Monday, June 14, 2010

What Part About "The Fear of God" Don't I Understand?

Well, none of it. I don't get any of it.

Why not? It says to fear the Lord in the New Testament, plain as day, several times.

I just don't get it.

Primarily because something greater than fear is here.

God's new covenant does not explain to us how or why to fear the Lord. And it does tell us why 'not' to fear Him. More inconsistencies? Contradictions?

It does at times reiterate the fear that the nation of Israel was governed by. But then Christ came with the gift of grace. Deliverance by His own sacrifice in return for faith. An assurance apart from the Law. And apart from ethnicity or nationality.

The same way James telling us that 'faith without works is dead' - and presumably then so are you if your faith isn't accompanied by the requisite works - does not mean that it takes faith plus works to equal salvation. Algebra comes to our rescue. We are saved to God through faith. (Did you know that several mainstream branches of theology can be disproved through simple algebra?)

Let's divide the word(fear) rightly. There are at least two different Greek words translated as "fear" in our biblical manuscripts. Probably more. Doesn't matter. Let them all mean 'fear'. Being afraid.

But now, something greater than fear is here. It's the grace of God. The free gift of lovingkindness in exchange for desiring God. Not desiring eternal life only, for he who seeks to save his own life will lose it, but for desiring God. Loving Him for what He has done and why.

And 'love' castes out 'fear'.

In Ephesians 4, Paul gets on his knees before the Father and prays that we understand this. In his words, that we 'comprehend' and 'know' this. The depth of Christ's love with which He is calling us back to Him. Being rooted and grounded in love. This is where the power is. God's power toward us that resides in our inner man. His Spirit. And it's not the Spirit of fear. It's His amazing grace which has it's beginnings in His amazing love.

The spirit of fear is something that dates back to before each of our personal conversions. We are told to have a memory of it. When we were sons of disobedience. Before we heard and believed God. Before we knew and comprehended the gospel. What part of the gospel? Simply that God has visited us in Jesus and wants our attention.

What is left of fear as a believer. Either love castes it out or it does not.

Is what we are to fear now actually ourselves 'falling back into unbelief'? Not absolutely. Perhaps, if that's the way we feel, then it is ourselves we should fear? Not God. Then, if that is what happens, it seems there would then have to be a falling 'out' of love, and then a falling back 'into' fear. Wouldn't it? It should. But can you have both at the same time? Can the two exist together? Surely, in the nation of Israel it did, but they did not have Christ?

And there's much more to be said. But fortunately no hurry. My clothes are done. I'm at the laundry. Thank you Lord for Wi-fi and a little extra money to be able to afford a laptop. I discovered what Wi-fi is at the laundromat and then two hours later I owned a laptop. Well actually my credit card company owns it. Yikes.

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