Why is it that, today, the masses are so utterly unconcerned about spiritual and eternal things, and that they are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God? Why is it that even on the battlefields multitudes were so indifferent to their soul’s welfare? Why is it that defiance of heaven is becoming more open, more blatant, more daring? The answer is, because “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18). Again, why is it that the authority of the Scriptures has been lowered so sadly of late? Why is it that even among those who profess to be the Lord ‘s people there is so little real subjection to His Word, and that its precepts are so lightly esteemed and so readily set aside? What needs to be stressed today is that God is a God to be feared. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7). Happy is the soul that has been awed by a view of God’s majesty, that has had a vision of God’s awful greatness, His ineffable holiness, His perfect righteousness, His irresistible power, His sovereign grace. Does someone say, “But it is only the unsaved, those outside of Christ, who need to fear God”? Then the sufficient answer is that the saved, those who are in Christ, are admonished to work out their own salvation with “fear and trembling.” Time was, when it was the general custom to speak of a believer as a “God-fearing man”. As it is written, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him” (Psalm 103:13)
When we speak of godly fear, of course, we do not mean a servile fear, such as prevails among the heathen in connection with their gods. No, we mean that spirit which Jehovah is pledged to bless, that spirit to which the prophet referred when he said, “To this man will I (the Lord) look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My Word” (Isaiah 66:2). It was this the apostle had in view when he wrote (under inspiration), “Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1Peter 2:17).