Fear and love embrace in the godly

American evangelicalism oozes this notion that fear and love never embrace, and it comes out all over the place. It comes out in how we’ve reduced the cross of Jesus Christ to a sentimental emblem of our own loveliness—that’s what American evangelicals have done with the cross, you understand—rather than a gruesome, terrible reality of our sin and God’s judgment and holiness. It comes out in the way that we think about leadership in the church and in the home. It comes out in the way that we think about worship and how we worship, and how all of our worship is soft and sentimental and easy and has no place for fear and trembling. This idea that fear and love never embrace oozes out of us everywhere, and I don’t care what church you’re in or what books you read, if you’re alive in 21st century America you have caught this notion that fear and love are mutually exclusive—it’s in the air that you breathe.

In other words, what we have been doing in the American church the last 150-200 years is that we have innoculated our converts against the fear of the Lord. We ourselves have been innoculated against the fear of the Lord. Because the evangelism of the modern evangelical church never starts with the law of God and the holiness of God and the demands of God and the wrath of God and the certain, inevitable, terrible judgment of God, instead we start with the love of God and the mercy of God and the forgiveness of God. What does that lead to? What kind of a Christian does that kind of evangelism produce? What kind of church does that kind of evangelism produce?

The 2010 ClearNote Fellowship Conference was devoted to proclaiming the biblical truth that, in the godly, fear and love embrace. Pastor Stephen Baker’s sermon was titled Fear and Love Embrace in the Godly.

The issue of the fear of God came up personally for me earlier this year. At the Westminster family retreat this past spring, our speaker was Dr. Tom Wood of Church Multiplication Ministries, Inc.

At one point in one of the teaching sessions, Dr. Wood asserted that fear of God has no place in the life of the Christian!

He developed this with a quote from Steve Brown:

Love, not fear, is the motivating force behind obedience. If we ever substitute fear for love, we have moved into something that isn’t Christian.

(Emphasis mine)

Now of course we cannot substitute fear for love, but the true Christian most certainly does fear God–and indeed it is the one who has no fear of God who has “moved into something that isn’t Christian.” Holiness (without which no man will see the Lord) and the fear of God are inextricably bound together.

Let’s read or listen as Pastor Baker brings us the Word of God concerning fear and love in the godly. And may we all learn to perfect holiness in the fear of God.

(This is sermon 2 in a series; see also sermon 1, sermon 3, and sermon 4.)


Outline

Introduction
“Fear and love are incompatible”
The words of God mean what they say
Sources of the error
1. Our doctrine
2. Our fathers’ example
3. Our evangelism
The consequence: natural men who love nobody but themselves
Godliness and the fear of God
Comfort, peace, joy, love, and the fear of God
Conclusion

Introduction

Please turn with me to 2 Corinthians chapter 6, starting in verse 14.

The theme of our conference is In the Godly, Fear and Love Embrace. Last night was Fear and Love Embrace on the Cross, this morning is Fear and Love Embrace in the Godly. And that will make sense to you, I hope, by the time we’re done.

2 Corinthians 6:14,

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.

And then 7:1,

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Let’s pray together.

Father, I pray that You would use Your Word this morning to waken us up out of the slumber and the sluggishness of our sin and our coldness of heart. Cause us to fear You. Cause us to love You. Cause us to be godly men and women. Lord, have mercy on us now. In Christ’s name we pray, amen.

This passage that I’ve just read to you contains one of the most unfortunate chapter breaks in all of Scripture. Remember that the chapter and verse markings in your Bible are not inspired by God, they’re not put there by the original authors; they’re added much, much later. And this chapter break between chapter 6, verse 18 and chapter 7, verse 1 has the potential for undermining, or at least obscuring, the truth of God.

Do you see how that could happen?

On Tuesday you’re reading 2 Corinthians chapter 6 and you read God’s commands to be separate from unbelievers; you read these amazing promises at the end of chapter 6, where God Himself says,

“I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE…I will welcome you…I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.

And you read those promises on Tuesday. Then you put your Bible down, you go about your day, and then on Wednesday (or Thursday or Friday or next Tuesday, depending on how disciplined you are) you pick up where you left off in 2 Corinthians 7. And so you turn to chapter 7 verse 1 and you read,

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

And you just keep on reading right into chapter 7.

