Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 2 Corinthians 5:11
Please read 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:11 today to gain context for our verse today. Paul knows the fear of the Lord. It is a motivation for his ministry. Because he knows the fear of the Lord, he seeks to persuade others, for them to know the fear of the Lord that is indeed the beginning of wisdom. This verse immediately follows the verse on judgment. He knows he is accountable to God for what he has done with the salvation and righteousness he has received. The psalmist tells us “But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.” (130:4). The fear of the Lord for the believer is a productive fear. It is an empowering fear. It recognizes the terrifying power and awesomeness of God, while at the same time recognizing that in love, he has made himself approachable on his terms. The fear of the Lord sees God’s righteous wrath and unconditional love in a way that will not allow us to take advantage of it. Instead, it motivates the follower of Jesus to live out the truth of a life redeemed by the power of this awesome God. Paul is helping the Corinthians see that the message of the cross changes us to be aware of the Lord in a different way. We fear him differently. It is no longer the paralyzing fear of his wrath. God knows Paul. Paul can rest in who he is in Christ. 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 makes it clear that Paul trusts the judgment he will receive from the Lord because he trusts the Lord to be righteous in his judgment. He lives in freedom now, not concerned about how others judge him or even how he judges himself, confident that when the light discloses the purposes of his heart (1 Corinthians 4:5), he will receive his reward for his faithful service—his ministry. That motivates him to make the message of the cross known to everyone he meets. How does the fear of the Lord motivate you in your day-to-day life as you anticipate the amazing future that awaits you?