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Sometimes the King James Version of the Bible blurs the difference between fear and respect.  We are told in 1 John 4:18 that, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”  Proverbs 29:25 tells us, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.”  In each case, the word literally means to be afraid.  We have this very instructive lesson in Matthew 14:25-27 which says, “And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”  Here, the Lord teaches us that His very presence should drive out all our fears.  Many, many times in the scriptures we are exhorted to ‘fear not’.

Sometimes in the scriptures we find the word fear with a different meaning.  Speaking of the Lord Jesus, we read in Hebrews 5:7, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.”  The Greek word here does not mean to be afraid, but to respect or reverence.  The Lord Jesus certainly did not fear His Father, but He had the utmost reverence for Him.  This word is translated ‘Godly fear’ in Hebrews 12:28 which says, “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”

As believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord does not want us to fear Him; neither does He want us to fear man.  However, the Lord does require that we respect, or reverence, Him.  He is certainly worthy of that!

To those who have never put their faith in the Lord Jesus, there is every reason to fear the Lord.  The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  Through faith, we are able to have this fear turned into respect.