fear of God and love for God…

From the Counsels of Elder Cleopa

hat tip: The Veil

Question: Fr. Cleopa, what connection is there between fear of God and love for God?

Answer: Fear of God, according to the holy fathers as well as the Prophet David, is the “beginning of wisdom” — in other words, the beginning of all virtue; while love for God is the perfection and culmination of virtue. Fear of God, therefore, forms the beginning of salvation, while love for God, which casteth out fear (I John 4:18), is the culmination of salvation, since the one who loves lives only for God who is love (I John 4:8).

But we must not have so much fear of God that is outweighs our love for God. St Basil says that he who does good deeds out of fear of the torments of hell or of punishment, is one who is likened to a slave; he who does good works in order to be repaid — to have his desires fulfilled upon this earth or to be rewarded in heaven, is like a servant who serves his master in order to be compensated with money; but he who does virtuous deeds out of love for God and not because of fear or desire to receive a reward, is a son of God.

So, the one who does virtuous deeds purely out of love has attained the state of perfection and is called a son of God.



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