July 21, 2013 - Fear of God is of two kinds - St. Maximos the Confessor

July 21, 2013

Fear of God is of two kinds – St. Maximos the Confessor

Fear of God is of two kinds. The first is generated in us by the threat of (punishment in) hell. It is through such fear that we develop in due order self-control, patience, hope in God and dispassion; and it is from dispassion that love comes. The second kind of fear is linked with love and constantly produces reverence in the soul, so that it does not grow indifferent to God because of the intimate com­munion of its love.

The first kind of fear is expelled by perfect love when the soul has acquired this and is no longer afraid of punishment (cf. 1 John 4:18). The second kind, as we have already said, is always found united with perfect love. The first kind of fear is referred to in the following two verses: ‘Out of fear of the Lord men shun evil’ (Prov. 16:6), and ‘Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’ (Ps. 110:9). The second kind is mentioned in the following verses: ‘Fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever’ (Ps. 18:9), and ‘There is no want to them that fear Him’ (Ps. 33:9).

1st Century on Love, 81, 82