Fear and the Christian
by Tony Warren
Is the fear of God, or the fear of man ever justified for Christians? This question comes up frequently and is most often answered by theologians with a resounding, no. They make the claim that in the New Covenant we do not need to fear God, and that only the Old Covenant taught the fear of God. This is clearly unbiblical, as even a summary examination of New Covenant scriptures will attest. The New Covenant complements and enlightens the old, it does not deny or contend with it.
In order to give the question a complete, thorough and Biblical answer we must first define the word fear, and then apply it in the light of the scriptures. The answer is really dependent on just how we are using the term, because the Bible defines the word fear in two diverse ways. God speaks of fear both as something which is sinful, and as something which is an evidence of godliness and wisdom. There is Godly fear which comes from true belief, and then there is the fear which comes from unbelief. In unbelief fear is nothing more than an emotion caused by the expectation of impending peril. But in those who believe, it should be the filial and healthy fear in awe of the Almighty omnipotent father, who has power to bring about such peril and terror.
The non-Christian should fear in totality, for in this life he is but a breath away from knowing that impending peril he'll face at the hands of an angry God. This world is all that he has, and so he has 'good reason' to fear leaving it. In truth, he has sold his soul for a few years of carnal and temporal pleasures in the flesh. By his rebellion he has given up eternity with God, and will have to face the judgment throne, where he will receive the wages of hist sin (Romans 6:23). It is a terrible price to pay for the fleeting pleasures of rebellious living. Indeed, those who are in unbelief should rightly fear. As it is written:
On the other hand, the true Christian should have assurance, and no fear of judgment in that sense, but a healthy filial fear of the Almighty God. Some Christians do not understand that what is called Godly fear, is both normal and good. The most righteous and Godly prophets trembled at the presence of the Lord. Because they understood the Omnipotent, Omniscient, Glorious Sovereign God whom they were standing before. Thus how could they not fear? By contrast, it is 'this fear' that some who call themselves Christian today, lack. This lack of awe, proper respect and reverence is based on man's self respect, pride, and arrogance, and manifests itself most often in his 'unconscionable' wresting or twisting of God's Word. Only one who has a lack of Godly fear can 'without conscience' wrest, ignore, or rationalize God's Word away. It is a blatant disrespect (lack of fear) of God. i.e., the Holy almighty God speaks, and yet some people have no fear of simply ignoring what He has said, or of disobeying what He has commanded. This is the lack of Godly fear which the scriptures declare that the wicked have.
- "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God!"
The righteous have personal knowledge of God by His Spirit, and they know and believe in His righteous justice. Therefore there is no way for us to live a holy and obedient life without this healthy fear of God. True belief is in knowing that we are all sinners 'unworthy' to stand before God, thus we naturally have a fear of God. Not that we are sitting in abject terror, but that in our weakness, we know it is only by God's Love and that we stand, therefore do we love and are in awe and fear unto repentance to listen with an ear to obey God's commands. True love [agape] is worked out in obedience to almighty God. By contrast, the unrighteous make up excuses 'not to' obey God's Word. Whether they wrest, twist, rationalize it away, or they simply decide that they are just going to do whatever is right in their own eyes, it is all a manifestation of a lack of fear of almighty God and a testimony to their foolish and obstinate heart.
- "The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that There is no fear of God before his eyes".
The fool (that is to say, the man who lacks sound judgment and makes unwise decisions), doesn't fear. He despises or shows his contempt for God's Word of wisdom by his disobedience. God's instruction is ignored because he wants to do whatever seems right to him. This is the exact opposite of true belief. By Grace of God they have the fear which is the the beginning of wisdom, and so that they humbly surrender to the instruction of God's Word.
- "The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."
