A few years back I attended a youth function that showed a DVD focusing on hip hop music and the youth culture. The video was very strong and persuasive. It made you think that any song outside of Amazing Grace equals SIN, SIN , SIN!!! Even I, an adult, was looking over my shoulders and praying I wouldn't die that night. :) Ninety percent of the youth in attendance threw away CDs, books, and vowed to not watch several TV programs. I mean, I definitely agreed with some parts and asked the Lord to run His Gaze over and through me; I even cleaned stuff (I needed to) out of my house. But, after the video, after that evening, there was not a life change like what normally occurs when I've heard REAL truth. Not for me, and not for the teens. The teenagers went through a period of tremendous condemnation for not being able to keep their self-willed vows. And my heart broke. There is a difference between a scare tactic and the fear of the Lord. The Fear of the Lord honors God versus just being scared that I'm going to miss him or go to hell.
The Cookie Jar thievery example highlights the difference between not stealing cookies because it's wrong, and not stealing cookies because I might get caught. Not wanting to get caught has no effect whatsoever on my heart (which God looks at); it makes me legalistic and kinda tell-ish like the Pharisees ("Jesus,they don't wash before eating!"). Or, it makes me envious like the older brother in the prodigal parable. A key point in my walk with God is the scripture, "perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment." My desire to not want to steal from the cookie jar holds regardless of whether if I would get caught or not. I want to not steal because that is settled in my heart and I understand I don't have to steal from My Father.
If I, or anyone for that matter, am spooked that any or every move might be just the move that gets me kicked out of the Lamb's Book of Life, I am not walking in faith. That walk is in fear- and definitely not secure in the very secure promise that I am accepted in the Beloved. I would lack Joy, real Joy, -which results in me becoming a skittish, insecure believer since the joy of the Lord is my strength.
On the other hand, if I have joy because nothing wrong goes in my temple, then I might begin to take credit for "my righteousness" or begin to thank God that I'm not like other people because I fast twice a week and I give a tithe of all I have, etc.
So here's what I think: Any thing that corrupts is dangerous, but I don't believe that fear that should control you. Only the love of God will keep you, and compel you to do more and go deeper. Not the threat of a whupping. Hmm, perhaps Paul meant it when he said, "For by grace you have been saved through faith... not your own doing; it is the gift of God."
But hey, this is my take... :-)