In the Bible, the ‘fear of God’ has a number of meanings. There is the fear of God, meaning the fear of judgment, ‘if we’re bad’. With this is also the hope of reward ‘if we’re good’. Unfortunately, most people think that Christianity has little more to offer than this. There is, however, much more to it.
As Christ is formed within us (Galatians:4:19), a different ‘fear of God’ becomes known, arising from a much more adequate God-consciousness. We become aware of God’s true nature and begin to glimpse His holiness, beauty and goodness. The clearer we see God, the more unthinkable it becomes to sin against Him. Just as we might fear dropping a priceless vase that we own, and take great care when moving it, so we fear doing anything that might show disrespect towards God. This knowledge then turns an immature fear of God (the fear of punishment) to a mature ‘fear’, which is really ‘a labour of love’. God becomes so wonderful in our thinking that we grow to love Him and desire to serve and bless Him. The apostle John wrote, ‘There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love’ (1 John:4:18). According to Proverbs:9:10, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One [God] is understanding.’
--Dominic Statham (Creation Ministries International)