How many times have you quoted scripture to someone (word for word), and yet their retort to you is, 'that's just your opinion.' These are those who despise (have contempt for) God's Word in their heart. They may twist it, call it interpretation, or simply refuse to be instructed by it. But either course is borne of their pride because they don't really fear God, thus His Words are unto them are no more than man's words. They treat it as if it was just an argument put forth by any other man, rather than the Holy commandments of the living God. To those who have no fear of God, His Words are not something to be strictly obeyed, they are something that can be 'gotten around' with a little hard work. You quote word for word saying, 'thus saith the Lord,' and they will reply with something like '..I don't take it that way,' or ..we can't understand that exactly the way it's written.' They have no reverential fear in making what is true, untrue, or of rationalizing away doctrines by deceit.
- "The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility."
1st Timothy 4:2
This is a state of the heart which does not fear God. Therefore there is no conscience bothering them when they depart from sound doctrines. They aren't really looking to learn the truth of scripture, they are looking for justification of ideas and philosophies which they have already formulated. They hate God's truth, they want their own which is much more palatable. And because they choose not to fear God, nor to be humble to receive his instruction, they are those without knowledge.
- "Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;"
We see all throughout the world that those who do not fear God have a knowledge which is grounded in the precepts of men, where they are 'ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. -2nd Timothy 3:7.' It is an arrogance and pride where they have no real desire to learn the truth of the Word, they simply want to perpetuate their own beliefs while not feeling guilty about it. Many have made God into their 'Super Buddy' where He winks at their unrighteousness, and doesn't really care much about doctrine or their keeping His Word faithfully. Those who fear God and seek to be faithful to His Word they erroneously label legalistic. When there is no reverential fear, contradicting God's Word (Contradicting God) isn't anything to worry about. They reason that we're all Christians and we all will be forgiven. But that is simply the hardened heart of rebellion, not the touched heart of recognition and repentance. The fear of the Lord is the recognition of the horribleness of the sins which we commit against Him. It's coming to realize that the Almighty God, the creator of Heaven and earth, is not 'a man' to be taken lightly. Shall we disrespect God and not fear? The obedient have a heart to humbly surrender to God's Word, but the rebellious have a heart that will not fear, nor submit to it. As those spoken of in the book of Jeremiah:
- "For that they hate knowledge, and did not choose the Fear of the Lord."
Instead of them in righteousness saying, let us fear this God of creation, and keep His commandments, they say let us make God's Word conform to what our teacher's say, or what is right in our own eyes, or what is our Church traditions. In this they place no more respect for God, than they do for these teachers which they place in the seat of His authority. This verse tells why this is. Because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs. 1:7), but fools despise the wisdom in the instruction of the Word. True knowledge isn't from secular books, it's from the Holy Bible via the Holy Spirit. Shall we call the Spirit that teaches the Word false, and then wonder why we are not taught? Shall we not fear God, and then expect reward for our lack of reverence? This is folly. All scripture clearly proclaims that righteous men fear God. Verse upon verse, the statements consistently tell the same story. Godly men fear, while the ungodly are puffed up in their own vanity. And most certainly not just in the Old Covenant.
- "Fear not Me? saith the Lord: will ye not tremble at My presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass it.
- But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.
- neither say they IN THEIR HEART, let us now Fear the Lord of God that giveth rain.."
2nd Corinthians 7:1
- "Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied."
We find that not only is the fear of God taught in the Old Covenant scriptures, but abundantly in the New Covenant scriptures as well. It is a mainstay, and is a basic and necessary trait of the spiritual life of the true believer.
- "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
Fear of the World, and of Men
In our comparing scripture with scripture, and taking the whole of it into consideration, we must finally confess that yes, we who are Saved should have a certain fear of God. But should we be filled with the fear of man, or of what's going on in the world? Should we be anxious about the state of the world, or be in fear of what man might do to us?
God says we are not to be careful [merimnao] or anxious about anything. In other words, we are not to fear or worry about what man might do to us, or about what we have or don't have, or about what we might need tomorrow. If we have need, we are to pray to God asking earnestly and humbly about it. We pray requesting help or deliverance from any bad situations. We pray requesting what we need, we make known to God whatever we wan, and if it be His will, He will furnish it. If not, we pray, '..so be it, Thy will be done in all things.' In either case, He will give us peace of mind and keep us stout of heart in Christ Jesus.
