But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
But there is forgiveness with thee,.... And with God only; not with angels, nor any of the sons of men; and which flows from his grace and mercy, through the blood of his Son. It appears to be with him by his promise of it in covenant; by appointing his Son to shed his blood for it, and exalting him as a Saviour to give it; by proclaiming it in the Gospel; and by the numerous instances of it, both under the Old and under the New Testament. Or, there is "a propitiation with thee"; as the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions render it: God had found out Christ to be the propitiatory sacrifice for sin, and the ransom of his people; and set him forth in his purposes and decrees for that end; and which was made known by the sacrifices of the law, typical of it; and in the fulness of time he sent him to be the propitiation for it, and he is become so; and has made reconciliation for sin, and reconciled his people to God by the sufferings of death; and reconciled all the divine perfections of justice and holiness, grace and mercy, together, in the salvation of men; and is now an advocate the Father for them, pleading the propitiatory sacrifice of himself before him;
that thou mayest be feared; were it not for pardon, and the hope of it, men would be desperate; and, having no hope, would resolve upon taking their swing of sin, and be entirely negligent of the worship and service of God: was there no forgiveness of sin, there would be no more fear of God among men than there is among devils, for whom there is no forgiveness; there might be dread and trembling, as among them, but no godly fear: yea, if God was strictly to mark iniquity, and not pardon it, there would be none to fear him, all must be condemned and cut off by him; but, in order to secure and preserve his fear among men, he has taken the step he has to pardon sin through the propitiatory sacrifice of his Son; and a discovery, and an application of his grace, teaches men to fear to offend him; influences them to serve him acceptably with reverence and godly fear, and engages them to fear him and his goodness, and him for his goodness's sake, Titus 2:11 Hosea 3:5.