29th Dec 2012, by Adeline Lum CM-
Born in a Christian family, 20-year old Clement Kwan goes to church, Sunday schools, and worship seminars. Nevertheless, he never felt God in his heart. He sang but not worshipped. He listened to the Bible story after story, but they were mere tales to him.
An obedient child, he did and knew what were right, living out a Christian life but not understanding why. Yet, when he grew older, he realized what motivated him to live a “Christian” life is his fear of going to Hell.
Are we really going to Heaven after accepting Jesus?
Perfect Love Drives Out Fear
Let’s look at 1 John 4:13-18.
According to verse 13-14, if we accept Christ, we would also accept the Holy Spirit.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
Verse 15 following this passage also shows us that if we accept Christ, we would receive the Holy Spirit who would live in us. Because of God’s love is made complete in us (Verse 16-17), we should be confident in the Day of Judgment. In other words, we should be confident of our place in Heaven.
15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
17 And “this is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment.”
This brings us to Verse 18 which further supports of not being fearful of Hell.
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
From this scripture, fear should not exist in perfect love especially fear of punishment.
The scripture below also shows how the Holy Spirit in us “testifies” that we are God’s children and therefore “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.”
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Does That Mean We Should Fear of Nothing?
Although we should not fear Hell, the Bible did ask us to fear God.
The fear of God had been a subject of debate on its definition, referred to being afraid, revering, being in awe and respecting Him.
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew words most frequently used for fear were YARE (a verb), YARE (adjective), and YIRAH (a noun).1 According to the Nelson's Expository Dictionary of the Old Testament, YARE means"to be afraid, stand in awe, fear."1 This word, and it's 'relatives', YARE and YIRAH, when speaking of the psychological reaction of fear can mean being afraid of someone or something.1
When these words are used to refer to a person of exalted position (such as God), these words connote"standing in awe".1 This "awe is not simple fear, but reverence, whereby an individual recognizes the power and position of the individual revered and renders him proper respect. … It may (also) imply submission to a proper ethical relationship to God.”1
Hence, according to his passage, fearing God does mean fear, but this is not a kind of fear that causes anxiety, depression, insecurity and gloom. But it is a fear that brings forth genuine awe, reverence and respect towards God who is loving, kind, slow to anger, patient yet powerful to “destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28).”
If we were to see His good side only, we may take God for granted rendering Him as harmless. Taken to the other extreme, if we only see His powerful and intimidating side only, then we would live a life cowering in fear. Neither ways are what God wants us to live.
Perhaps, to answer this question, what’s more important is really to know Him ourselves because only then we would understand the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 2:1-5).
V1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
V2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
V3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
V4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
V5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
When Clement personally knew God’s character, He no longer fear going to Hell having the spirit of peace and boldness, both are non-characteristics of the fearful spirit we know.
“I was overwhelmed with my exams, and I prayed to God for peace. And then I felt this peace from Him,” said Clement. “In the past, I also double-guess myself in talking to people… But now, I have more confidence to talk.”
Since Clement entered University Malaya (UM), he began to know many people in the university having been active in many organizations including the Christian Fellowship (CF).
May we know God as who He is, which render us in awe with Him. Amen.
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References for article: http://www.acts17-11.com/fear.html
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