- "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
- And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
We should not fear the uncertainties, the things of this world, or what man can do to us, because Christ conquers those fears in His love. We need only leave them nailed to the cross with the rest of our sins. When Jesus makes us free, we should be free from our worldly fears and any anxiety which comes from them. Because when you get right down to it, ultimately, worldly fear is nothing more than 'sin.' Praise God He knows that we are but clay, imperfect beings, and all those sins have been paid for as well. Someone famous once said that, 'the only thing that we should fear, is fear itself.' That's a very catchy phrase, but it's inaccurate as far as Christians go. The only thing that we should fear is God almighty who rains terror on those who do not fear Him. It is not a fear that we believe we will be judged of Him. As those in belief, we have faith and assurance that this cannot happen. It is a fear in recognition of just who God is in all His omnipotence and Glory. It is a different kind of fear than the wicked have. Love has cast out that type of fear of judgment for us, but we have a reverential filial fear knowing what might have been if not for the love of God which He has manifested for us in Christ. It is this love wherein we in Christ do not fear God (John 6:20). Yet in another sense, how can there be true love without the fear knowing we have escaped judgment of the almighty God by no merit of our own, but by His sovereign good will. I believe that true love of the Saviour is manifested in our terror of that from which we have been Saved from. It is only this 'perfect' love of Christ, which has us fear the almighty God, and yet which casts out the fear of this world, and of condemnation.
1st John 4:17-19
This is the verses which some Christians misunderstand, and assume means Christians should never have fear of God. But of course, that would contradict so many other scriptures that it is an untenable view. This verse means that because He lives, we live. Thus 'in His love' have we no fear. Many there are who live in abject fear, tormented by their apprehension. We do not have this type fear. I have seen professed Christians become paralyzed by fear of the things going on in this world, and others by their fear of judgment. But we are not to make ourselves prisoners in our own homes because of the fear of man. Nor as believers are we to fear condemnation, for there is now none for us. We have a job to do, which is to bring the gospel of truth to a world in desperate need. And we should never allow fear to get in the way of fulfilling our evangelical commission. If you are in Christ, there is no one in this world that can take away from you what God has given. Not by reviling, or imprisonment or even death. Humanly speaking, we all have some times of fear, but to fear is sin which illustrates a lack of faith in God's promises. Praise God that all our sins were nailed to the cross, so even in our weakness in unfaithfulness, we abide. What are we not to fear? What type fear does God's love cast out?
- "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
- There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
- We love him, because he first loved us."
Here we have illustrated the two types of fear we are talking about. The fear which the unbeliever has, verses the fear of those who respect God. When God says, fear not him who can destroy the body, but fear him who can destroy both body and soul in Hell, that is a command, not a suggestion. We need not fear man, but need to have a healthy fear of God. Those who do not, manifest this by their lack of fear in their disobedience. And again, this is not the old Covenant. Once we are Saved, we don't need to walk around in this world in fear, because we are a new creation born from above. We become citizens of God's Kingdom, and this world is no longer our real home. Our real home is in Heaven and we are just pilgrims and sojourners here. We then have Peace and Safety within ourselves, because we are safe and secure in Christ.
- "And Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather Fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
- "..for He saith, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will NOT Fear what man shall do unto me."
Many Christians today are so worried about what man might do to them (fear fed by the glut of information, unbalanced portrayals, distortion, and often hysteria) that it bridges on paranoia. We as Christians should never be in a state of biting our nails or pulling out my hair worrying about what someone might do to us, because our eyes should be on Christ, not on ourselves or this world. If I am a faithful witness of the gospel truth, even if one should kill me, ultimately, it is a glorious thing. For Christ is still with us even then, and will never leave us. I for one am not staying awake at night worrying if a burglar is going to come while I sleep, nor am I running to the corner store to buy a gun to protect my worldly possessions. Sure, I lock my doors at night, but not because I am scared to death for my life, but because I'm not foolish. Likewise, I look both ways before I cross the street, not because I'm afraid to die, but because I'm not foolish, or suicidal. Fear is sin. If the Christian should have fear of anything but God, He is in sin. He is automatically in a state of mind that is not glorifying to God.
