Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fearing God .vs. Fearing Hell


 

The fear of the Lord PROLONGS LIFE, but the years of the wicked will be short.” – Proverbs 10:27

“The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is RICHES AND HONOR AND LIFE.” – Proverbs 22:4

“The fear of the Lord is INSTRUCTION IN WISDOM, and humility comes before honor.” – Proverbs 1:7

“But THE LORD TAKES PLEASURE IN THOSE WHO FEAR HIM, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” – Psalms 147:11

“But I will warn you whom to fear: FEAR HIM WHO AFTER HE HAS KILLED, HAS AUTHORITY TO CAST INTO HELL. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” – Luke 12:5

Somewhere along the way in Christian theology and teaching, we’ve strayed that tiny little bit to the left and missed the mark.  A good friend once told me that all it takes to miss God is just to get our attention side tracked that tiny little bit.  It’s like a man with a bow aiming at a target and then becoming ever so slightly distracted.  We may hit the target, but we’ve missed the bull's-eye.

I grew up hearing lots about hell, rather than hearing of God’s love.  It was scary stuff!  Gnashing of teeth in pain!  Fire that never ceased to burn us! The separation from our loved ones! Coals of fire and ashes that envelope us forever! Living forever in pain without God - and with Satan and his demons.  While that is all true, it’s a slight distraction. 

God’s word NEVER tells us to fear hell.  But time and time again it tells us to fear God.  What’s the difference you ask?  Fear of God is reverence toward Him, honoring Him with our submission.  Fear of hell is only fear, and God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love (2 Timothy 1:7). 

If you worship God out of fear, you are a slave to God, obeying orders out of fear.  But God does not call those that believe to be His slaves, but His children.  What’s the relationship between a parent and a child?  It’s based on love - not fear.  It’s based on respect, honor, trust, loyalty, commitment.  The difference in fearing hell and fearing God is the relationship formed with Him.  He wants your LOVE (Matthew 22:37). 

While fearing hell may save you from going there, it will do nothing for you in life.  Yet time and time again, God’s word tells us that if we fear Him (respect, honor, submission, love), we will be blessed. 

Friends, fear God only.  By fearing God, you gain a relationship with Him that is heaven on earth, as well as Heaven for eternity. He loves you and wants your love in return.

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