“I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.” Jeremiah 32:40
(1) Godly fear is a gift
God is speaking here about the new covenant, the relationship all of God’s people have with Him through faith in Jesus Christ. Notice that in this covenant, God is committed to doing us good.
He says that He will never turn away from us. But then He says, “I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.”
(2) Godly fear is the fruit of forgiveness
If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared (Psa. 130:3-4).
You might expect this verse to say, “with you there is forgiveness, that you may be loved.” After all, the one who is forgiven much, loves much. But this verse says something else. There is a fear that forgiveness brings.
When you know that the forgiveness for your sins came at the cost of all that Jesus endured on the cross, that will cause you to fear sinning again. Forgiveness brings you into the fear of the Lord: How could I sin against love like this?
The fear of the Lord is a fear that only those who are forgiven can know. It is a fear born of a loving relationship that was bought at an infinite cost. Godly fear is the fruit of forgiveness. This is confirmed by the fact that the wicked have no fear of God.
When Paul describes the state of those who are far from God, he sums it up by saying, “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:18). God puts into the hearts of His people a fear born of love. It is birthed at the cross where we see what it took for us to be forgiven.
Is repentance a regular part of your Christian life? Or have you lost sight of being forgiven by God and how much that cost?