Psalm 130:3-4, “If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.”
What an interesting verse in light of what John says about fear in 1 John 4. We talked about this verse in the message this past Sunday. It’s really a bit of a conundrum. John says perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18) but hear we see the Psalmist saying forgiveness, which is a demonstration of God’s love, actually inspires fear. What gives?
The fear the Psalmist is referring to is a fear of God which is beneficial. Anything that is bigger or more massive than us inspires fear and reverence. Take for instance the movie scene where a guy stands up to another and the fear and awe it inspires when the guy he’s standing up to is two feet taller than him.
The Psalmist is saying that when God forgives us it so massive, so complete, so awe inspiring, that it actually humbles us is a fearful position before Him.
When John writes about fear he says the reason we don’t know the love of God is because we associate fear with punishment. We associate fear with harm. This is not the fear God’s love is supposed to inspire.
As noted in our sermon, the full wrath of God was poured out on Jesus on behalf of our sins, there is none left. So our fear in the midst of God’s forgiveness inspires us to live in gratitude, generosity, and gladness- not dread, guilt, or shame.
And remember don’t let the fear of doing what God made you to do settle for what you can do.