Word for Word 3/17/21

Pr. Matthew Majewski
Pr. Matthew Majewski

It’s okay to be afraid

In years gone by, we used to hear how bad fear was for us. There were books and motivational speakers telling us how to overcome our fears to live full and successful lives. Then came COVID-19, and the advice has changed. Suddenly it seems that living in fear is the only way to ensure that we will live at all.  

What should we make of the fickle winds of man’s changing opinions? The best thing to do is compare them to the unchanging Word of God – and in the Bible we find good news, better news, and the best news of all.

The good news is that the Bible says living in fear is okay. Consider what Jesus said. “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)

So we see that living in fear is just fine – as long as we fear the right thing. COVID-19 can only kill the body. It has no power over our soul or our eternal destiny. Therefore, God says do not fear COVID-19.

But God has power over the eternal destiny of our souls. As John declared, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Revelation 20:12) His perfect, righteous law will be the standard of our judgment. When you think about that, fearing God makes a lot of sense.

The better news is that fearing God is actually freeing and empowering. You see, to fear God is to honor and obey Him. When we honor and obey Him, we find that His perfect love for us casts out fear. Just listen to God’s promise.  “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18) Fearing God means ordering our lives according to the will of the One Who loves us with a perfect love and seeks our ultimate blessing and provision. Hardly a frightening thought!

And now for the best news of all, although it does not seem like it at first, when we consider that God will judge us according to His perfect law and that He demands full obedience, we come face to face with our own imperfections. The Bible has a word for that – sin.  “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Worse yet, God says, “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)   No wonder we should fear God, for we are all guilty in His eyes and worthy of eternal punishment.

But in this frightening scenario, we find the best news of all. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15)  Jesus “bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24) When Jesus died on the cross, He paid sin’s price so that we can be set free. How can we be free? “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

Do not delay, for “now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”  (2 Corinthians 6:2)  Receive God’s free gift of salvation.

Pastor Matthew Majewski
Center Baptist Church
Lansing

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