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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Thirty-Sixth (Fear)

Another week down, another week closer to His return! This week, we're going to talk about something that's easy to be confident about in speech, but not as easy to execute in practice: fear. What I mean by that is we can sit in our home and talk about having no fear and trusting in Yehovah, but when we actually get into a situation that could instill fear it's much more difficult not to let it take over and control our actions.

Our verse is 2 Timothy 1:7 because it makes it abundantly clear that fear is not from God. Now, that is not to say that we shouldn't have fear. In fact, we should. But we are told to fear only one thing. And no, it's not fear itself! It's Yehovah. Fear of Him will give us His mercy (Luke 1:50).

What is the objective for fearing Him? And in what manner are we supposed to do this? If you look at Ephesians 6:1-9, Paul gives some "words to live by" for different types of people: children, fathers, servants, masters. What's interesting is in verse 5 he tells servants to serve their masters with, "fear and trembling...as unto Christ." So this tells us our service to Christ, to whom all authority is given by Yehovah (Matthew 28:18), is to be done with fear and trembling. But to what purpose? He tells us that earlier in the verse: Obedience. This is further emphasized, even using the same phrasing, in Philippians 2:12 when talking about our salvation. We are to, "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling," by obeying.

So in action, our fear of Yehovah is expressed by obedience to Him. However, the reason fear is so effective at getting results/action, which is exactly why Satan uses it so much, is because there is some event or occurrence the individual does not want to happen. So what is the event or occurrence for which we fear God? Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:28: because He, and He alone, is the one that can destroy a soul. And again in Luke 12:5, that He has the power to cast into hell.

Is this the sole reason He wants us to obey? Should this be our primary motivation? If this is where your study stopped, you may get that impression, however if we take a look at a couple more verses the picture changes quite a bit. The first of those verses is Hebrews 12:28. How does the consequence of Matthew 10:28 and Luke 12:5 get realized? We know that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), so our soul is destroyed, by being cast into hell, as a result of our sin. But, we know that we have the grace of God based on our faith and belief in Jesus and His death and resurrection! Hebrews 12:28 tells us this grace transforms our fear of being cast into hell into a reverent and godly fear. Furthermore, in the second verse to look at, we see that our fear gets cast out by our love for Him. 1 John 4:18 tells us there is no fear in love. And with our confession of Jesus as the Son of God comes the dwelling of God in us (1 John 4:15). Since God is love, His dwelling in us perfects our love (1 John 4:16,17).

We would be remiss if we didn't point out that there are some key outcomes from our fear of Yehovah. We saw our salvation as an outcome in Philippians 2:12. But we also find that we perfect holiness in our fear of Him (2 Corinthians 7:1). And what is the Greek word for holiness? Hagiosune, which is the sanctification (holiness) that results from the process of hagiasmos (being sanctified, which we wrote about in The Thirty-First). So we perfect our sanctification by our fear of Him.

So we know we're only to fear God. But like I said earlier, this is sometimes easier said than done. We know fear is a motivator, and it's likely the most frequently used motivator by Satan because it's so effective. What is the thing that is most likely to invoke the greatest amount of fear? Death. There are lots of other things Satan uses to cause fear, however you can see especially today how quickly the whole world can turn around due to fear of death. But remember, we are delivered by Jesus' death on the cross from that lifetime of bondage due to fear of death! (Hebrews 2:15) We know even if our bodies die here, we will see Him again when He returns and live with Him throughout eternity! So remember that as Satan continues to use fear in our lives and in the world to try to control us and turn us away from God.

So do not fear what man will do to you, because the Lord is your helper (Hebrews 13:6), and do not fear any of the things that you will suffer because He will give those faithful unto death a crown of life (Revelation 2:10). We hope you have a wonderful week! Shabbat Shalom and God bless you!

-Sara Gene and Rob

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