Having grown up Episcopal/Anglican, this article describes the attitude of many churchgoers, which is
“Church is supposed to make me feel better about my life, not worse,”
That attitude has led to the churches ignoring many aspects of Christian doctrine, leading to this consequence:
It would be a mistake, and not a pew-filler, to focus on fear and punishment alone, but there is almost a complete absence, and in some cases absolute absence, from the pulpit of these useful concepts in the Episcopal church. The reason is that, for many, they are not believed. And since they are not believed, they are not taught, and since they are not taught, the lesson learned by (ex-)parishioners is that there aren’t many reasons to attend church.
Read more: http://wmbriggs.com/post/20680/
But what is this fear of the Lord? It is that affectionate reverence, by which the child of God bends himself humbly and carefully to his Father’s law.
— Charles Bridges
Hugh Binning, Works, p. 100:
What more contingent than the falling of a sparrow on the ground? And yet even that is not unexpected to him, but it flows from his will and counsel. What less taken notice of or known than the hairs of your head? Yet these are particularly numbered by him, and so that no power in the world can add to them or diminish from them without his counsel. O what would the belief of this do to raise our hearts to suitable thoughts of God above the creatures; to increase the fear, faith, and love of God; and to abate from our fear of men, and our vain and unprofitable cares and perplexities?
Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/88981-Thoughts-of-God-above-the-creatures, Comment #1
Calvin on Exodus 19:17-20:
We learn from these words that the prodigies were not intended to drive the people from God’s sight, and that they were not smitten with fear to exasperate and disgust them with the doctrine, but that God’s covenant was no less lovely than alarming; for they are commanded to go and “meet God,” presenting themselves with minds ready unto obedience. But this could not be unless they heard in the Law something besides precepts and threatenings. Yet in the smoke and fire, and other signs, some fear was added, in accordance with the office of the Law, because the sinner will never be capable of pardon until he learns to tremble from consciousness of his guilt, nay, until confounded with dread he lies like one dead before the tribunal of God.
Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/89879-No-less-lovely-than-alarming, Comment #1
Servile fear, such as the slave has for his master, which consists in fleeing punishment without faith and without a desire and purpose of changing the life, being accompanied with despair, flight and separation from God—such a servile fear differs greatly from that which is filial. 1. Filial fear arises from confidence and love to God; that which is servile arises from a knowledge and conviction of sin, and from a sense of the judgment and displeasure of God. 2. Filial fear does not turn away from God, but hates sin above every thing else, and fears to offend God: servile fear is a flight and hatred, not of sin, but of punishment and of the divine judgment, and so of God himself. 3. Filial fear is connected with the certainty of salvation and of eternal life: servile fear is a fear and expectation of eternal condemnation and rejection of God, and is great in proportion to the doubt and despair which it entertains of the grace and mercy of God. This is the fear of devils and wicked men, and is the commencement of eternal death, which the ungodly experience already in this life. “I heard thy voice in the garden and I was afraid.” “The devils believe and tremble.”
~Gen. 3:10. James 2:19; Zacharias Ursinus, The Commentary of Dr. Zacharias Ursinus on the Heidelberg Catechism, trans. G. W. Williard (Cincinnati, OH: Elm Street Printing Company, 1888), 514.
Source and read more: http://heidelblog.net/2015/11/another-helpful-distinction-filial-versus-servile-fear/
Rev. Garry Eriks:
“Second, God’s Word tells us that the sovereign God of our salvation will not leave us or forsake us. God sovereignly and constantly cares for us. He will not abandon us, but continues to be present with us. He controls all things and He works them all for our good. He does not abandon us in our time of need, but instead gives grace and strength to bear the burdens that we face. His grace is sufficient for us. His promise to us is, “I am with you.”
Because God is with us, we have nothing to fear or worry about. What are the things that you worry about? Do you worry about making ends meet? Do you worry about rearing your covenant children, or your covenant grandchildren? What are the fears that you have hidden in the recesses of your heart? A child of God who is content and clings to the promises of God, knows that there is nothing to fear. The child of God then confesses with David in Psalm 27:1, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” There is no one to fear. There is nothing to be afraid of because God is our God. He is the One Who has done everything necessary for our salvation. It is not God and man working together. Man does not do anything to make that salvation apply to himself. God has done it all. And in the consciousness of that, we know He continues to be with us and care for us.
That is so important in life. That is so important when we face death. That is so important for young fathers and mothers who feel the heavy weight of the responsibility of training their children in the fear of the Lord. We feel the weight of the other responsibilities God has placed upon us in this world. Sometimes it seems like it is too much so that we are ready to collapse. The fears that we have in life are real fears, even for those who know and understand the sovereignty of God. But the Word of God says there is no reason to worry about any of those things because God will give to us everything that we need.”
~”Living Antithetically in an Age of Covetousness”
Read more: http://www.prca.org/resources/publications/pamphlets/item/1572-the-antithesis-godly-living-in-ungodly-times
Those who become timid, so that the cross and tribulation become too heavy for them, must be addressed kindly and comfortingly, faithfully impressing on them the goodness of God and the salvation of Christ, so that they may recognize and believe that our dear God’s intentions towards them are entirely fatherly and faithful in all the sufferings he sends them. They are always to be dissuaded from thinking about their sins and all unhappiness, and to be uplifted into the mercy of God and the salvation of Jesus Christ.