1st Corinthians 10:31
When our state of mind is wrong, our thinking will be wrong. If you spend all your time watching the news, thinking about all those bad people you see, and worrying about being robbed, then you are living 'as the world' and are wasting God's time. Your eyes are on the wrong person. That's not to say that we should not care about ourselves, our family, or our home, that is to say we should not let fears consume us. We should put ourselves in a state of mind where we think on righteous things, not the horrors which might befall us. The mind of Christ.
- "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
These are the things we should think on, Christ is the person we should have our eyes on, not ourselves. When God says think on good things, and we think of bad things instead, we are in transgression of the Word. When God says do all to the Glory of God and we spend even one second doing something that is not to the glory of God, we are sinning. Again, praise the Lord all those sins are paid for, else none of us would get to heaven. But the point here is, we are not to spend our lives looking to the sword or to the gun or to bars or to electronics for our security. There is no security in bars or weaponry, except it be the whole armour of God and the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Many Christians have rationalized these things by using Old Testament laws, but the only real security is in Christ. The unsaved need to fear, because if they die, they are one step away from God's wrath and are going to have to stand for judgment. We (Christians) don't need to fear in that sense because if we die it's the most Glorious thing that could ever happen. Unfortunately, some Christians live out their lives 'as if' this world is all there is. As if man can take away all that they have, and they will miss out on all this worldly glory. But we are Sons of the living God, so what have we to fear from man?
- "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
We have filial or fatherly fear which is sometimes manifested in chastisement, but we have not the fear which makes the wicked a slave. So in this sense, the wicked should fear, but we are Sons of God. We only have a fear of God as we would our father. Why then would we fear what man can do. If we stay here and spread the Gospel it's a glorious thing. If we die and go to be with the Lord it's a 'more' glorious thing. So why should we have anxiety over anything here? Let us instead 'be careful for nothing.'
- "For ye have not received the Spirit of bondage again to Fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."
As we live out our days in this body, we magnify Christ. It's our commission to send forth the Gospel, that Christ be magnified. But if we should die, it's gain. In other words, it's even better for us, because we go to live and reign with Christ forever. So then, what have we to fear in this world? That's what many do not understand. It's one thing to look both ways before you cross the street, lock your doors, or not walk on the ledge of a 20 story building, but it's quite another to pack a pistol in preparation to take someone's life securing yourself or your worldly possessions 'as if' God doesn't have control over when you shall depart this earth.
- "...as always, so now Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be Life, or by death.
- For to me to Live is Christ, and to die is gain."
And again I need to stress I'm not saying that we should live life recklessly, or put ourselves in dangerous situations, or that we should not take precautions. I'm saying that as a Christian, we should never let fear run our lives, or drive us to the point where we will do anything to remain here, or to retain our possessions because of it. Possessions are not what defines the Christian, it's what defines the unsaved. We're not here to store up treasures where moth and rust doth corrupt, we're here to spread the good news that the Saviour is born. As Christ told Peter three (purpose/will) times, 'Feed My Sheep!' That is why we are here, to glorify God in His building His Church. We are not in bondage that we should be held captive by fear.
There are professed Christians who want to have a gun in every room so that no matter what room a burglar should catch them in, they always have one close at hand. This is ludicrous. There are Christians with bars on all the windows, and a guard dog chained in the back. That is no way for a Christian to live. On the contrary, 'That's the way of the World.' That is the type of thing we expect from the unsaved and the type fear every real Christian should be free from. And they can be, if they just remember that their Christ will never leave them nor forsake them, and that we are strangers and pilgrims here. If Christ be for us, who can be against us? Who can harm us? We have the Perfect Love of Christ, so that we should have no such fear in our lives for he that fears is not dwelling in perfect love. God's Love within us strengthens us and guides us in the way we should go. Our problem comes when our 'old nature' tries to take control and drive us where we ought not go.
