Archive for January, 2010

Why should Christians be afraid?

Are you afraid of Judgment Day?

Growing up, I can hardly remember a time when I didn’t have, in the back of my mind at least, a fear that TODAY was going to be Judgment Day. There were other days when I’d get very frightened that “This is IT!” when I’d hear thunder, see a red moon, hear a cart rumbling down a hallway, or even a horn blowing unexpectedly.

This is because I was brought up in an environment of fear and judgment. I was many times convinced to go to the “altar” and pray to be saved (not a biblical concept at all). The problem was, I was never taught what real faith, trust and hope were. I don’t believe I ever “got” salvation as a child, because I was doing my praying and begging out of fear, not out of an appreciation for Jesus’ sacrifice or a thankfulness for God’s grace and mercy. Rather, I was taught that I either repented or when I died (which could be any minute!) I would find myself falling into “the bottomless pit” where black fire and demons would torture me forever and ever and ever. Nowhere in scripture do we find any indication that demons or imps will torture the lost or that souls will be cast into a bottomless pit!!

What I did not realize at the time was that these folk fit the description Paul made concerning his fellow Jews who would not believe the gospel:
“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” (Romans 10:1-3 ESV)

So, as a kid, I was mentally and spiritually abused. I thank God, however, that after 30 years of being away from this religious teaching, I finally was able to read the bible with a fairly unbiased and unrestricted view. I just wanted to see what it really said. I am so glad that God makes it plain that ALL men and women are corrupted by our fallen nature. Only a true and loving God would allow us to see what hardheaded and ignorant men the disciples were until they witnessed Jesus resurrection and ascension. Then, with the help of the Holy Spirit, who cleared up all their misconceptions about Christ and His mission, they changed the entire world! And they were still not perfect!

The scriptures tell us a healthy fear of God is good and wise. Many do not even think about God until they experience a life-threatening situation, and by then, for many, it’s too late. But, the fear we should have is more a sense of awe and wonder; how small and unworthy we are as specks on this huge earth, which itself really is not even a speck in the enormity of the universe.

1 John 4:18 says “There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

Why should Christians not fear? Because we are “free from the law of sin and death”. Jesus was “made sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” That’s what the legalistic and perfectionist types neglect to tell us from God’s Word. The other extreme are those who say we can sin all we want and not worry about it. Both are viewing God’s grace and salvation through the lens of the flesh; one focuses on every little sin and the other no sin at all.

My favorite verses these days are:

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1 ESV) and

“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (Romans 10:1-4 ESV) and

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27 ESV)