Scared of God

Hello I just watched a message from Francis Chan and he talked about the severity of God and how we need to fear God as in actually being scared of Him. I really became a Christian when my eyes were Opened to Gods wrath against my sin and I repented, so I’m not unfond of this messenge but Francis seems to be saying, with the Bible as his ground for his opinion, that we need to be scared of God. But 1John talks about how perfect love casts out fear and I trust in Jesus so I feel like I shouldn’t be scared of God (and to be completely honest I really don’t want to live in fear and scared of God) this kind of thinking makes being joysfull seem so inappropriate and in a since ends my joy. all this to ask how I should live in light of this, am I wrong do I really need to be scared of God, or not so much?

Here is the video I was referring to.


@Daniel.S Sorry this has you upset brother - no need to be afraid of God’s judgment if you are His child :slight_smile: In the definition at the bottom of this thread, Tim Keller points out that the fear of God in the Bible is often associated with joy. It is a much more complex term than the word fear communicates in English and most certainly does not refer to servile fear.

I am not sure what Francis is trying to communicate with his fear series. If I had to guess, I think he is responding to the tendency of modern culture to ignore the seriousness of sin and tell people they can go on sinning without expecting judgment. If Francis is reacting against this complacency, his message may come across as particularly harsh from where you and I are sitting as people truly seeking to honor Christ.

C. S. Lewis points out that a person could be living in sin and cease to fear God for the wrong reasons—ignorance for example. We should fear God’s judgment if we are living in rebellion against Him, but we do not need to fear God if we are His children and seeking to honor Him.

My favorite example from the Bible of what I consider fearing God is in Luke 5 when Jesus’ real identity becomes obvious to Peter. Peter falls at Jesus’ feet in recognition of his own unworthiness, but immediately Jesus calms Peter’s fear and invites him to draw near. I think this is always how the fear of God works. When we truly come to God recognizing our own need of Him and our own brokenness, He always responds with embrace. Just like the prodigal son.

Christ give you peace brother :wink:

Luke 5:5-11 - Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Thoughts from C. S. Lewis

Perfect love, we know, casteth out fear [1 John 4:18]. But so do several other things — ignorance, alcohol, passion, presumption, and stupidity.

It is very desirable that we should all advance to that perfection of love in which we shall fear no longer; but it is very undesirable, until we have reached that stage, that we should allow any inferior agent to cast out our fear. (The World’s Last Night in C. S. Lewis: Essay Collection and Other Short Pieces , 51)

“Then Hwin, though shaking all over, gave a strange little neigh and trotted across to the Lion.

“Please,” she said, "you’re so beautiful. You may eat me if you like. I’d sooner be eaten by you than fed by anyone else.”

C. S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

Explanation from Tim Keller

Here is an explanation of fearing God from Tim Keller that you may find helpful.

When we go to the Old Testament, where the term ‘the fear of the Lord’ is very common, we come upon some very puzzling usages. Often the fear of the Lord is linked with great joy. Proverbs 28:14 tells us that ‘Happy is the one who feareth always.’ How can someone who is constantly in fear be filled with happiness? Perhaps most surprising is Psalm 130:4, where the Psalmist says, ‘Forgiveness comes from you – therefore you are feared.’ Forgiveness and grace increase the fear of the Lord. Other passages tell us that we can be instructed and grow in the fear of the Lord (2 Chronicles 26:5; Psalm 34:11), that it is characterized by praise, wonder, and delight (Psalm 40:3; Isaiah 11:3). How can that be? One commentator on Psalm 130 puts it like this: “Servile fear [being scared] would have been diminished, not increased, by forgiveness…The true sense of the ‘fear of the Lord’ in the Old Testament [then]…implies relationship.”

Obviously, to be in the fear of the Lord is not to be scared of the Lord, even though the Hebrew word has overtones of respect and awe. ‘Fear’ in the Bible means to be overwhelmed, to be controlled by something. To fear the Lord is to be overwhelmed with wonder before the greatness of God and his love. It means that, because of his bright holiness and magnificent love, you find him ‘fearfully beautiful.’ That is why the more we experience God’s grace and forgiveness, the more we experience a trembling awe and wonder before the greatness of all that he is and has done for us. Fearing him means bowing before him out of amazement at his glory and beauty. Paul speaks of the love of Christ ‘constraining’ us (2 Corinthians 5:14). What is it that most motivates and moves you? Is it the desire for success? The pursuit of some achievement? The need to prove yourself to your parents? The need for respect from your peers? Are you largely driven by anger against someone or some people who have wronged you? Paul says that if any of these things is a greater controlling influence on you than the reality of God’s love for you, you will not be in a position to serve others unselfishly. Only out of the fear of the Lord Jesus will we be liberated to serve one another.


Thank you so much for the very thoughtful answer, so the way a child of God fears God is out of recognition for who God is and has nothing to do with punishment. Thank you brother please do pray for me I don’t think my heart is in the right place I really appreciate it


Praying for you brother - may the Lord Jesus continue to change you from the inside out and give you confidence in His love and strength in your heart and life :slight_smile:

2 Cor 5:17 - For if a man belongs to Christ, he is a new person. The old life is gone. New life has begun.


I am very grateful thank you so much


I too saw that video by Francis and I think it is correct to fear God as in to really fear God - as your starting position. The unbeliever has the wrath of God in him. God is perfect and Holy we in ourselves are impure. The one without faith cannot approach Him without being destroyed. Tim Mackie from the Bible project used the analogy of the sun, it gives light and warmth but if we get too close we burn up. We need the fear for our own protection. With that fear we can then recognise what Jesus has done through His sacrifice on the cross. He has made atonement for those who come to Him in humility and faith. By His stripes we are healed. It’s a bit like wearing a space suit. You can now approach God not because of who you are but because you are clothed with Jesus’ righteousness. Knowing that the right response is to be joyful and thank God for sending His son for you and to continue in Him.


Thank you so much that was really helpful, and yes this made me realize how amazing the cross truly is

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