19 May 2000

The Fear of the Lord

Submitted by theshovel
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The context of 2 Corinthians 5:10

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.2 Corinthians 5:10

You know, Paul went to an awful lot of meticulous clarification for us to go destroy what he said by using one of his own statements against it. Now, if we claim “The Bible says it, so I believe it!” how do we explain the discrepancies between the particular verse we are being “honest” about and the verses all around it that we aren’t being honest with? Other verses? we say.

But you and I have read, no, we have MEMORIZED this verse and have used it as an ACCUSATION. All we hear is “… whether good or BAD, BAD, BAD!” Or else I think I’m doing pretty “good” and you’re doing pretty “bad”. That’s just as stinky, isn’t it? What if Paul never meant it that way?

Wasn’t this the same Paul that one year earlier told the Corinthians

I am conscious of NOTHING against myself … 1 Corinthians 4:4

Are you following me here? What could make a man this confident? In the same verse he clarified,

…yet I am not by THIS acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.

Maybe all the Judgment-Seat sermons we have heard have left us shaking in our boots, but Paul inserted it as the REASON for his acquittal! Did you hear that? Paul was confident in knowing that the Lord - not man - was his examiner!! Why? Follow his thoughts. He was aware of NOTHING against himself - no sin, no evil, no darkness - nothing. But his clear conscience was NOT the reason for his acquittal. It was because the examiner had cleared him by His OWN doing. Remember Paul’s predetermined view: “CHRIST, and him crucified”? Don’t we know this?

CONFIDENCE is what the judgment seat of Christ in 2 Corinthians is all about. Why are we apprehensive when Paul’s words exuded confidence? The Greek word for “good courage” also means “confidence”. That’s how Goodspeed accurately translated it (see the last Shoveletter). We use it the same way in English; for what else do we mean when we say, “Take courage!”?

Aside from that, Paul’s whole presentation was about the KNOWING of a reality that cannot be seen in the temporary world.

Listen to 2 Corinthians 5:1-9 again with different words:

Remove the body and what remains is the reality of God, which is eternal in the realm unseen to us now. We groan over the discrepancy we sense within ourselves as we long for our appearance to match our reality in Him. Our desire is not to have our temporary “seen” appearance removed, but to have the eternally “seen” appearance overtake it! This is what God has prepared us for, and He has given us His Spirit as a pledge of exactly this. We are confident, for we know that the body we are now in is only temporary, not the eternal one seen by God - which means that our real life is not lived in view of what we see, but as those walking by another sight - so I repeat, that we are confident, even though we definitely prefer for our temporary appearance to be replaced by our eternal one in God. Our true ambition is therefore made known, because it is the same whether in this “seen” body or out of it: we desire only to please Him.shovel quote

Right now I’m going to skip verse 10 and jump to verse 11 (and will address it next time):

Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord 1 Corinthians 5:11

Sounds a little scary, huh? But what if I suggested that Paul was still describing his CONFIDENCE? Paul, no doubt, was reflecting on:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom Psalm 111:10

Try something here: “Being scared of God is the beginning of wisdom”. Doesn’t work, does it? The result of being SCARED of God is anything but the beginning of wisdom, it breeds ignorance and superstition.

You know what throws us off so much regarding that word “fear”? It is the concept embedded in the “Christian” religion that insists God was made in our image, instead of the other way around. Oh, I know the doctrines profess otherwise, but where the rubber meets the road the doctrines seem to take a detour. What I’m saying is that through our knowledge of “the fear of man” we assume that “the fear of God” must mean exactly the same thing, only toward God.

The fear of man is based on the judgment of man, which produces UNCERTAINTY in those who are joined to it. This is the meaning of the worldwide concept of “FEAR” which is understood by everything touched by man. The uncertainty is valid because it is never known how one stands in view of it. This fear is the respect of man’s judgment based upon shifting opinions of the measure of worth … and it attaches itself to all within its grasp and follows them everywhere.

The fear of God is based on the judgment of God, which produces CONFIDENCE in those who are joined to Him. This “fear” is only understood within the sphere of the life of God and it affects all who are touched by God. The confidence is valid because His judgment is based upon God’s own performance in Christ. The gospel declares that we stand before Him as the very righteousness of God for He has MADE Christ to be our righteousness. This fear is the respect of God’s unwavering judgment in Christ … and it attaches itself to all within its grasp and follows them everywhere.

The confusion?

