All we have to fear...
A friend of mine challenged my recent "love" blog, pointing to how the Bible tells us to live and act in fear of God. This friend sought – in practice, if not in meaning – to place such fear above love.
There is a biblical foundation for fearing God, along with a logical, rational one. God is, after all, supreme, as we in our arrogance wish to be but never will. We are wise to fear Him, should we ever witness His wrath. This also scripture tells us – for fear of God is indeed the beginning of wisdom.
Simple biology also supports a healthy sense and use of fear towards anything, for this emotion plays a role in our learning process. Fear is a fundamental teacher in life, a tool to raise alertness, caution, protection, and survival. It encourages a respect for authority – another reason why the Bible, in its Old Testament guidance of spiritual children, tells us to fear God.
But as sometimes happens, such verses mark an element of the Bible all too often taken out of context, misunderstood, or abused. One many Christians have stood upon while forgetting Christ Himself.
As Timothy told us, God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.
Yes, we are all sinners. As such you may live in fear of God, who will indeed condemn you to an eternity in Hell if you choose to abide in sin. Or you may accept Christ and live in love, knowing He died on the cross expressly to wash away our sins once an individual believes in Him. Do that, and Heaven awaits. The New Testament assures us of this, over and over.
If therefore you believe in Christ and accept Him, you live not in fear, but love. Those few New Testament verses about fearing God reflect that. They target souls that never rise above their spiritual childhood to achieve that sound mind Timothy wrote of. Souls that little nurture a personal relationship with Christ. They grow little through prayer, reflection, or a depth of scriptural wisdom. They never master their God-granted power to choose what we as individuals will do, what we will believe. Or with that power they actually refuse to believe, or try to fool themselves and others with claims of loving and following Christ, all the while clinging instead to this world and its lures.
For that is relatively common, you know — encountering those who claim to believe, yet never truly commit their hearts. Some actually do believe yet reject Christ. A few even dare oppose Him. That, too, is not uncommon. The Bible tells us that demons acknowledge Jesus as the son of God, but they do not accept Him as their savior. Instead, they rebel.
Here's the bottom line. If you truly accept Christ and commit your life to Him, there is no need or desire to fear God because you know – with everything you are – that He has washed away your sins. This faith establishes the fundamental fact of your life, the foundational stone that upholds you when events would challenge your heart and disrupt your godly connections. Since you live in love, you go forward in obedience and deference to Him every second of every day, not from fear of stumbling or as a safety net against an eternity in hell, but by loving choice. Every thought draws from that bedrock belief – love in purpose, love in action, love in spirit.
That is what Christianity is all about. That is the heart of the New Testament.