2 Corinthians 5:11 - Terror of the Lord?

2 Corinthians 5:11 - Terror of the Lord?

2 Corinthians 5:11 (KJV) Knowing therefore the terror of the 
Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust 
also are made manifest in your consciences.  

2 Corinthians 5:11 (NKJV) Knowing, therefore, the terror of the 
Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust 
are well known in your consciences.  

2 Corinthians 5:11 (NIV) Since, then, we know what it is to fear 
the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I 
hope it is also plain to your conscience.  

Terror.  Elsewhere in the NT this Greek word is always 
translated "fear." This fear is something far different from the terror 
that lost sinners will one day experience. Godly fear is the 
beginning of wisdom (Ps. 111:10; Prov. 9:10). It is synonymous with 
profound reverence such as Isaiah felt when in God's presence (Isa. 6:5), 
and is based on a realization of the character, majesty, and 
greatness of God, and of one's own unworthiness. It is the root and 
mainspring of true piety. It prevents conceit (see Prov. 26:12), and is a 
deterrent to sin (2 Chron. 19:7; Job 1:1, 8; 28:28; Prov. 8:13; Acts 5:5). 
It gives release from all other fears (Prov. 14:26, 27; 19:23). He 
who stands in awe of God can be free of all anxiety. The fear of the 
Lord is reverent adoration and obedient respect for a loving heavenly 
Father (Ps. 103:11; cf. Ps. 111:10). See also Ps. 19:9. [SDA Bible 

  A Proper Fear of God. The Lord would have His people trust in 
Him and abide in His love, but that does not mean that we shall have 
no fear or misgivings. Some seem to think that if a man has a 
wholesome fear of the judgments of God, it is a proof that he is destitute 
of faith; but this is not so.   
  A proper fear of God, in believing His threatenings, works the 
peaceable fruits of righteousness, by causing the trembling soul to flee 
to Jesus. Many ought to have this spirit today, and turn to the 
Lord with humble contrition, for the Lord has not given so many 
terrible threatenings, pronounced so severe judgments in His Word, simply 
to have them recorded, but He means what He says. One says, "Horror 
hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law," 
Paul says, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade 
men" (RH Oct. 21, 1890).  {6BC 1100}   

  After reminding the Corinthians that everyone will appear 
before Christ's judgment seat, Paul explained that he had evaluated his 
own motives and actions in light of this sobering fact. He knew--and 
reminded himself of the fact--that God saw his motivations. His life was 
an open book to God. Paul didn't have to prove to God that he was 
sincere, for God already knew it. Paul hoped that the Corinthians, also, 
would understand that his actions were motivated by a healthy respect 
for God--not by greed or any other sinful motivation. 
  Paul feared God. The Greek word Paul used for "fear" is 
phobos, the root of our English word "phobia." Phobos can refer to 
anything from terror to reverential awe. In an age where independence, 
courage, and self-reliance are consistently lauded, it is difficult for 
people today to understand why they should fear anything. Preachers 
tend to skip over fear as a motivation for serving God and instead 
emphasize how love should motivate Christians (see 5:14). But many forget 
that fear isn't fundamentally bad. Fear keeps people from jumping out 
of airplanes without a parachute. Fear can be anything from a 
healthy respect for natural laws to a respect for the laws of a nation. 
The Bible says that those who do not fear God will inevitably be 
judged (Psalm 36:1-12; 55:19-23). But on the other hand, the fear of 
God gives a person wisdom and helps that person avoid evil (Proverbs 
15:33; 16:6). Thus, fear of God means having a proper respect for his 
perfect nature and great power. For those who have persisted in evil and 
rebellious ways, contemplating God should inspire dread. Their ways have 
been condemned by God, and their path leads to death (see 2:14-16). 
Believers who contemplate God should be filled with reverential awe, 
standing in wonder and amazement at his greatness. 
  Having a solemn fear of the Lord does not mean that believers 
become paralyzed. On the contrary, knowing God's perfection and that he 
will judge everyone's actions should spur Christians to good deeds, 
to what pleases our God (Proverbs 8:13). The fear of the Lord also 
frees believers from all of life's anxieties and worries. Knowing that 
God Almighty is "for us" (Romans 8:31) can keep believers unafraid 
of all earthly powers--people, governments, or the forces of nature 
(Proverbs 3:25-26). God takes care of his own. Ironically, the fear of 
God, in the end, inspires an uncommon courage in the face of the 
vicissitudes of life. [Life Application Commentary] 

  The fear of God is the greatest deterrent for sin (Ex 20:20; 
Pr 16:6). Those who perceive God as a benevolent and gentle 
grandfather will treat their sin superficially. They will worship 
halfheartedly. They will live life on their own terms rather than God's. But a 
reverent fear of holy God will dramatically affect the way a person 
lives. Even though Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ, he feared God 
and knew that one day he would stand in judgment to give an account 
for everything he had done (2Co 5:10). 
  Our world does not applaud fearfulness. We teach our children 
to love God, but not to fear Him. We want to present a loving and 
nonthreatening image of God to nonbelievers in the hope that Christianity will 
be more appealing to them. One of the great condemnations of our 
day may be that we have lost the fear of God. We promote Him as a 
"best friend" who saves us and "lives in our hearts," but we do not 
fear Him. It is true that we are God's adopted children and that we 
are fellow heirs, even friends, with Jesus (Ro 8:16-17; John 
15:14-15), but we are not His equals. He has forgiven us, but we are still 
His creatures. He is God, and we are not! 
  If you find that you have become complacent with God's 
commands and have become comfortable in your sin, you are completely 
isolated from God's holiness. Take time to meditate upon the awesome 
holiness of God and allow the Holy Spirit to instill into your life a 
proper reverence for almighty God (Is 40:12-26). A deep sense of awe is 
essential to knowing God. [Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry and 
Richard Blackaby re 2Co5:11]