* We listen to those who insist that God’s judgment is based in UNCERTAINTY, as if He sees us as having “split-personalities”. But God KNOWS who we were … and who we are NOW. He is not confused by appearances.
* We have been taught that we are on shaky ground with God. But the fact is that He has made us to “STAND” before Him.
* We are intimidated by those who preach “The fear of the Lord”, and from of “the fear of man” engendered in us we don’t recognize that they are not describing God at all, but someone more like the Wizard of Oz!
* We forget that those who do not have the Spirit ONLY know what it is to fear a god who is made in THEIR image, but have no idea what it means to “fear” the God who made man in HIS image.
* Somehow, we have been bamboozled into offering up fear-motivated deeds to God - and defending the hypocrisy of such deeds - because we are desperate to have something “good” on our account.
* We forget there is no good but God and that He judges by nothing other than Christ.

Therefore KNOWING the fear of the Lord, we PERSUADE men, but are MADE MANIFEST to God. 1 Corinthians 5:11

Do you remember the translation Goodspeed gave “are made manifest to God”? “My true character is perfectly plain to God”. Whatever is “made manifest” is revealed for what it really is. To know the fear of the Lord is to be known by God according to HIS judgment in Christ: NO CONDEMNATION. GOD knows this; with PEOPLE it is a different story. We speak to people of the reality of God in Christ and they don’t necessarily buy it. “… and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences (5:11).” Paul’s anticipation (hope) in these Corinthian believers was that they would see him as God saw him. Next time I’ll zero in on verse 10.


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These comments were all transferred over from the original website

Posted: May 19, 2000 by Phyllis

:-) I think you must have been here when I was talking to God today. LOL Sounds like something that has been wandering in and out of my mind for a couple days.

In his love,

Posted: May 19, 2000 by Nan

what do I think about prayer? I think I don't know more than I know, so I am going to ask for what I want and get what God wants to give. Pretty sad huh!

I liked the part of the letter where you talked about God being made in our image vs God making us in His image. That is very true for me, since I don't have a clear cut image of God I have to fill in the blanks. And it is scarey. See you Sunday over here.

Love, Nannette

Posted: May 19, 2000 by Bruce


I have heard the word judgment defined as ..."making RIGHT what is WRONG"...

I believe this is a very good definition for how God judges us. When He comes to us in judgment it is "corrective". When He judges us He "makes RIGHT what is wrong in us.

So...in this light...judgment is something we should embrace...not fear. It is something that brings freedom and liberty from death and hell and bondage.

Judgment is something we should all be seeking...not running from or hiding from.

Posted: May 19, 2000 by Jenny

Hi brother,

Really good stuff. Keep speaking and sharing. The fear of the Lord is sitting down knowing without doubt that He is God and His counsel stands. That there is no other God and this is the beginning of wisdom. Now we can be taught by the One whom we have declared as the One. Noone can declare Him for us. It is a personal decision of saying yes.....I believe. Therefore, I no longer seek after "Whom I have found". I sit down and He teaches me.....the beginning of wisdom. The beginning of wisdom only begins with the fear of the Lord. There is absolutely nothing to fear nor be afraid of. In a sense the fear of the Lord is a confident stand in the Christ before God. Confidence in the Son and His finished work. Yes I believe, yes I will be loved, yes I don't understand it all, yes I will follow, yes I will trust, yes I will look into Your eyes and behold You! And in the process I am being transformed into what I am beholding! I am becoming the reflection of what I am seeing, by just beholding Him.

Thanks brother Jim. You are a great blessing. You bless God! Much love in Him,

Posted: May 19, 2000 by NJ

«What could make a man this confident? He clarified, "yet I am not by THIS acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord."»

i don't know why but i can always relate things back to "old testament" scripture,, king david said he would rather fall under God's judgement then mans, he knew it was God alone who judged him,,

there is scripture that says God will judge His people,,duet something i think,,anyway,, there is also new testament scripture that says something about,,they are judged already..,, now,,i may be slow here,,and forgive me if i am,, but,, if God alone judges,,and we will all stand in His judgment seat,,and if Jesus died on the cross in our place for our judgment because we were guilty,,,the " judgment seat" we stand in front of is the cross ? and if that is so and we have the confidence that Jesus paid our dept and we are now free ,,is this what this judgment seat thing all about ? thanks in anticipation to your reply,, (NJ)

Dear NJ
Your ability to relate with stuff from the OT is cool. So many "grace" people are afraid of it and seem to avoid so much of it. To see it as you do is how it should be viewed. You are right, God said He would judge His people ... and He did so in Christ. Everything that was looked forward to has been fulfilled in Christ. This includes all the promises, all the things begged and prayed for, etc, etc. When David asked God to "create in me a clean heart, O God" it was accomplished in Christ. Paul wrote about it calling it "the circumcision of the heart in Christ". But most believers today still quote the verse as if God hasn't cleaned our hearts. It's pathetic.

