Whom shall I fear?

In 1 Peter 1:17, Peter calls Christians to “conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your exile.”  Peter is not calling you to be afraid of what is going on in the world.  Rather, he’s calling you to fear God.  This should characterize your life. Ecclesiastes 12:13 tells you to, “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”  If it is your whole duty then you have little time for anything else.

But what does it mean to fear God?  Are you to fear the Lord in ways that unbelievers do?  Will you cry out for rocks to fall on you and crush you when He appears at the end of time, as we see in Revelation 6?  No.  Your fear, Christian, is one of reverence and awe.  In Proverbs 1:7 we are told that, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.”  If you want to understand who God is, then you must give Him His proper place: He is God; He is far above you and I.

Now Peter just finished telling his readers to be holy as God is holy.  Do you grasp the fact that God’s holiness is a terrifying thing?  It exposes your sin. Yet, even though you and I should feel exposed before a holy God, as Isaiah felt in Isaiah 6, Christians are not those who stand completely exposed, for we are covered by—and washed in—the blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot (v.19).

And so you conduct yourselves in fear for you know the high cost of your position. You fear God because you realize the lengths that He went to, to purchase your pardon.  God didn’t let you off the hook for your sin.  No; He punished Christ instead.  And so, as you go about your life this week, consider whom—or what—you fear, reverence, respect and are in awe of.  And if you’ve come to the conclusion that Christ has saved you, and it truly is God whom you fear, then you can trust Him in all other facets of your life.  Peter puts your trials into perspective and prioritizes your concerns.  Fear God.  If you truly live this, then everything else will have a way of working out in the end.