Do not fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
— Matthew 10:28
The Scriptures admonish us to fear God and keep His commandments. Jesus tells us to fear God who has the power to cast people into hell. “The fear of the Lord” does not mean a slavish dread of Him. Rather, it is a reverential awe of God that should be part of every true believer’s faith in the living God. We believe in the Great, in the Mighty, in the Terrible, in the August, in the All-powerful God of this universe.
In a very real sense, God inspires all true believers with a certain reverential awe—an awe not unlike the awe a child feels for his father on this earth. That is not to say, however, that we live in dread of our Heavenly Father without care for Him. Rather, because of our reverence for Him, His righteousness, and His holiness, we fear to do evil. So, it is well that each one of us who believes in the living God should fear to do evil.
Dostoyevsky famously wrote, “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.” That is why the fear of God is good, and to be a God-fearing person is healthy.