Now what just happened?

Unless you have a very good memory or unless you love the importance of little words like “therefore” (and all of us should love the little words in Scripture like “therefore”, because they tell us what it means), you just missed the whole point of a powerful passage of God’s Word. It’s the whole point! What this chapter break obscures for us is that the point of 6:14-18 is chapter 7, verse 1. Whatever comes after the “therefore” is always the point!

So what is the point of giving us these promises at the end of chapter 6? The point is chapter 7 verse 1,

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

“Fear and love are incompatible”

Now why does that seem strange to us? It seems strange because the Holy Spirit puts two things together that we want to keep infinitely apart. The Holy Spirit puts together the rich promises of the gospel of the grace of God and the command to fear God. And the Holy Spirit does not just happen to mention these two things in close proximity to one other—this is not just a random, meaningless happenstance. No, the Holy Spirit binds the word promises and the word fear together inseparably. The Holy Spirit says, “Since you have these gospel promises, these promises of the grace of God, these promises of the merciful fatherhood of God—since you have these promises, use these promises to fear the Lord.” And that does not make sense to us, does it?

It doesn’t make sense to us because we have been taught that the gospel of God, the grace of God and the fear of God are mutually exclusive. We have been taught that they do not and cannot go together. We want either/or, either fear or love but not both.

And so we hear about the fear of the Lord and we immediately protest. We say something like this: “But 1 John 4:18 says,

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

We say, “See, there it is: fear and love are incompatible. They can’t go together.”

Or we say, “Romans 8:15 says,

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” – Romans 8:15 NASB

“See, we have not received a spirit of slavery that leads to fear, we’ve received a spirit that cries out, ‘Abba! Father!’ Therefore fear and love are incompatible–they can’t go together.”

Well, what do we make of that?

There is a kind of fear that is not godly because it has no faith and no love in it. This is the fear of the trembling demons that James talks about. And that is obviously not what Scripture is talking about when it commands us to fear the Lord. Scripture does not command us to have a slavish fear that has no love and no faith in it. The fear of the Lord is filled with love and filled with faith, in the godly.

Now, if we’ve not actually been taught that fear and love never mix, we have certainly caught that from the atmosphere of American evangelicalism.

American evangelicalism oozes this notion that fear and love never embrace, and it comes out all over the place. It comes out in how we’ve reduced the cross of Jesus Christ to a sentimental emblem of our own loveliness—that’s what American evangelicals have done with the cross, you understand—rather than a gruesome, terrible reality of our sin and God’s judgment and holiness. It comes out in the way that we think about leadership in the church and in the home. It comes out in the way that we think about worship and how we worship, and how all of our worship is soft and sentimental and easy and has no place for fear and trembling. This idea that fear and love never embrace oozes out of us everywhere, and I don’t care what church you’re in or what books you read, if you’re alive in 21st century America you have caught this notion that fear and love are mutually exclusive—it’s in the air that you breathe.

The words of God mean what they say

How many times have you heard that when the Bible speaks of fearing the Lord it’s merely talking about reverence and awe? Have you heard that often? The problem with that is that when the Holy Spirit breathed out the words of Scripture He used particular words that actually mean something. And in Hebrew, the three words usually translated “fear” really do mean fear. Or even terror, or dread.

For example, Psalm 119:120, David says,

My flesh trembles for fear of You,
And I am afraid of Your judgments.

Those words mean exactly what they say. He trembles for fear, he’s afraid.

There are other words in Hebrew for mere respect, or reverence, or honor. For example, the words in the command in Exodus 20, “Honor your father and mother,” that’s a word that means “honor.” It’s not the word for “fear.” In Greek, the word for fear or terror is phobeō, from where we get “phobia.” How many of you have phobias? My wife is deathly afraid of spiders. That word phobia comes from the Greek word “fear.” And there’s a different word in Greek for honor.

