St. Paul's Lutheran Church

St. Paul's Evangelical Free Lutheran Church

21513 Leitersburg-Smithsburg Road

Hagerstown, MD 21742

301-739-5442

Evangelical - Confessional - Faithful

The Pastor's Thoughts

"And now Israel, what does your Lord your God require of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to love Him and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, and to keep the comandments and statutes of the Lord which I am commanding you today for your good. " Deut. 10:12-13

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge..." Proverbs 1:7

"Fear God and give Him glory" Revelation 14:7

We discussed the fear of God in a recent confirmation class.  I told the kids that there were two kinds of fear about God, child-like fear and childish fear.  Child-like fear is based on a recongnition of the love God has shown for us and our fear that we would displease him after He has cone so much for us.  Childish fear is a "faith" that is based on fear of going to hell.  In the one case we show our love for God, in the other we show our concern for our own well being — certainly a lesser standard.

Everyone is fearful about something.  We have only to look at the news to become afraid of war with North Korea, crazed people with firearms, polluted water, problems with our food and, as I write this, extreme cold.  Fear is part of the human condition and it has been ever since our first parents committed the first sin.  Remember how Adam and Eve hid themselves because they were afraid God would see that they were naked and know their sin.

I believe that many people who claim to not believe in God are actually people who don't like Him and are afraid that, if they recognize Him, their lives will have to come under His control.  And, indeed, they are right—when we open our eyes to the reality of God and His work in the world we do become His people and we live by His standards. For a worldling that is something to fear—the loss of the control we imagine we have over our lives.

For those who have come to know Jesus as Savior, however, our fear ought not to be over losing control, but of having God lose control.  When we study the Law of God in the light of Christ we find it to be something gracious and full of wonder.  Rather than telling us what we must do to avoid punishment, we see it as the source of the best guidance on how to live a good and fruitful life.  Fear God, friends, it is a good and child-like thing.

Pr. Culler