Q. Places like Psalm 25:12 & 14 speak of the fear of the Lord. Is it by fear then that we ultimately look toward Him for salvation?
A. According to Strong’s Concordance it’s a reverent fear, which I think is more like the respect we feel toward a powerful dignitary.
Even so, in the Old Testament it was the fear of loss that ultimately motivated most people. Violations of God’s Law were not tolerated and justice was often swift and decisive. The security of their relationship with God was only good for a year at a time, and had to be renewed every fall on Yom Kippur. Blessings were contingent upon obedience and could be quickly withdrawn.
In the New Testament it’s our faith in the promise of gain that drives us, because through the cross God has reconciled us to Himself and made peace with us (Colossians 1:19-20). In coming to Him we gain a better life here and for all of eternity. Romans 2:4 says it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance, showing how the cross changed things from God’s perspective.
Fear and faith cannot occupy the same mind at the same time. 1 John 4:18 says, “Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” The Lord is the only source of perfect love. His promise of forgiveness drives away our fear of punishment and gives us peace. His gift of the Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance (Ephes. 1:13-14) gives us life long security.
In coming to Him we are assured of a better life, now and forever. We really have nothing to lose.