When did it become wrong to fear God?

When did it become a bad thing to fear God?

I see so many pastors (famous men) preaching that somehow people have to have to “right” motivation to have “true” Christian faith.

Somehow if people want to avoid hell but do not want to have a relationship, they have “phony” faith. Some people START with fear of God, and God moves them towards love for God. When did that become wrong?

It seems to me that we should fear God. Too many Christians want to have a genie of a God but do not want to leave sin behind. They do not FEAR the wrath of God, but want to have a “friend in Jesus”.

It used to be that hell fire and brimstone preaching led many people to faith in Christ. People left alcoholism or adulterous relationships for Christ because of fear of hell. These days, people who are wanting to avoid hell, who are afraid of what God might do to them if they do not get right with God, are condemned for having the wrong motivation.

But God’s word TELLS us to fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 10:28

 Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

It seems to me that people need to repent, turn to God through faith in Christ, and have deeds which demonstrate repentance.

Acts 26:20

20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.

Does it really matter if they do that because they love God or because they fear God’s wrath? Is one motivation really better than the other? I have known children who love to please their parents and so obey because of they love their parents. I have known children who fear punishment more than they desire to do what they would be punished for, so they obey because they fear their parents’ wrath. Which is better? I think each is effective and good and needed – for that individual person. The same is true for God’s children. One motivation is not better or worse.



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