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Bible verses about Fear of Man
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Matthew 10:27-28

It is not unreasonable that we should fear God. Jesus Christ Himself says that we are to fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell. Why? He is the only One who can revoke the judgment of Gehenna fire. The wages of sin is death in Gehenna fire. If we want to escape this punishment, we can see that it is closely connected to whether or not we actually fear God.

Why? What does the fear of God have to do with escaping a judgment that would otherwise take us into the Lake of Fire?

This series of verses in Matthew 10 contains some encouragement, indicating that, if one really fears God, then there is no need to be fearful of others. Proverbs 29:25 plainly tells us, "The fear of man is a snare." This is an attitude in which we do not want to be entrapped. It is obvious, in the context of Matthew 10:27, that He is talking about fear in the sense of "dread." We are not to fear men because the worst that they can do does not even begin to match the worst that God can do! The basis for this is what God is: omnipotent and omniscient, and in Him are the issues of life and death!

The Christian life is our calling; this is our only chance for salvation. We have been personally chosen by God. The elect are an insignificant number, and we are even more insignificant personally. Yet, He has given us this calling. The world population is somewhere in the vicinity of six billion people, and out of this huge number are a miniscule few who are truly converted and have been given the Spirit of God. This is not something that we want to pass up! The fear of God is crucial to our salvation!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fear of God


 

Luke 12:1-7

Hypocrite originally had a neutral sense, “someone who answers,” and hypocrisy meant “answering.” Initially, these words were used of the normal flow of question and answer in conversation or discussion. They later became connected with question-and-answer sections in plays, naturally followed by the idea of acting a part. Eventually, “hypocrite” came to describe one who is never genuine but always play-acting. The basis of hypocrisy is insincerity.

Hypocrites inhabit every walk of life, trying to impress others in an attempt to hide who they really are. In the Christian life, a hypocrite is someone who tries to appear more spiritual than he really is. Such a person knows that he is pretending and hopes he will not be found out. His Christianity is a shallow charade.

As the crowds following Him grew, Jesus decided to warn His disciples of this spiritual pitfall. They could easily surrender to human nature, giving in to the temptation either to gain popularity by pleasing the crowds or to avoid trouble by pleasing the Pharisees. Human nature drives us to want people to like and admire us, and it seems so easy to “act the part” that others want to see.

Jesus compares hypocrisy to leaven, symbolizing sin (I Corinthians 5:6-8; Galatians 5:9). Like leaven, hypocrisy begins small but grows quickly and quietly, infecting the whole person and eventually the whole society. When a person is puffed up with pride, hypocrisy flourishes and character deteriorates (I Corinthians 4:6, 18-19; 5:2). Like all sin, it must be stopped before the underlying pride has an opportunity to spread (James 1:14-15). The longer he waits to deal with it, the worse it gets. Nothing can really be hidden (Mark 4:22), which makes hypocrisy foolish and futile. So why keep pretending?

Jesus was perhaps concerned that His disciples might be tempted to compromise the truth to avoid offending the crowds or the Pharisees (see Luke 8:16-18; 11:33). Many who profess to be God's ministers do something like this to remain in their pulpits. God's truth is like light, not leaven, and it must not be hidden.

Jesus mentions “fear” five times in these verses, teaching that a basic cause of hypocrisy is the fear of men. People will do almost anything to avoid embarrassment or harm. When we are afraid of what others may say or do to us, we try to impress them to gain their approval, and our human nature will stoop to deception to accomplish its purposes. Sadly, many of the Pharisees were more concerned about reputation than character—what people thought about them than what God knew about them. The fear of men always brings a snare (Proverbs 29:25), and Jesus wants His disciples to avoid it and be stable in their faith. As Scottish novelist and poet, Sir Walter Scott, wrote, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive.”

Martin G. Collins
Beware of Hypocrisy


 

John 19:38-40

Joseph was a believer, but in secret! Why was he afraid of the Jews? For the same reason Peter denied Christ—for fear that they too would be killed. More than that, Joseph was a respected pillar of the community, a man who had worked a lifetime to achieve what he had. To come out publicly as a disciple would have meant the destruction of the life he and his family enjoyed.

John says Joseph "took the body of Jesus." Taking a lifeless body down from a stake is no one-man task. Nicodemus, another secret disciple, also a member of the Sanhedrin, helped him. This is the same Nicodemus who came to Jesus "by night" to ask Him some pointed questions and received some pointed answers (John 3:1-21).

Mike Ford
Joseph of Arimathea


 

Ephesians 4:25

These men feared that, if they committed themselves to loving God, they would lose the approbation of their religious peers. If they stepped out, they would lose what they already had. So it kept them from loving God, and of course, it kept them from loving man too because God would have given them growth if they had continued yielding to Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Love's Greatest Challenges


 

Ephesians 5:21

What do we fear when we will not submit to one another? Is it the loss of control? Loss of power? Do we fail to make peace with an offended brother because we are afraid of losing face? We see that pride keeps rearing its ugly head, causing us to feel that we are about to lose something.

This is why the Bible shows humility to be a choice. The fear of loss to our ego has to be challenged and overcome. Overcomers are conquerors, and it is because of this attribute that they will be in the Kingdom of God. The overcomers challenge inertia. They challenge entropy. They challenge this fear of loss.

Ephesians 5:2, in the phrase "Christ . . . has . . . given Himself," also contains a seed of the reason why love is so difficult. Love requires sacrifice, and sacrifice is painful. Facing fear is painful. Making oneself diligent in doing work is painful, so the sluggard pays in sacrifice when overcoming laziness and fear. Sometimes the discipline required to love an enemy is awesome.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Love's Greatest Challenges


 

Hebrews 10:37-39

Israel feared the warfare that they knew would confront them when they stepped over the border—and they drew back. Their drawing back in fear was a serious sin, as Numbers 14:9 shows. Drawing back in fear or failing to enter the fray is on a par with rebellion because it is a rejection of God's Word, a despising of His promise.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part One)


 

 




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