The Media part of the Equation
To be sure part of the problem of Christian fear is the result of the unsavory images that are piped into our homes daily by electronic indoctrination (Television). Yes, I know Television is object and cannot be called inherently evil, but it is an extension of man in all his unlawfulness. It is the 'proverbial' evil eye because it reaches into each of our homes and is the opening through which we, our kids, and indeed the world, looks out to see these wicked images. Indeed, it is the opening by which we are seduced by them. Jesus declared that the light of the body is the eye. It is this 'principle' we are talking about.
Jesus is teaching us that it is through the eye that our ideas, hate, lusts, covetousness, etc., comes in. If we keep our eyes on God in singleness, then all our thoughts will be on God. Then the whole body shall be full of light. But if we 'look away' to see the lusts, pleasures, seductions, evils and treasures of the world, then that is when our body is full of darkness. Let that also be a lesson to the Church. When we take our eyes off Christ, then we start to slide and have temptations and desires of the world (remember Lot's wife). The eye is the conduit of most evil. And Television is like an extension of our eyes looking out of a window into a sea wickedness. The solution? Keep our eyes on God of course. But it's not as easy as it sounds because this evil eye is like a friend, and it is not so easily cast off. Though it is a constant temptation, and a constant conduit for our fears, man rationalizes it's presence. Images of wickedness that we wouldn't normally see in ten lifetimes he can see in one month on Television. And don't think that this isn't adversely effecting both adults and their children, because it is. Even in little ways that you may not even realize. It is just as a cancer that is spreading and eating away at the fabric of society in general, and at the Church in particular. It's most potent power is one of distortion. It can make what is not, seem to be, and make what is, seem not to be. It takes away initiative, it suppresses a return to faithfulness, it effects all who peer through it in one way or another. Though few realize it, there is no question that it is a subtle form of brainwashing which has surely changed the face of the world.
- "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
- The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light."
Not surprisingly most people tend to down-play the effects of Television because they 'naturally' don't want to give it up. And don't kid yourself, for all our complaining, we like Television. Else we wouldn't watch it so much. Repentance starts with being honest with ourselves. We can sit here and tell one another how 'there is nothing but trash on the television,' and then when we're finished, the first thing we do is to go and turn on the Television, News, Oprah, Entertainment tonight, Politics, a trashy movie, etc. Sin comes in many different ways. Through the front door, and through the back door. But whatever way it comes in, 'we are the ones who let it in.' It is so very easy and convenient for us to say, ..it's not so bad. What Christians today call 'not so bad,' ten years ago they would have called abominable. And if the world should last another ten years, what they 'now say' would be abominable, they will call not so bad by the time it occurs. Because it's the old 'boiling frog' scenario. i.e., you put a frog in a pot of hot water and he'll jump out. But you put a frog in warm water and turn on the heat so that the water temperature rises gradually, and the frog may sit there and cook. If you look at things from the perspective of where you are (and not where you started) it won't seem so bad.
The media plays a major role in the fear of society and the Christian. It never leaves a stone unturned in showing everything and everyone that is fearful, both real and imagined. And not just feat, it tempts by showing everything they are not, everything they don't have, and everything they shouldn't have, but teaches them that what they see in the box is normaltive. It teaches our kids that the ideals and morals of a time gone by were old fashioned, unrealistic, and out of date. It teaches children that sexual promiscuity is expected behaviour for teens, and killing babies is not 'really' an immoral or selfish act, but the act of a caring person who doesn't want the child to suffer. It teaches us that divorce and remarriage is not sin, it is something that we should always entertain as an option. It teaches that homosexuality is not rebellion against God, but just another lifestyle, or that people are born that way. This wicked eye of the world turns the Church upside down, labels it the crutch of lonely and desperate people, and mocks those who endure in the faith. Yet many of the Church don't see the 'signs' of this distortion because their eyes are covered by their fallen crowns. They are so busy in fear of the things going on in the world, and worrying about economics, politics, guns, and criminals breaking into their comfortable homes or stealing one of their cars, that they have forgotten that their first love [agape] is in spiritual charity or benevolence. They have forgotten what the job or work of a Christian really is. Our Lord left us with a commission. And that commission was to bring the gospel, and feed His Sheep. It wasn't to sit around worrying about trading in stocks, or trading in the old car for a new one, or moving into a nicer new home. Have we forgotten that we are strangers and pilgrims here, and that this is not our home? Have we forgotten that these bodies are not our permanent tabernacles, because we are temporary visitors here. We are in the world, but we are not of this world. We should not be fearing the same things that the world fears, and lusting after the same things that the world lusts after. For as a Christian, we are 'set apart,' made Holy for Godly service.
