Gospel Renewal Through the Fear of the Lord

A couple of weeks ago, I started up a series on gospel-centered renewal, and I want to continue thinking through spiritual renewal that is gospel-nourished.  One of the things that has struck me of late is how the Scripture connects “the fear of the Lord” to metaphors or direct references to life, sustenance, and satisfaction.

Before I do, I want state by way of premise that I believe the “fear of the Lord” is the outworking of the gospel as stated in the new covenant promise (Psalm 130:4; Jer. 32:39-40).  Apart from the gospel’s work in a believer, it is impossible to know the fear of the Lord and thus impossible to experience the realities depicted in the verses below.

Fear of the Lord Leads to Life

The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.
Proverbs 19:33

Fear of the Lord Prolongs Life

The fear of the Lord prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short.
Proverbs 10:27

Fear of the Lord a Fountain of Life

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.
Proverbs 14:27

Fear of the Lord an Honorable Life

The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.
Proverbs 22:4

Fear of the Lord a Satisfied Life

Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!
Psalm 34:9

The common thread in all these verses is the fear of the Lord producing and sustaining a rich, vibrant, abundant life that lives in the good of the gospel.  When you work out your salvation “with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12), you will know that the very manner in which you do that (fear) will become a ever-increasing means (fountain of life).  This is because it is God who is at work in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13).

The source of fear is God’s work in you, and operating on the basis of that holy fear produces continual renewal for the kind of abundant life Scripture speaks so vividly about. The fear of God is a fountain of life because God is both the source of our fear and our life in Christ Jesus.  When you are standing in the gospel of grace, you are standing under the waterfall of God’s promise to put holy fear in you, and the delight you take in that waterfall serves as the means of enjoyment and renewal in the Christian life.

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5 Comments on “Gospel Renewal Through the Fear of the Lord”

  1. extracruem Says:

    …does not the fear of the Lord begin with seeing yourself as you are, and somehow, by God’s grace, seeing God as he is? Calvin was hinting at this I think when he said, “Man never achieves a clear knowledge of himself unless he has first looked upon God’s face, and then descends from contemplating him to scrutinize himself.”

    I think the fear of the Lord begins with reverencing who he is–and in turn understanding who we are.

    • Yes, but seeing yourself and seeing God as Calvin spoke are essential to understanding the gospel. Without a right view of God and right view of ourselves, the gospel would be unnecessary. The “reverencing of who God is” begins with appropriating the gospel truths and living in light of them throughout our lives. The text I mentioned about the new covenant promise speaks to this in Jer. 32:39-40:

      39 I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. 40 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.

  2. Timmy,

    It is interesting how the fear of the Lord and life are connected together. That’s good stuff.

    I wonder if there is some connection between Proverbs 14:27 and John 4:14. Both seem to have the same image concerning a fountain of life.

    Thank you for the post.

    Grace to you,


  3. Kenan Says:

    I would agree that there’s a connection there. I also think there’s a connection between Proverbs 14:12; 16:25 (There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end leads to death) and John 14:6 (I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life).
    Maybe I should study more into this to see if there are more allusions to Proverbs in John’s gospel.

    Thanks for the post Timmy.

  4. […] 1) 3.  I Am Being Made New (Part 2) 4.  I Will Be Made New 5.  Renewal Through Remembering 6.  Gospel Renewal Through the Fear of the Lord 7.  Jonathan Edwards on Continued Transformation and […]

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