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The Fear of God Hardcover – March, 1999
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About the Author
John Bunyan (1628-1688) was born in Elstow, England, and his life was spared twice in his early years, something he believed God had done for a special purpose. In November 1660, when Bunyan arrived to preach in the little town of Lower Samsell, he was informed that a warrant had been issued for his arrest. Unwilling to denounce his Christian faith and his calling to the ministry, he was imprisoned for twelve years.
Among the many writings he published during his imprisonment are "The Holy City; Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners;" and the most famous, "The Pilgrims Progress".
After his release, he became the pastor of a church in Bedord, England and continued to write and publish stirring works that have endured through time. Among these classics are "The Holy War; Bunyan's Visions of Heaven and Hell" and "Journey to Hell: The Life and Death of Mr. Badman." --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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The Christian's fear of God is a filial fear-"that fear that is son-like,and that subjecteth the elect unto God." The fear of God is a grace and where it is present its effect is a willing submission to the God whom they love and fear.Where does this fear come from?What is its source?-Jeremiah 32:40b '...I will put my fear in their hearts,that they shall not depart from me.' This is God speaking through the prophet Jeremiah,I(that is God)will put His fear in their hearts.
Where there is godly fear in good measure,then,this is an individual who excels before God and men.When Satan was throwing 'his fiery darts' of accusation,towards Job;what specific characteristic about Job did the Lord bring to light?Job 1:8 'Hast thou considered my servant Job,that there is none like him in the earth,a perfect and an upright man,one that feareth God,and escheweth evil?' Bunyan writes of this godly fear in Job-"...he was the man that abounded in the fear of the Lord...'.How can someone know the measure of this grace in their own heart?Job feared God and eschewed evil.David in Psalm 4:4a '...stand in awe and sin not...'. There is an inseparable connection with fearing God and hating and turning from evil.There is also an inseparable tie in with fruitful service to God and one's attitude towards sin,Is there a holy hatred of It? To fear God and to hate evil is to possess great wisdom,heavenly wisdom.Fools exalt folly and think sin is a light thing.
What is one of the ways an individual becomes more godly? By growing in their hatred of sin.Solomon illustrates this in Proverbs 26:20 'Where no wood is,there the fire goeth out.' -"...where there is a hatred of sin,and where men depart from it,there it loseth much of its power."
What has God given us to direct our fears? One appropriate response is to 'tremble at His Word'.Another believing response is to delight in His Word.Psalm 112:1 '...blessed is the man that feareth the Lord,that delighteth greatly in his commandments.' How is any man to escape the wrath and judgement of Almighty God that is surely coming? Mr.Bunyan gives us the path of safety-"the way to escape dangers foretold is to hearken to,understand,and fear the Word of God." It is great wisdom 'to heed God's Word' because His power and authority attend it.Ecclesiastes 8:4 'Where the word of a king is,there is power:and who may say unto him,what doest thou?' Whose word is more powerful and authoritative than 'The King Of Kings' and 'Lord Of Lords'?
Though Bunyan did not have the benefit of advanced and refined education,as many of his Puritan brethren did,due to his humble beginnings,yet the written legacy which he has left behind,surely places him in the front rank,of his Puritan contemporaries,as far as usefulness and value.