Photo by Samuel Martins on Unsplash

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken,
let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably
with reverence and godly fear. Hebrews 12:28

Have you knelt before the Lord … buried your head in your hands and cried out to the Lord? Perhaps it was after you read a passage in the Bible that completely overwhelmed you with the sense of God’s holiness and your utter sinfulness. Maybe there’s a devastating illness in your family, and you cried out to the Lord. Or you are overwhelmed by an unexpected blessing that is so big that it could have only come from the Lord.

What do you think this man is praying about? Whatever it is, he is praying with reverence, with humility, with respect to God Almighty … with godly fear.

As a child, you may have memorized Proverbs 1:7, “The beginning of knowledge is fear …” You may have wondered what that was all about. “Fear is the beginning of knowledge? Do I really want that kind of knowledge?”

In the Old and New Testaments, there are different words for the term “fear,” just like there are different words for “love.” Agape, is God’s perfect, divine love, a self-giving love; whereas phileo is brotherly love, and eros is erotic love.

The term “fear” in the Bible can mean a dread and trembling, but it can also mean a reverence and piety for something or someone. It can also mean a mindset for obedience as in Deuternomy 13:4, “You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.”

Think back to when you were 8-years-old or so, and your mother’s hands hit her hips as she said, “Wait ’til your father gets home!”

Oh, my! How I dreaded that. In those days, the belt was the instrument of discipline. I hoped that work would keep Daddy late that night. Several hours after the belt was administered, Daddy kissed and hugged on us, showing his love. We feared Daddy with a healthy respect. Respect that included the knowledge of discipline if we did not obey.

Fear can produce a healthy respect that leads to obedience.

Thanks to Pixabay for the photo of Mount Sinai

After Moses led the Israelites out of slavery and from Egypt, God led them to Mount Sinai to give them the Law.

There they stood at the foot of the mountain. The mountain burned, shook, smoked, and blasted voices and trumpets. Mount Sinai was terrifying. The people trembled. God came down upon this rumbling, smoking mountain and called Moses to go up into the smoke to meet Him.

Moses trembled, but his fear also had faith that God had brought the Israelites this far, and that God was their leader. Moses knew that he would not perish, but that he would meet God there on behalf of the Israelites. Moses obeyed.

Godly fear.

View of Mount Zion from the Mount Zion Hotel

Hebrews 12:22-24 tells us that Christians have not come to Mount Sinai but to Mount Zion, the mountain of the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, where multitudes of angels are and the church of the firstborn (Jesus). This is the church of those whose names are registered in heaven. It also tells us that we have come to God, the Judge of all; to Jesus, our Mediator of the new covenant, and to His blood that was sprinkled on the mercy seat as THE perfect sacrifice for our sins.

Not a smoking, shaking mountain sparking trembling fear in the sense of fear for our lives. This is a mountain that promises eternal life for those who have accepted the free gift of Jesus’ payment for the sins of the past, the present, and the future. A mountain that sparks godly fear.

Godly fear. Godly reverence.
Godly respect. Godly obedience.

Image by Angelo Giordano from Pixabay

The writer of Hebrews tells us that God will shake the earth and heavens once more, but Christ followers are promised an unshakable kingdom.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken,
let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably
with reverence and godly fear. Hebrews 12:28

How are we to receive this unshakable kingdom? With grace.

“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt,
that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” Colossians 4:6

Why? So that we can serve God acceptably.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God,
which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1

How are you serving God? Have you presented your body as a living sacrifice? That means, your hands, your feet, your mind, your speech, your service to God. It’s your reasonable service to God.

Godly fear. Godly service.

How are we to serve God? With reverence and godly fear. This word for “fear” only appears twice in the New Testament – in Hebrews 12:28 and in Hebrews 5:7 when it refers to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

“who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear.”

Jesus did not want to go to the cross and take your sins and my sins upon Himself. He asked the Father in Luke 22:42 if there was any other way, to take away the cross. There was no other way, so Jesus obeyed the Father and hung on the cross – for you and for me.

Godly fear. Godly reverence.
Godly respect. Godly obedience.


“For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:29

Moses writes in Exodus 24:17 that the sight of the glory of God on Mount Sinai was like a consuming fire.

Consider God in all His holiness.
Consider God in all His majesty.
Consider God in His mighty power.
Consider God in His amazing love.
Consider God as a consuming fire.

Consider Jesus on the cross.
Consider Jesus saying “It is finished.”
Consider Jesus – Risen!
Consider Jesus as your High Priest.
Consider Jesus at the right hand of the Father speaking on your behalf.

Consider yourself in God’s holy presence.
Consider yourself receiving the promise of the Kingdom that cannot be shaken.
Consider God’s fire consuming all that is impure in your life.
Consider yourself before God and kneel.

Let us have grace by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

Consider God, and fear Him.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Since you are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, may you have grace by which you serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. May God consume all the impurities from you with His holy fire.

Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;
Sing praises on the harp to our God,
Who covers the heavens with clouds,
Who prepares rain for the earth,
Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.
He gives to the beast its food, And to the young ravens that cry.
He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man.
The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him,
In those who hope in His mercy.

Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!
Psalm 147:7-12

Please share how you are serving God.

2 thoughts on “How to Serve God with Godly Fear

    1. Lynn, This one took several weeks to put together for our Bible study and then to write. Thank you for your encouragement. Karen

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