Have you ever been absolutely terrified? I'm talking about shaking in your boots, hands trembling, adrenaline pumping terror. Perhaps it was the result of a bump in the night that shook you from your slumber. Maybe it was the result of seeing a scary movie. On the other hand it could have also been the result of sitting through a sermon at a local religious gathering where the aim was to frighten you into a love affair with God.
It seems that the aim of many in religious leadership is to create a flock of wide eyed and worried sheep who are terrified of the thought of ever meeting God face to face. Comfort and peace are lacking in the lives of so many as they worry, work, and strive in the hope that in the end they will have done enough good things to win the acceptance and love of our creator. Unfortunately, they have not been led to see that we have not been called to try and win the love and acceptance of God based upon our personal performance. Instead, our gracious creator has lavished upon us His love and acceptance based upon nothing we have done for ourselves. We are not called to "save ourselves" instead we have been given a Savior who has already done the saving work for us!
The Apostle Paul refers to God as our Abba. Abba is Hebrew for Daddy. Today if we were to hear of a Father purposefully instilling heart racing fear in his children we would think something was very wrong with him. If you were to ever hear of a Father threatening his children with unending torture with no chance of relief if they were foolish enough not to make the "free-will" choice to love him with their whole heart simply because of who he is, you would most likely find it difficult to find a reason for them to love him at all.
But what about when it comes to our view of God?
I don't know about you, but I have heard countless sermons about the fear of the Lord? Have you been led to believe that a truly spiritual life is one in which we are to live in a perpetual state of terror and fear at the very thought of ever meeting God face to face? "Listen closely brothers and sisters. You must know that the fear and terror of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge! If you are not fearful of God you need to change your view! if you do not love Him simply because of who He is, He will be forced to torture you forever in hell. This is not his desire, but if you don't love Him, you are choosing to go to hell where you will be tortured forever and ever."
Doesn't that seem to be a bit of a mixed message?
Are you a parent? If so, would you tolerate another person telling your children that your love and acceptance of them is dependent upon them first loving and accepting you? Would you ever dream of using threats of torture to motivate your children to say, "I love you?" If mouthing the words "I love you" is based upon simply escaping a threat of turture would those three words mean much of anything at all?
Is your hearts desire to have your children approaching you begging for mercy with tears in their eyes each morning? Would you want your precious children to cower in terror before you as they pleaded and begged for you to love them based upon their performance?
I believe that Scripture is correct in saying "Fear is the beginning" but it is not the middle or the end.
Do you remember when you began to first become aware of the existence of God? Do you remember looking up at the night sky and being overwhelmed with the vastness of creation? Do you remember having the realization that the creator of all that exists must be incredible powerful? Do you remember suddenly feeling very small and weak in comparison? It is a frightening thing to become away of a power as great as the one who created this universe. But it is only the beginning.
As you and I begin to grow in grace and understanding the fear begins to be transformed. When we grow in our understanding of the Evangel of grace which Christ gave Paul to share with the Gentile nations a wonderful transformation begins.
As we begin to understand that God is love and that the cross was Him proving His mercy, grace, compassion, acceptance, and conciliation toward all humanity, over the course of time "perfect love casts out all fear" just as Scripture says it will.
Article Source: http://www.abcarticledirectory.com
Part-time theologian, audio blogger, and guitarist James Flanders has a desire to reach as many as possible with the good news of a Heavenly Father who loves and welcomes us not based upon what we have done or how well we perform, but instead based upon His love proven for us through His Only Begotten Son Christ Jesus.
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