Exodus 20: 20, “Moses said to the people, “Do not not be afraid; for has come in order to test you, and in that the fear of Him may remain on with you, so that you may not sin.” (NASB)
Some people have taken the verse out of context to show that the Law makes us not sin. But if you read if in the context of the whole 26 verses like the Holy Spirit meant you will that the Legalistic avenue is not in the neighborhood.
If you take this chapter after the LORD God has given Israel the Ten Commandments you find the people scared out of their mind. Think of it like this: Three million people are standing at the foot of Mount Sinai and the Voice the Lord is followed by thunder, lighting, and the sound of a trumpet and the mountain is smoking. The last time they saw this was in Egypt and the Lord was dealing with Pharaoh about letting them go free. Therefore, natural Israel was afraid of God. Now let us good back to Genesis 3: 8- 10.
Adam & Eve had just sinned by eating of the Tree and they heard the Sound of the Lord walking in the cool of the day, so they hid themselves from the One that loves them unconditionally. God sees our hiding from Him as sin. Why? The only time we hide is when we have done something wrong.
Picture this: the Children of Israel are about three million and while the Lord is talking to them, ’Thou (thunder) shall (lighting) not (trumpet sounding)…” and this is for every word from the Mouth of the LORD. So with all that and a mountain smoking they took one giant step back and tried to hide themselves behind each other. And the Children of Israel ’elected’ Moses as their Mediator, verse 19.
Now verse 20 makes sense, “Children of Israel don’t be afraid of your God He is showing you Who He is so you would forget Him. The LORD your God wants your reverence and love, don’t hid from Him in your Sin Nature.”
See, just like Adam in the Garden, Israel’s be afraid would cause them to sin by running from the LORD, but we need to run to God because He has the Cure for they Dis-Ease, His Love. As Children of God through Christ Jesus need not to be afraid of God but we do need to have Fear (reverence, adore) of the Lord. As a parent would, you want your child to be afraid of you or love & trust you enough to obey you?