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What is the meaning of Romans 3:18? Does God want us to be afraid of Him?

This is the final verse of God's description of sinful man in His holy sight. It is the underlying cause of all the sinfulness of man in the first two chapters. The fear of God is to be understood in a twofold way.

The word has a double meaning in the word of God. It literally means "to be terrified by" "It is a FEARFUL thing to fall into the hands of the living God," Hebrews 10:31. In this context it means, those who have not trusted in the saving blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, Hebrews 10:29. This will be a terrifying event for all that die unsaved. (see Revelation 6:15-17 and Revelation 20:11-15).

This fear man has lost. He is deceived in thinking God will not judge. "No fear of God before their eyes" A second meaning of this word "fear" is reverence. In Ecclesiastes 12:14, we read, "Fear God and keep His commandments." He is not speaking about "terror, but reverence." When man has a respect for God, he will obey Him. This aspect of "the fear of God" was likewise missing in Romans 3:18. These are both missing among men in general today. Man should respect God in that he obeys Him and he should be afraid of Him when he disobeys. God will judge, Hebrews 9:27. If we respect the law of our land, we obey it. If we break it, we should be afraid. These are the meanings of that word "fear." To all those that "fear God" they need never be afraid. To all those who do not, they should be afraid of the consequences.

Don't be among the masses "who have no fear of God before their eyes." Be among the few who repent of their sins and trust in Christ as their Saviour. This is "fear (respect)" in the right way.

All comments and questions to: Harold Smith

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Updated February 26th, 2014 by Sandra Felix