From Jeremy’s Pen


March 18, 2018


Fear or Love

Machiavelli once mused and questioned which was greater, more influential-to be feared or loved? Those who are familiar with his writings know which of the two he decided was more likely to garner one’s devotion and fealty-fear. As we are well aware, the Bible is not silent about either concept. In fact, it is quite adamant that we should both fear and love God. Jesus did not mince words when He says that we should have a healthy fear for God. After warning His disciples to prepare themselves for the coming hardship and persecution they would certainly endure; He commissions them to speak the truth without fear of what men would do. Instead, if they were to fear anything; it should be God. Notice what He says in Matthew 10:27-28, “Whatever 1 tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.Furthermore, the Hebrew writer contends that those who act in open rebellion towards the grace of God and continue in sin certainly have something to fear. He warns in Hebrews 10:26-27, “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour
the adversaries.

Still yet, the brunt of New Testament scripture is focused on the love of God as being the catalyst for devotion and obedience. Notice how John employs this concept in 1 John 3:1-3, Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not k110w Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” While fear of God is certainly a Biblical concept, because open rebellion against Him will insight wrath and indignation; the love God has shown towards us should render Him our devotion. It should compel us to purify our lives, to rid them of passing pleasures; and sanctify us for His glory. Our obedience to His will is how we show our love for Him. As we well know, Jesus said in John 14: 15, ””If you Jove Me, keep My commandments.”

Furthermore, Paul employs the same concept in his writings. Notice what he writes to the church in Corinth in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, “For the love of Christ compels us (motivates us, spurns us toaction), because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died jar all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”

Therefore, we conclude that having a healthy, cautious, and reverent respect for God should certainly produce obedience. Nevertheless, the greater thrust of the Gospel message is that God’s love compels, it motivates us to live more fully for His glory; to lay aside the weight of our sin; and to run the race that is set before us with perseverance and faithfulness. While Machiavelli may have wrestled with which was of greater influential force; let us resolve within ourselves to see both as being beneficial in living for the One who died for us. Romans 5:6-11, For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

By Jeremy Tucker