Ephesians 4:7-16; Wisdom requires fear of the Lord, part 3.

Class Outline:

Tuesday July 20, 2021


Wisdom is not impersonal. It is an attribute of God that can only be found through the fear of the Lord which will push a person to live by it and so discover it.


The fear of the Lord is a healthy respect for God’s definition of good and evil, knowing that the law comes from Him alone, and a healthy respect for the consequences of neglecting it. Fear of the Lord is not being afraid of Him but being fearful of not pleasing Him out of love for Him. It is fear of not putting Him in the proper place in your heart, the throne of all authority that only He sits upon. Fear of the Lord also has its grounding in forgiveness, knowing that we are forgiven means that we don’t live afraid of God, and knowing also that forgiveness means that we can really pursue pleasing Him as we should without being terrified by failure, though hating failure. We fear not pleasing Him out of love for Him.


Fear of the Lord is not an OT entreaty only.


2CO 5:1-9

For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven; 3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, shall not be found naked. 4 For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed, but to be clothed, in order that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. 6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord —  7 for we walk by faith, not by sight —  8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 9 Therefore also we have as our ambition [literally to love honor -philtimeomai = to strive to bring something to pass], whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.


“ambition” - philtimeomai = (lit. to love honor) to strive to bring something to pass.


2CO 5:10-11

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.


11 Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.


The “therefore” would refer back to vs. 10 “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.” Knowing the fear of the Lord is striving to be pleasing to Him and fearing not being so.


Such fear does not relate to condemnation, which is abolished for those in Christ Jesus (ROM 8:1), but to commendation, or, rather, the absence of it.


Knowing the fear of the Lord is the fact of the inescapable accountability to Christ as Judge.


The ascended Christ gave us gifts and He will recompense our deeds. Fear cannot mean the fear of condemnation that all unbelievers will inevitably feel in judgment, but a reverential awe and respect, so much so that it is accompanied by the fear or dread of not living the life He gave us, and performing the good deeds that He will judge us for.


It may help our understanding to know that wives are instructed to fear their husbands (EPH 5:33). The verb phobeo (noun phobos) is translated “respect” by the NASB, “reverence” by the KJV, and “fear” by the ASV.


The judgment seat of Christ is but one facet to the fear of the Lord. The judgment seat of Christ, and the magnitude and power of God Himself, the fact that God alone commands obedience, and that He alone has all authority, and that He is infinitely higher than the greatest creature, and that we are to please Him, are contributing factors to the fear of the Lord, and there must be more.


It is understandable that the fear of the Lord is a difficult concept, and that is borne out by the Bible’s teaching in which grace and freedom are tempered and harnessed by fear and duty. It is also understandable that believers who have somewhat of a grasp on the concept of God’s grace would feel that a light, casual relationship with the Lord would be all that was called for. I find it interesting that we use words other than “fear” to define or describe the “fear of the Lord.” The Greek word phobos means fear or dread, and the concept is somewhat beyond words, only being understood through a life-long walk with God that is diligent to please Him.


ACT 9:14

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and, going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.


2CO 7:1

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.


2CO 7:11

For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.


The situation of the man in the Corinthian church who was in a sexual relationship with his father’s wife shows for certain that the group in Corinth had decided upon a very casual relationship with God. Paul’s letter opened their eyes to their error and they became indignant and fearful in the face of the sinful life.


1PE 2:16-17

Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. 17 Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.


EPH 5:21

be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.


There are Greek words for reverence and awe, which are used together in [turn to]:


HEB 12:28-29

Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence [eulabeia] and awe [deos]; 29 for our God is a consuming fire.


There is a fine balance that has to be struck by the believer, which this passage illudes to. God as a consuming fire sounds like someone to fear.


In this passage, the writer draws a contrast between Mt. Sinai and Mt. Zion with the New Jerusalem.


HEB 12:18-21

For you have not come to a mountain that may be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, 19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word should be spoken to them. 20 For they could not bear the command, "If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned." 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, "I am full of fear and trembling."


The sight of the massive storm upon the mountain and the voice of God caused a natural reflex of fear, even in Moses. But, the writer tells us, we have not come to this mountain.


HEB 12:22-24

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.


Compared to Sinai, something like Mt. Doom, Zion is victory and eternal bliss and peace. But then we are warned.


HEB 12:25

See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they [Exodus] refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven [the scriptures are the mind of Christ, speaking to us from His glorified place].