Haha! You ask me to forgive your slowness!!! :) You're so cute!! I bet you have no idea how few have picked up on what you have figured out about standing before the judgment seat. It was so refreshing to hear you ask if that could be it. Yep! The judgment seat and the cross are like flip-sides of the same coin as I see it. It's not like there's some Roman looking judgment seat waiting for us where God will figure out what He's going to do with us. It was done in Christ on the cross. Everything revolves around the finished work of Christ. The only difference in the future (from our perspective) is the matter of appearance. We will then be seen exactly as He has already made us in Christ. What we see will eventually match exactly what we are. It doesn't match now, but that doesn't change who and what we are now ... but it sure doesn't look like it or feel like it.

Both Paul and John made reference to things as they WILL be seen for the purpose of making it clear the reality of what is true about us even though we can't see it. The "judgment seat" was alluded to in the two Corinthian letters because those believers had gotten so caught up in making judgments based on the senses of the fleshly mind. His use of the judgment seat was to make the point that you see so well in David's desire to be judged by God rather than man. And as you said, the judgment has already been made so that we can stand CONFIDENT before Him ... and not in INSECURITY as in standing before man's judgment. The Corinthians were also forced to consider that some of their other teachers may have been misleading them. It would become more obvious to them each time they listened to the fleshly wisdom and human motivations being dished out by those imposters. Yep, there were imposters among them purposely trying to mislead. If you read all the way through 2 Corinthians Paul says these "ministers of righteousness" were nothing less than Satan's ministers. Yikes! Huh? That's why Paul sounded harsh in some of the things he was saying.

Of course, I realize that I have probably stirred up more questions than I answered, but I love doing that anyway!! :)

Love, Jim


jim,, thanks for the reply,, when i first started hearing of this judgment seat thing i sorta had a feeling it was the flip side of the cross,,i like how you put things,,but that seemed to ,,easy,,for lack of a better of word,,and yes,,,you did bring up other questions,,,,,but before i ask,,,and beleive me i will ask :) i want to go over this again,,

i think one reason i can see things from the "old" testament is that i don't consider it law like most people think of law,, im not sure how to expalin that exactly but when i read about how people like moses and david and elijah and ruth and josiah,,and the list goes on and on,,about how they loved God and how their faith in Him just continued regardless of what was happening,,

anyway,, thanks again,, (NJ)

Posted: May 19, 2000 by Richard & Margo B

We've been getting your Shoveletters, starting with Part III of the Judgment Seat of Christ. Could you possibly send us Part I and Part II as an email, since we didn't know you existed prior to Part III? Every time we see a Home Depot, we pray for you!

In Him,
Richard and Margo, Canada

The thing that the Lord somehow revealed to me about this wonderful phrase many years ago was that there was NO FEAR of the Lord in the man without the Spirit of God. He does not truly worship God. Oh he can act like it and even say it but, there is no understanding in him.

To me the fear of the Lord became the recognition that there is no life outside of the one [in] Christ Jesus, which also meant that the fear of the Lord is the hatred for the fleshly mind that perpetuates the illusion that there is life in what is dead. georgi
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Most excellent expression of the fear of the Lord, Georgi! Thanks for posting it.

Yes I agree Georgi.



Just read your explanation about the fear of the Lord and judgement. Thank you for sharing. What a great blessing!!! Sometimes in our hearts we understand something and know almost everybody has it wrong, but cant explain exactly. This helped so much. I'm just being soooo overwhelmed by Gods kindness and love right now! Whooo hooo!

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Sunelle, I am so thrilled to hear the joy surging through you. Thanks for letting me share in it.


enjoyed sharing in and with your heart and spirit concerning the kindness and love of GOD …  in your enjoyment of the article The Fear of the Lord.  smileythank you for sharing that!  smiley


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Random Shovelquote: Adequate has come (view all shovelquotes)

The shadow demanded that something real was needed, it declared that something real was coming. And then the one who was able to fulfill the need came! End of story. And since the adequate has come, there is no more need for the inadequate. source