- "if thine eye offend thee, PLUCK IT OUT!"
1st Peter 2:11
We're just passing through on our way to eternity, and this body is simply our temporary home until we go to our real abode which is in the Kingdom of God. While we're here, our work is to spread the gospel that many might be Saved, Not to try and make ourselves as comfortable and secure HERE as we possibly can. We are not friends of the world, we are at enmity with it. As those set apart, we are of a very different lifestyle. He who is in us casts out fear, that we are not as those in the world.
- "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which do war against the soul."
1st John 4:4
He that is in the world fears, but we are conquerors of fear, not those ruled by it. If we have overcome the world in Christ, we take up our cross and follow Him.
- "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."
Unfortunately, the Church today is fallen away from it's agape Love responsibility, and is turned away from the Word of God to do pretty much whatever it wants. And it's members driven by the visions in the eye, driven by fear and lust of the flesh, have rationalized all their deviations from the Word of God. In fact, Christians spend so much time in fear of their personal safety, and the fear and worry of losing the almighty dollar, their comfortable living, the trial of O.J. Simpson, etc., that they hardly have time for Christ. Our minds are so full of garbage and our eyes so set on the image of the beast, that there is very little room for Christ. Many appear to think their sole Christian responsibility is to go to a good college, make a comfortable living, argue christian politics, go to church once on Sunday, and say their prayers before bed. And doing that, they surmise that they have fulfilled their obligations as a Christian. They are deceived. They just don't have any idea what a real Christian is, because they don't have time for Christ. They can make time for a good movie, a game show, a night out, the news, politics, a novel, but spend a few hours reading God's Word? No, because this to them is monotonous or tedious and they can't make time. It's not hard to see what they put first in their lives, and to understand what they fear, and what they do not fear.
In word they say they have no fear, but in deed their fear is plainly seen. In word they claim they're not of the world, but in deed, it's clearly shown that they are.
1st John 2:15-16
- "love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the father is NOT IN HIM.
- For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is NOT of the Father, but is of the world."
Why does man look for security in himself? The answer is simple. Because he fears loosing his possessions or fears leaving this world, and himself is the only one he 'truly' trusts. It is his own arm in whom he trusts to keep what is his. Why does man fear having his possessions stolen? Because without them, he feels he has nothing and doesn't know what he'll do, or how he'll live. They are his trophies and he loves them. He loves his car, he loves his house, he loves his new clothes, he loves this world and all that therein is. And he doesn't understand that this is 'not' the way it should be. No, I'm not saying man should wear old clothes, I'm saying, wherever our treasure is, our love is there also. And that is why Lot's wife was made a pillar of salt.
- "And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
- But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
- So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
If our lives are consumed by the fear of losing all our possessions, then we have a heart problem and need to remember our first Love. Likewise when we fear others or different peoples, or diverse cultures, it is dragging us down. It's hard for people to keep their mind on righteousness when they're busy in fear worrying about 'those other people,' or 'How to beat the tax man,' or 'what model car to get their daughter' or some other thing that go bump in the night. All of these things are a product of our assimilation into the world, and the fear and worry that accompanies being part of it. Christians seem to worry about everything except the deteriorating condition of the Church, and it's spiritual well being. For something like this they have no time or inclination to seriously consider, and no room in their thought process for frivolous things like faithfulness to the commission of God. They have not the 'fear of God' which is the evidence of true Christianity. In this case, man's motto seems to be, 'I'm not going to worry about keeping it, God will sort it all out when we get to heaven.' But the question is not one of 'when they get to heaven,' it's one of, 'am they going to get to heaven.' For God is not mocked.
