Continuation of “A Fearful Bride” Series.
Believe it: there are people who claim to believe in Lord Jesus just as an escape route from hell. They have heard messages time and time again about the horrors of a realm called hell. As unbelievers, a fear of judgement and condemnation fell on them and they believed in the saving power of Jesus.
Somehow, this fear of hell refused to go even after they had come to the Lord. It seems like there is still a sword hanging over their heads and condemnation still lurks in a corner. All that they do in “the service of the Lord” (as popularly put) is driven by the thought of presenting themselves good enough so as to receive God’s approval and escape hell.
Some Christians have had to answer a question (honestly of course) in order to expose what drives their zeal.
“With your experience of Lord Jesus so far, how would you live your life if there were no reward for following Jesus (carrying your cross and following Him daily), as well as no repercussion for following all the dictates of the flesh (loving the world and walking in the flesh)?”
(This is a recommended question for every believer to answer and then turn to the Lord).
Believe it again: to answer the question above, some believers sit, taking a while to wriggle through the true state of their hearts because as some have confessed, “it is the fear of hell and the emphasis of it that “limits” their cravings for the world and the desires of the flesh.” They still find the world appealing but whenever they remember “hell”, they take some more caution.
Some other believers heave a sigh and refuse to say anything, battling with the thoughts that run deep. Others smile or laugh hysterically (no exaggerations here please) and say nothing as well.
No matter what the true answer from the depths of our hearts is, we can be assured that God knows it better than we do. He knows His true worshippers and there are no secrets with Him (2 Timothy 2:19).
Why Fueling Your Zeal With “The Fear Of Hell” Is Inadequate
1. God’s new creature runs on a different fuel. This fuel is Love. Scripture speaks the truth that “…the love of Christ urges us on…” (2 Corinthians 5:14) and He is the one who supplies the fuel because “…the Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by Holy Spirit…” (Romans 5:5). In addition, He is the basis of this fuel in that “…we love Him because He first loved us and gave Himself for us” (1 John 14:9).
2. God’s new creature hates sin by nature and delights in righteousness. No man in his right senses would delight in wallowing in the mud like a pig. If any believer does not find the “world” repulsive, but somewhat delightful, he/she should listen to the call of God to “submit themselves to God as instruments of righteousness” and let God do the rest (Romans 6:13). It’s God’s Nature you need, not the fear of hell.
3. The zeal that burns from the fear of hell will leave you famished. It is devoid of the joy and peace of the Lord. It is highly stalled by condemnation and you will find it difficult to accept totally that God’s righteousness has been given to you freely.
4. It views God as a tool used to achieve man’s goal. “I don’t want to go to hell, therefore I choose to do these things and forbid those other things”. It is not a pointer to true intimate relationship with God. The truth however is that God made all things for His pleasure and has shown man great Love by bringing him to be a part of His purpose.
5. It will fail in due course. Of all things that ever is, only Love will not fail. God has chosen the ultimate fuel for His relationship with man and man’s relationship with Him. The fear of hell not an alternative.
6. It majors on the minor things and minors on the major things. The first commandment in the law was to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might.” The new commandment Lord Jesus gave was “to love one another as He has loved us”. The fear of hell gives undue attention to hell. God Himself is the focus of the saints.
7. It does not follow the example of Jesus’ relationship with the Father. The Father Loved the Son and the Son Loved the Father. The coexisting Love was the basis of Jesus’ submission to the Father. We are to follow Lord Jesus and Love is the way, not some fear of hell.
8. The fear of hell is not the fear of God. The fear or reverence for God is born out of awe for Who God is and it should only bear the fruit of love. The fear of hell is as it sounds, fearing hell.
The Gates Of Hell Should Not Prevail Against You
Lord Jesus promised to build His Church and also that the gates of hell will not prevail against it. This is the way of the believer in Christ. Hell cannot stand Jesus, it trembles before Him and Jesus has promised to make the believer as He is.
The point here is that if you are following Lord Jesus, it is hell that stands in terror of you because there is a greater One who lives in you. Lord Jesus loosed the pains of death, took sin apart and even paid a victorious visit to hell.
Hell has no hold over you. What you need is a consuming revelation of Jesus and then you will know by experience that “…to live is Christ, and even to die is gain”. Its a win-win situation all the way.
Let the Son set you free with His Love.
“The Fear Of Death”: Another Obstacle (next in the series)
“A Fearful Bride” (previous in this series)