And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 10:28 

Fear God and Live

| Aug 3, 2011

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This passage is terrifying to one with a tender conscience.

He thinks to himself, “I do fear man. . . I do fear what they would do to me and often avoid proclaiming the gospel. I must not fear God enough. Perhaps I do not belong to God.”

Dear friend, if you fear God because of your guilt, turn from gazing at your sin and look to your Savior. Praise God that you know you are guilty! Only when your guilt is realized will Jesus taste sweet to you.

Turn and receive mercy from Jesus who paid for all your sins on the cross. Cast all your sin upon him, including your denial of Christ. Jesus died for sins such as those, just as he did Peter’s. Look at how many times Peter denied Christ! And yet, because of the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, he eventually went to his death proclaiming the grace of God. It is God who works in you to will and to do for his good pleasure — He created those works in advance for you to walk in them. Trust him — let his righteousness be yours by faith.

When you receive this grace by faith, you will gladly lose your life. . .  and then find it in abundance. The Holy Spirit will embolden you as you grow in grace and it won’t be fake.

This passage is not terrifying for the prideful, but it ought to be.

Instead of feeling the fear of God, instead the prideful person lifts himself up. He thinks he is the shining example that the rest should look to.

You who think you belong to God, but do not — have you earned the grace of God? Why don’t you mourn over your sin? If you did, you would fear him and seek to be reconciled. But why would you beg for mercy when you don’t need any? What little is left of your dull conscience, you soothe by gossip, slander, and sprinkle in whatever good works people around you expect.

Instead of comparing yourself to God’s Law (which you claim to obey), you compare your works to other people so that your pride and distance from the grace of God increases. You think that you deserve God’s favor, but it is God who resists you.

There is a form of wrath you do still fear. . . the wrath of people (which is why gossip flows so freely from you). So when persecution comes, you’ll fear man more than God and deny Christ. It is not the grace of God you cling to but the pat on the back from men. You’ll save your life only to lose it.

Fear man and trample over grace. Fear God and live.

 

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Fear and Ability

| Aug 2, 2011

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In our passage Jesus sends his disciples into hostile environments (Matthew 10:17-19), and seems to presume that his disciples will have fear toward someone, either those who kill the body but not the soul (i.e., people) or the One who can destroy both (God) in hell. “Fear” here is like that of Proverbs (1:7, 9:10; […]

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