Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Summing Up Fear

Fear can be a good thing. If you are standing on the street and a Mac truck comes careening toward you out of control, the fear that gives you the added motivation to jump out of the way is entirely  reasonable. There is a fear of God which we are told is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; Job 28:28; Ecclesiastes 12:13). Now I do believe there is here an idea of awe and astonishment at God and His greatness. Even John, who was the disciple the Lord loved (John 13:23), was overwhelmed by Jesus in glory (Revelation 1:17). But I also think there is some value in Martin Luther’s explanation that we start out in fear of God because we realize we are sinners, who fall far short of His holiness (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9). However, then as we come to understand God’s love for us (Romans 5:6-8; John 3:16-18; 1 John 4:9-10) and put our faith in Christ for salvation (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 4:4,5; Philippians 3:9), we can come to stand in confidence before Him (1 John 4:4:17,18; Hebrews 4:16; Philippians 1:6). And this is the antidote to our other unnecessary fears.

God will provide for our physical needs (Matthew 6:25-24; Philippians 4:19; 1 Timothy 6:6-8).  He promises to hear and answer our prayers (Philippians 4:6,7; 1 John 5:14,15; 1 Peter 5:7). Now this does not mean we will not have troubles in this world; in fact, we are told we will (John 16:33; Acts 14:22; 2 Corinthians 12:10). But God is in control of this world and is working even the bad things out to serve His purpose (Romans 8:28; Genesis 50:20; Ephesians 1:11). So we need to realize that even when things seem to be falling apart (Psalm 46:1-3; 18:4-15; 37:1,2), we can trust God (Psalm 46:10; Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalm  37:3-6).

God also provides for our spiritual needs (2 Peter 1:3; Ephesians 1:13; Colossians 2:10). He is at work in us to transform us (2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 1:29). Also, He has forgiven us if we have put our faith in Christ (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 2:13,14; 1 Peter 2:24,25), and He promises to cleanse and restore us if we confess our current sins (1 John 1:9; Proverbs 28:13; Psalm 51:1-4). Therefore, we can put our sins behind us and go on with Him (Philippians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Romans 8:33,34).

He also provides for our ultimate needs, that we may be with Him forever (John 14:1-3; Revelation 21:3-5; Philippians 3;20,21). And we can have assurance that He will bring us through (1 John 5:11-13; John 10:27-30; Romans 8:38,39). This puts in perspective the trials of this present life (2 Corinthians 4:17,18; Romans 8:18; 5:1-5). But God has promised we will ultimately be victorious (Romans 8:35-37; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 15:54-57).  Therefore, if we understand who God is and what He has done for us, and particularly that He loves us, it puts the fears we face in proper perspective.

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