Character Blog


By October 14, 2019 No Comments

Hebrews 12:28 “Let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.”

What does it really mean to be reverent? Is it just a matter of displaying respect? According to the original Webster dictionary, as a verb, reverence is “to regard with fear mingled with respect and affection.” So there are two other qualities besides respect that are needed in order for true reverence to be shown: fear and affection.

First of all, fear. What do we know about fear when it comes to God? According to Martin Luther, a leader of the Reformation, there are two types of fear: servile fear and filial fear. Servile fear has to do with being under a harsh master. However, the circumstance of filial fear occurs within the family.  R.C. Sproul writes:

“In this regard, Luther is thinking of a child who has tremendous respect and love for his father or mother and who dearly wants to please them. He has a fear or an anxiety of offending the one he loves, not because he’s afraid of torture or even of punishment, but rather because he’s afraid of displeasing the one who is, in that child’s world, the source of security and love.”

Secondly, affection. Just as the child looks to his father or mother as the source of earthly security and love, so too do we, as Christians, look to our Heavenly Father as the source of our eternal security and love.  He loves us and we return that affection in a multitude of ways! The beginning of the verse from Hebrews states “Let us show gratitude.” That is one of the simplest ways to display our affection for our Creator. Yet as simple as it seems, gratitude is the gateway for a true spirit of reverence.

Call to Action

How can we cultivate a spirit of reverence in our homes?

  • FEAR – consider what type of fear is in your home. Are you a harsh master and your children obey out of fear of torture or punishment? Or are you a source of security and love that produces a healthy fear…one that mirrors our relationship to Christ?
  • RESPECT – consider what areas of respect need to be worked on in order to build reverence. This could be as simple as bowing the head and folding the hands during prayer. What about ways of showing respect to others? Our respect for God should be displayed throughout the day in the way we treat others since they are made in His image.
  • AFFECTION – consider the ways in which you model what affection for God looks like as well as affection for others. Is there gratitude in your home? Is there a genuine spirit of love? Is God given praise and adoration?

People only have true understanding when they look at everything from God’s perspective. Authentic wisdom begins when we understand that God is to be the object of our devotion, our adoration, and our reverence. – RC SPROUL


Tracy LaBreche