When we read accounts of spiritual revivals throughout history, the fear of the Lord is mentioned again and again. God’s conviction caused people to hate their sin and love Jesus with a passion. When we have a healthy sense of the fear of the Lord in our lives, we will not want to sin. “To fear the Lord is to hate evil… (Proverbs 8:13).”
A proper understanding of the fear of the Lord causes us to hate evil, knowing that evil displeases the Lord and destroys God’s people. The bible says, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).” In other words, true Christians will not live a life of sin.
The good news is this: when we repent and turn from our sin, Jesus washes us clean. And the “fear of the Lord” keeps us from going back to our old way of living. The Bible tells us in Acts 9:31 that the believers were “walking in the fear of the Lord.” After Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit and were struck dead, God’s judgment on their sin caused the believers to increase in their awe and fear of the Lord. “Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events (Acts 5:11).” In Revelation 1:17, John had an encounter with God. “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.’”
The fear of the Lord is not a destructive fear, but one that leads us to God’s presence and purity. When we understand and experience the fear of the Lord, we will hate sin and turn away from it. We will trust Jesus to wash, cleanse and make us new.