Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Question About Fear

"Ray, Would you say that you are pro-fear? That's the jive I get from this post. Thank again, -- Kaitlyn."

I thank God for fear. It keeps me from harm. Fear stops me going near the edge of a thousand foot cliff. It keeps me away from poisonous spiders and snakes. It tells me to put on a seat belt. Fear stops me from taking risks when I’m on the top of a ladder, and can’t reach something.

Fear has a bed-fellow--it is called "common sense." Common sense stops me from going near the edge of a thousand foot cliff, keeps me from poisonous spiders and snakes. Common sense tells me to put on a seat belt. The two, fear and common sense, go hand in hand. That sort of fear is good.

There is also a fear that is bad. The Bible says that it has "torment." That’s not the fear to which I am referring.

Contrary to what many may think, I am not a "Hell-fire preacher." I believe that Hell is a real place and I therefore continually warn of its reality, but I don’t think that people should become Christians because of a fear of Hell. Rather, they should come to Christ out of a fear of the God that can cast them into Hell:

"And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!" (Luke 12:4-5).

So what's the difference between fearing Hell and fearing God? The two are separated by the moral Law. It is the Law (the Ten Commandments) that shows me that God is perfect and holy. The Law also shows me that I am not. It reveals that lust is adultery in the sight of God, and that hatred is murder. It brings a knowledge of my depravity.

The Law shows me that I justly deserve Hell. It convinces me that I will be without excuse on the day of Judgment. That's why the Bible warns that it is "a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God." Those who fall into His holy hands will only be those who deliberately stepped off of the high cliffs of sin.

It’s only when I realize that I deserve Hell that I can truly appreciate the love and mercy of God, in providing a Savior. Through trust in Jesus I still fear God, but I no longer fear Judgment Day, because my sins have been forgiven. This is the meaning of "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" (1 John 4:17).