Psalms 103:17-19 ESV
“But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.”
The Fear of The Lord
The fear of the Lord is not just something taught in the Old Testament. It is taught to us in the New Testament, too. So, if we are being persecuted because we are following Jesus with our lives, we are not to fear our persecutors who can kill our bodies but who cannot kill our souls. But we are to continue in the work of the Lord that he has assigned us to do, and we are to fear God who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt 10:24-28).
We, as the body of Christ, are to walk in the fear of the Lord in humble submission to Jesus as Lord (owner-master) of our lives. We are to honor, revere, worship, and obey him. As we do, we will grow in our walks of faith to maturity in Christ Jesus. We will experience God’s mercy in our lives. And if we walk in the fear of the Lord, and we do what is right in his eyes, then we will be acceptable to God (Ac 9:31; Ac 10:34-35; Lu 1:50; 2 Co 7:1).
As followers of Jesus Christ, who are walking in obedience to our Lord, we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in us, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Phil. 2:12-13). But this is not us trying to earn our salvation, but this is us yielding control of our lives over to the Lord and walking in the truth of the salvation which our Lord already provided, by obeying our Lord and doing what he says.
Fearing God is not necessarily being afraid of him, but we should fear what he can do to us if we do not obey him. But as followers of Jesus, walking in the fear of the Lord is more about showing him respect, honor, obedience, submission, surrender, and worship of him as our only Lord (master). And we do this by giving our lives to him as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, and by being no longer conformed to the ways of this world.
[Rom 12:1-2; Rev 11:18; Rev 14:7; Rev 15:4; 2 Co 5:6-11; Heb 12:28-29]
Obeying His Commandments
Obeying God’s commandments is not just Old Covenant teaching, but it is New Covenant teaching, too. For, we read in the book of John that if we keep (obey) God’s word that we will never see death, and that if we love Jesus, that we will keep (obey) his commandments. And, if we keep (obey) his commandments, we will abide in Jesus’ love. And in Matthew we read that the one who does the will of God is the one who will enter the kingdom of heaven (Jn 8:51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:10; Matt 7:21-23).
Then we read in 1 John that we know that we have come to know the Lord if we keep (obey) his commandments. If we say that we know him, but we do not keep (obey) his commandments, then we are liars. For example, if we keep on (in practice) sinning, then we don’t know God, and whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God. But whoever keeps (obeys) the Lord’s commandments abides in God. And this is love that we walk according to his commandments (1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6).
In other passages of Scripture we read that we are slaves of the one we obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness. And we read that Jesus became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. And we are the elect who are for obedience to Jesus Christ. And we are to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. And then we have the examples of the Israelites who wandered in the desert which show us that obedience to God is equal with faith in Christ.
[Rom 6:16; Heb 5:9; 1 Pet 1:1-2; Jas 1:21-25; 1 Co 10; Heb 3-4]
But let me state here that the Lord’s commandments that we are to obey are not the Old Covenant liturgical, ceremonial, sacrificial, and purification laws that the Jews of old had to obey. What we have to obey are our Lord’s moral laws, but we have to obey Jesus, and not just his teachings which are in writing for us, and not just the New Testament teachings to the church, but we must obey the Spirit living within us when he says “speak,” and when he says “go,” and when he says “stop” and “don’t” and “do.”
The Steadfast Love of God
Okay, in context, what this is saying to us as Christians who are under the New Covenant is that the steadfast love of the Lord is on those who fear him, who revere, honor, worship, and obey him. For, if we do not honor our Lord, and if we do not obey him, but we go our own way instead, and we do whatever our flesh desires, we are not part of him and he is not part of us, and we will not inherit eternal life with God. Please take this seriously.
[Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; 2 Co 5:10; 1 Co 6:9-10; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:1-17; Jn 15:1-11; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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