Isaiah 55:10 -
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
Spirit of Fear vs. Spirit of Love
by Don Richards
Much of the religious world revolves around the spirit of fear. We are told that we are to fear for ourselves and our eternal fate. We are instructed that if we do not take certain actions to "cement" our lives, then we must fear the eternal consequences of that inaction.
We do not have to watch much television to find a minister skilled in the art of selling a ministry of fear. We are told we must confess... , we must accept..., we must repent..., we must be baptized..., we must support with our resources and finances. The consequences are the "fears" of our failure to perform these good works. These doctrines of "fear" work pretty well in our world today, just as they have been for hundreds of years.
People respond to these doctrines of fear. Our human nature is to respond to action out of a sense of fear. We do it most days of our lives. In fact, too many times in our day to day lives we wait to respond to situations until we fear the consequences.
False prophets capitalize on our fears. Fear of the consequences is a great worldly selling point. That is why we see lots of religious conversions in jails. It is the human nature in all of us.
However, a doctrine of "fear" goes against the teachings and instructions of God. Do not be confused with our having a respectful "fear" of the power of God. We all should respectfully fear the power of God ("fear of the Lord is wisdom" Job 28:28). That fear is respect.
We are talking about a worldly spirit of human emotional "fear" of eternal consequences for our failure to perform good works. It is this fear that is exploited by other men in the world to get us to "save" ourselves eternally with our works and actions and decisions. God instructs us against such fear.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is in the first chapter of II Timothy. It is the Apostle Paulís second letter to Timothy.
He talks to us about our worldly fears of our eternal salvation.
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and of a sound mind." II Tim. 1:7. An understanding of Godís plan with us should give us comfort and security with its power, love and soundness of mind. It should ease our conscious, not stir it up. Our fellow man givers us the spirit of fear; God gives us the comfort and security of our salvation.
The Apostle Paul adds to his instruction: he tells us not to be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, but to be a "partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God..." v.8.
We are told we should expect afflictions in this world. We should prepare for them, expect them, and be willing to take on these afflictions with the understanding of the spirit of power, love and a sound mind. We should sympathize with others who suffer, and suffer with them, and suffer like them. When we suffer our afflictions with a sound mind and power and love of the spirit, then we have the ability to bear and be content with those afflictions.
We all will suffer afflictions; but we can bear them together with the contented conscious that comes with the spirit of power, love and sound mind.
Paul adds important instruction to Timothy, explaining why we should not have the spirit fear : He tells us that God ... "hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel..." II Ti. 1:9-10.
We are taught by many men that our eternal fate is in our own hands and we should "fear" our inactions. But the Apostle Paul tells us that God saved us and called us not according our ourselves, but according to "his own purpose" ó and he did so through Jesus Christ "before the world began."
The gospel does not bring us "life and immortality". The gospel brings life and immortality "to light".
In a simple analogy, the gospel does for us what a light switch does to a darken room. We turn on the light and suddenly "see" the furniture which fills the room. Our good deed of turning on the light did not put the furniture in the room; our turning on the light switch simply lets us see what was already there.
The Apostle Paul tells us the same here. The gospel reveals to us ó brings to light ó that which the Lord has already done for us with his sovereign grace according to his own purpose to secure our immortality through Jesus Christ. He saved us before the world began; the gospel reveals that fact to us.
God provides for us the security of His purpose. We perform good works in appreciation for his free grace and to make our daily world and its afflictions better for our fellow man and ourselves.
The spirit of fear provides just that: fear. The spirit of God is of "power , and of love, and of a sound mind." Reading and studying Godís word will provide you the security of a sound mind, content with the afflictions that will come your way.
Article from The Banner of Love
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