- "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
1st John 2:4-5
News Flash! "No one is going to get to heaven just by saying I'm a Christian." That is a delusion under which a lot of folks who sit in their pews hold. The Gospel (bringing the word of God) is our work while we are here on this earth. If we are given a coin (value), are we to bury it and wait for Christ's return (Matthew 25:25)? No, we are to multiply what we are given by using it that others will receive the value just like you did. That's the way the gospel works. Agape or Charitable love. We are to spread it around. It is the real treasure, not a big mansion on the hill. All the treasures of this world is just fuel for the fire in that great Day of the Lord. We should heap up treasures that cannot burn, but are abundantly more valuable than worldly things. When we do that, we have no need to fear anything. Not death, not life, not judgment, not desperately wicked men, not losing our valuables to thieves, and not the growing corruption of the world. Then finally we will know the true victory in Christ. Then we'll cast out fear in the knowledge that we are Sealed (secured) in the love of Christ.
- "He that saith I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a LIAR, and the truth is not in him.
- But whoso keepeth HIS WORD, in him verily is the Love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him."
In conclusion, Let us put ungodly fear behind us by filling our minds with Godly things. Let us lay all our fears upon Christ, and nail them to the cross along with all our other sins. This fear is for the unsaved. It should have no place in the lives of believers. Worldly fear, the lust of this world, and the judgment thereof, are all related. There is no room for this type fear in the Christian mind, because we should fill our mind with righteous thoughts. Let us have 'Godly fear' and think on these things.
How many of us can honestly say that this prayer is our daily walk with the Lord? How many of us can look ourselves in the mirror and confidently say, 'Yes, this is my daily walk.' How many of us can honestly say that we did as much today as we could to bring others to the Saving gospel truth? That is the question that each of us should ask ourselves and answer in nobility.
- "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are TRUE, whatsoever things are HONEST, whatsoever things are JUST, whatsoever things are PURE, whatsoever things are LOVELY, whatsoever things are of GOOD REPORT; if there be any VIRTUE, and if there be any PRAISE, think on these things.
- Those things, which ye have both learned, and RECEIVED, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the GOD of Peace shall be with you."
The next time that worldly fear takes hold of us, or the next time we're propped in front of the Television wasting time, we should ask ourselves, 'what thing could I be doing in this time to better serve the Lord, instead of myself or my fears?' What could I be doing to alleviate my fears, instead of nurturing them? What good things, what virtue, what praise could I be thinking of right now, instead of my favorite whipping boy? Then Remember your 'First' love and get back to the Bible in loving your brother as yourself. And go forth with the gospel whereby you have been called, to 'Feed His Sheep.' Put down the remote and pick up that Bible, and go forth with your commission to spread the gospel. Remember, Our Lord's eyes do always look after the righteous to show unto them the knowledge of truth. And these who are shown this manifest their wisdom and understanding in 'Godly fear.'
- "The secret of the Lord is with them that FEAR Him; and He will shew them His covenant."
In both New Covenant and Old, the fear of the Lord is the hallmark of him whom the Lord reveals His secrets. While those who have no fear of the Lord, have no knowledge of the Lord, and those who will not 'keep' the Word of God, do not know God, and have no real love of God. These are God's Words, not mine. Let us take them to heart and not look upon the wicked of the world as role models. Let us fear God and turn away from unrighteousness.
- "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
May the Lord who is Gracious above all, guide us into the truth of His most Holy Word, and may we in humility fear God, and depart from evil.
- "Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long."
Copyright ©1994 Tony Warren
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Created 1/17/94 / Last Modified 2/18/00
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