Fearlessness toward men who persecute Kingdom Missionaries has been a theme running throughout our recent studies in Matthew 10. We saw the contrast in 10:28: we are commanded to fear God as much as we are commanded not to fear man.
So, how do Christians fear God?
The unbeliever has cause for fearing holy anger, but we are under no condemnation. The unbeliever has cause for fearing judgment, but we will stand in Christ’s righteousness. With so many commands for this fear of God in both the old and new covenants, how does this theme jive with grace in Christ. Theologian Wayne Grudem provides this helpful analysis:
Fear of God’s discipline is a good and proper attitude, the sign of a New Testament church growing in maturity and experiencing God’s blessing (Acts 5:5, 11; 9:31; 2 Cor. 7:11, 15; Col. 3:22; I Tim. 5:20; I Pet. 1:17; 2:17; and probably also I Pet. 2:18; 3:2; 3:15). Moreover fear of God is connected with growth in holiness elsewhere in the New Testament (2 Cor. 7:1; Phil. 2:12; cf. Rom.3:18). Fear of God is not inconsistent with loving him or knowing that he loves us...Rather, fear of displeasing our Father is the obverse side of loving him. (Tyndale NT Commentary on 1 Peter, p. 80-81)
We pastors pray for and desire to model for you fear of God and fearlessness toward men in the face of persecution. “The end of the matter , all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Eccl. 12:13-14).