And so even with this distinction in both Hebrew and Greek, so many Christians still assert that fear merely means reverence. They don’t like the word fear: “It means reverence, it means respect.” As if God through His Holy Spirit could not select the right word, hundreds of times. Some would rather believe that than to believe that we must fear God. And so the tragedy of modern American church is that we are no longer capable of being terrified. The church should become a place of terror again. It should be a place where God continually has to tell us, as He continually tells His people throughout Scripture, “Fear not. Don’t be afraid.” But we’ve created a church where that never has to be said to us by God.

Sources of the error

Now where does this come from? Why do we as American evangelicals tone down the fear of the Lord? There are several reasons:

1. Our doctrine

One is a doctrinal reason. There’s a passage in the Old Testament, Psalm 19:9, that says

The fear of the Lord is pure,
Enduring forever.

The Scofield Reference Bible contains the system of doctrine that for the past 150 years has shaped the way that Christians in America read the Bible. What do you think the Scofield Reference Bible says in the footnote under Psalm 19:9, “The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever”? It says, “‘The fear of the LORD’ is a phrase of Old Testament piety.”

Now what does that clearly imply? What it clearly implies is that the fear of the Lord is the characteristic of Old Testament piety as distinguished from New Testament piety. In other words, the fear of the Lord was an Old Testament law thing, but in the New Testament we’re under grace, so we don’t fear God any more—we just love Him.

The problem with that, of course, is that it’s utterly and completely unbiblical. It’s completely wrong to assert that the fear of the Lord is a uniquely Old Testament thing and the love of the Lord is a uniquely New Testament thing.

Just some examples of why this is utterly wrong. Luke 12:4-5, Jesus Christ speaking says,

I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!

As I was growing up I would read that passage and think it was talking about the devil, as Max was talking about last night—this strange kind of popular notion that the one who casts people into hell is the devil. Completely false. This is talking about God.

Acts 9:31 says,

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.

There’s all kinds of things in that verse that we don’t like to put together, right? Peace, built up, comfort, growth—the fear of the Lord is the center of it all.

Philippians 2:12,

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling

Hebrews 4:1,

Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.

1 Peter 1:17,

If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth

1 Peter 2:17,

Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

How can anyone who can read say that the fear of the Lord is a uniquely Old Testament thing and the love of God is a uniquely New Testament thing? It makes no sense.

So contrary to Scofield, “the fear of the Lord” is not a phrase of Old Testament piety; “the fear of the Lord” is simply a phrase of piety, period. But we’ve allowed ourselves to be told that the New Testament, that New Testament Christians should not fear the Lord.

2. Our fathers’ example

So that’s a doctrinal reason. Another reason we can’t fathom both fearing and loving God is that most of us have grown up with authorities who were either tyrants or pushovers. Our teachers, our parents were either self-centered autocrats who cared for nothing but their own will—they were tyrants—or they were weak men who pandered to us and who loved themselves too much to say no to us—they were pushovers. And so most of us were never taught to see the wrath of a righteous God in the eyes of our father and still run to Him for comfort when we were in pain.

The same is true in our churches. We have no experience of pastors and elders who would discipline us out of deep concern and tender love for us. We have no grid for understanding that, and so we have been trained from our earliest days that like oil and water, fear and love don’t mix. It’s one or the other—you either fear a man or you love him. And we’ve become men and women who have no fear of God before our eyes.

3. Our evangelism

A third reason that evangelical churches are filled with people who do not fear the Lord has to do with how we evangelize. Think of the popular evangelistic appeals that have been used for the last 150 years: it’s some variation of “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” That was boiled down to that one line somewhat recently, but that has been the content of evangelism for a very long time. The evangelical church has almost completely abandoned what our forefathers called “law work.” We have abandoned the kind of preaching and evangelism that strips people bare, that holds up the holy law of God to unregenerate people and says, “This is the standard, and you have broken it. This is the standard, you must keep it or you will die.” We’ve stopped declaring to unregenerate people that there is a holy God in heaven who has holy laws that they must obey. And we’ve been so afraid of being called legalists that we have completely abandoned the kind of preaching and evangelism that in the past led to great awakenings and lasting conversions.

