"...live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear." NIV

What an interesting imagery here in these few words. Because we are of the redeemed and no longer of this world, but citizens of heaven, we are strangers in this world. In other words, we are on temporary assignment in this time and place with an emphasis on the temporary. So we have a lot of work to do in a very short amount of time. And to do it effectively and wisely, our lives must be purified by the Spirit of Jesus Christ and our minds ready for action.

But how do I live in reverent fear? This is not the fear that a scary movie invokes. It's not the fear of something bad happening such as a car accident or a loved one dying. Those kinds of fears are not of God. That is the enemy tempting us to live in a way that God did not design. That type of fear is the opposite of trusting God.

The original word for "fear" is phobos which means
fear, dread, terror
that which strikes terror
reverence for one's husband

That is why the later translations added "reverent" before the word, fear. Reverent meaning submissive; humble; respectful. A respectful fear of the almighty, omniscient, omnipotent power that you are addressing and working for. That is Who you serve and Who lives within you. Therefore, do not set your mind on the things of this world, but as a stranger living in it, set your mind on God and His work for He has the power to save or to destroy and will judge what you have done with your time here.

The English Standard Version says:
"And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, "

The scattered believers were going to be judged by God according to their work, and since their freedom and future were bought at such a high price, the Father's expectations are high. We need to live in respect and yes, fear, of the wrath that we have been pardoned from. We can never forget that it is the Almighty Creator of the Universe that we serve and we must diligently pursue the things that God would have us pursue. We must do the work that He would have us do. If we lose our respectfulness for the power of the Almighty, we not only are toying with the wrath of the Almighty, but we are also missing out on tapping into the power. He is our source and sufficiency to do anything. Without Him, we become no longer strangers, but owners of this world. And I for one want to just visit for a while. I've been promised an upgrade.

Further Thoughts:
  1. Do a word study on fear. What other Scripture do you find concerning it?
  2. Do you live in fear? Of what? Why? What does Scripture say about living in fear of events or people?
  3. In what ways did the Hebrew children lack reverent fear of the Almighty? What did that cost them?
  4. Does your fear of God paralyze you or lead you to respect, honor, and trust His power? If it's the former, why? What hold does the enemy have on you to keep you stuck in that wasteland? Claim victory over a worldly fear and embrace a reverent fear of the Lord.
  5. Look up passages on "strangers and aliens." I was amazed at how many times we are called that in the Word.

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