The fear of God should be understood as a holy reverence that motivates us to live a righteous life. Every believer will someday appear before the judgment seat of Christ. This is not a judgment for sins committed, for we have already been forgiven. Jesus, “canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile toward us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross (Co. 2:14). For believers in Christ, where we spend eternity has already been decided, but how we spend eternity is still to be judged according to our faithfulness. We have only one physical life and it will soon be past; only what has been done for Christ will last.
According to the apostle Paul, we will all be held accountable before God, and that is a powerful motivating force. “Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Cor. 5:9-11). Knowing we will be held accountable should motivate us to please God and live a righteous life. It is a sobering reality that we will all stand before God one day and give an account for every deed done and every word spoken. How we live on earth determines our rewards in heaven.
One day I received a call from the principal of my son’s high school. My son had been caught off campus, but it was discovered later that he had a pass. The principal only called to tell me that everything was okay, in case I had heard otherwise. He said, “I did discover, however, who I need to call in the future should there be a real problem. When I asked your son who I should call, he said, ‘Don’t call Dad.’” Karl didn’t fear punishment from me. He didn’t want to look bad in his father’s eyes. If he did something wrong, he didn’t want me to know, because he didn’t want me to think any less of him. That is how I fear the Lord, and I live with the understanding that “Dad” already knows. Knowing the fear of the Lord I try to live my life pleasing God and long to hear Him say; “Well done good and faithful servant.”
For Spanish, see www.ficmm.org/blog