Our evangelism is all about forgiveness and heaven and wonderful plans. We’ve stopped telling unregenerate people that God requires them to obey. We’ve stopped telling them that God says,

Let the wicked forsake his way
And the unrighteous man his thoughts

We’ve stopped telling them what Jesus Himself declares,

“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

We’ve forgotten the Apostle Paul’s own testimony of how he came to know God, in Galatians 2:19,

For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God.

The law came and killed me, Paul says, it stripped me bare, it showed me how empty I was, how helpless I was, how weak I was, how wretched—it killed me. It left me completely hopeless, so that my only hope is to turn to God for mercy.

In other words, what we have been doing in the American church the last 150-200 years is that we have innoculated our converts against the fear of the Lord. We ourselves have been innoculated against the fear of the Lord. Because the evangelism of the modern evangelical church never starts with the law of God and the holiness of God and the demands of God and the wrath of God and the certain, inevitable, terrible judgment of God, instead we start with the love of God and the mercy of God and the forgiveness of God.

The consequence: natural men who love nobody but themselves

What does that lead to? What kind of a Christian does that kind of evangelism produce? What kind of church does that kind of evangelism produce?

In his book The Old Evangelicalism, Iain Murray deals with this over and over and over again. In the first chapter, called Preaching and Awakening, he writes this:

Where the gospel is presented solely as forgiveness, only as a change of status before God, it may appeal to the self-interest of the unregenerate. A person may “believe” that message and still be content to live an unchanged life. He becomes a “Christian”, and yet knows no moral, ethical revolution. But where the conscience is more thoroughly dealt with by the Law of God, a larger need comes into view, and one which forgiveness alone would not answer: there must also be a change of nature, a deliverance from self, a new life. The desire of a true convert is that he may never sin again. Such a person will pray as William Wilberforce once prayed, ‘O God, deliver me from myself!’ It is true that under any type of preaching, conversions will occur that do not last, but the danger of the superficial and the temporary is vastly increased when the message of holiness is treated as though it has no relevance to conversion.

He’s saying is what we get when we don’t speak of the law of God is superficial, temporary conversions. He says,

It was a bad day for the churches when evangelistic meetings and holiness meetings were separated, as though the latter could come at some later stage of discipleship. This happened when the preaching of the law ceased to be regarded as part of evangelism, and with that omission came a disappearing sense of sin.

Think of our churches—think of our country.

That in turn led to the idea of conversion not as deliverance from the power of sin, but as something much less. And when conviction of sin was found to be absent in gospel hearers, other reasons too often came to be proposed to justify their need of faith in Christ.

Like, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!”

The result has been converts who never knew that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and who never learned to say, ‘O how I love your law!’ As the numbers of such people grew, so the churches became little different in life from the world.

That explains us.

One more quote that I want to read that explains us and our country and our churches. This is Murray quoting another man, Thomas Scott, who was an English pastor, late 1700s, early 1800s, a convert of John Newton. (John Newton is the man who wrote Amazing Grace, the old slave trader who became a Christian and a pastor.) Thomas Scott says,

Leave out the holy character of God, the holy excellence of His Law, the holy condemnation to which transgressors are doomed, the holy loveliness of the Savior’s character, the holy nature of redemption, the holy tendency of Christ’s doctrine and the holy tempers and conduct of all true believers, then dress up a scheme of religion of this unholy sort:

Represent mankind in a pitiable condition rather through misfortune than crime. Speak much of Christ’s bleeding love to them, of His agonies in the Garden and on the cross without showing the need or the nature of satisfaction for sin. Speak of His present glory and of His compassion for poor sinners, of the freeness with which He dispenses pardons, of the privileges which believers enjoy here, and of the happiness and glory reserved for them hereafter.

Clog this with nothing about regeneration or sanctification, or represent holiness as somewhat else than conformity to the holy character and Law of God and you make up a plausible gospel calculated to humor the pride, soothe the conscience, engage the heart and raise the affections of natural men who love nobody but themselves.

That’s us. It’s exactly it. That is what is accepted as normal in the church today. And so when we come to a passage of Scripture like this one—2 Corinthians 6, chapter 7 verse 1—it’s almost inevitable that we miss the connection between chapter 6 and verse 1 of chapter 7, because we are trained to miss it.

