One of the great problems we face in the Christian life is the fear of man. Notice what John Calvin says regarding proper fear.
He is commenting on Matthew 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (ESV) This verse is part of Jesus’ instructions to the Twelve as He sent them out on their first mission.
If the fear of God is extinguished by the dread of men, is it not evident that we pay greater deference to them than to God himself? Hence it follows, that when we have abandoned the heavenly and eternal life, we reserve nothing more for ourselves than to be like the beasts that perish, (Ps. xlix.12.) God alone has the power of bestowing eternal life, or of inflicting eternal death. We forget God, because we are hurried away by the dread of men. Is it not very evident that we set a higher value on the shadowy life of the body than on the eternal condition of the soul; or rather, that the heavenly kingdom of God is of no estimation with us, in comparison of the fleeting and vanishing shadow of the present life?
What amazes me is how trivial our fear of man is. Very rarely do we face actual physical harm or danger of death (perhaps we are not nearly bold enough in proclaiming Jesus). More often, our fear is related to being embarrassed or made fun of. We fear people thinking we are not nice or loving.
Shouldn’t our fear of God overwhelm these trifles?
Pastor Mike Walters
Source: John Calvin, Commentary on A Harmony of the Evangelists, 1:462 (Baker Edition, Vol.16