Godliness and the fear of God

Now, with all of that in mind, I want to read this passage again. He says, in 2 Corinthians 6:14,

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

God has given you His sweet and gracious and magnificent gospel promises so that you can use those promises to deepen and intensify your fear! This is exactly the opposite of all of our assumptions today—we assume that God gives us His sweet and gracious and magnificent gospel promises so that we can use those promises to lessen and diminish our fear. Which also means that we assume God gives us His sweet and gracious, wonderful, magnificent gospel promises so that we can use those promises to lessen and diminish our obedience.

That’s what it all boils down to. Because even the fear of God is not the ultimate end in 2 Corinthians 7:1. The ultimate end, the goal the Holy Spirit is driving us to, is obedience.

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

God gives us His gospel promises so that we will fear Him, and He commands us to fear Him so that we will obey Him. We must use His gospel promises to cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit and to perfect holiness in the fear of God—which is simply to say that fear and love embrace in the godly.

There can be no godliness apart from both fearing and loving God. And that’s why the Holy Spirit describes the depth of depravity with these words in Romans 3:18,

THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.

That’s the worst statement you could possibly say about someone: “There is no fear of God.”

Now we’re used to seeing the connection between godliness and the love of God, aren’t we? Jesus says,

“If you love me, you will keep My commandments.”

And He says in John 14,

“He who does not love Me does not keep My words”

We can deal with that. We think of obedience springing from love all the time.

What’s the connection though, between godliness and the fear of God? Listen to these Scriptures.

Proverbs 8:13,

The fear of the LORD is to hate evil

That’s what it is! Bottom line, the essence of the fear of the Lord, is to hate evil.

And Proverbs 14:27 says,

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,
That one may avoid the snares of death.

If you fear the Lord you will avoid the snares of death.

Proverbs 16:6,

By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for,
And by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil.

Proverbs 19:23,

The fear of the LORD leads to life,
So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.

Over and over again, the connection between the fear of the Lord and godliness is made perfectly clear. “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.”

Now what does that look like? Can you think of any person in Scripture that that looks like?

How about Joseph? Remember what happens with Joseph: he’s in Potiphar’s house and Potiphar’s wife repeatedly tempts him to sexual immorality with her. And what is his defense against that, ultimately? Do you remember what he says?

“How can I do this great evil and sin against God?”

I fear the Lord—how can I possibly do that? And so he ran.

It looks like what Max talked about last night from Psalm 51, King David, after his sin against Bathsheba and her husband,

I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.

It’s the fear of the Lord.

Do your sins cause you to tremble before a holy God, or have you twisted Scripture in such a way that the gospel makes you without compunction of conscience? Have you twisted the gospel so that you use it not to fight your sin but to make a truce with your sin? Then there is no fear of God before your eyes.

Comfort, peace, joy, love, and the fear of God

Now what always goes along with the fear of the Lord?

Listen to these words. Acts 9:31,

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.

Comfort, peace.

Psalm 47:1-2,

O clap your hands, all peoples;
Shout to God with the voice of joy.
For the LORD Most High is to be feared,
A great King over all the earth.

Joy and fear.

Psalm 130:1-4,

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.
If You, LORD, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.

That is fear and love kissing, embracing, going intimately hand-in-hand.

Psalm 103,

The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more,
And its place acknowledges it no longer.
But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
To those who keep His covenant
And remember His precepts to do them.

This is a fear that is filled with love, filled with comfort, filled with peace.

Deuteronomy 10:12,

Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul

Conclusion

If you do not fear the Lord then you do not love Him. You cannot love Him if you don’t fear Him. And you cannot fear Him in this way unless you love Him. And if you neither fear nor love Him then you cannot serve Him with all of your heart and with all of your soul. In the godly, fear and love embrace.

May God help us to escape the poison that is all around us in the church, so that we can love and fear Him and serve Him aright.

Let’s pray.

Dear God, please have mercy on us. And I pray that You would open our eyes to the fog that is everywhere around us, that we are so quick to breathe in ourselves, Lord. And cause us to be a people who fears the Lord. Have mercy, O Father, we pray. In Christ’s name, amen.

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