I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
In today’s passage Jesus tells us whom we should “fear” as followers of him. And as Jesus’ followers we must remain in awe and total reverence of God’s majesty, holiness and his justified anger and judgement against sin. Such an attitude will help us understand and relate to God’s character, and it will keep us from stumbling in rebellion against him and bringing disaster on ourselves.
However, some Christians may want to believe that the “fear of God” simply means to have awe and respect for God. But that is not the case here. While it is true that Christians do not have to live in dreaded fear, particularly of God’s judgement on unforgiven sin, and can be secure in God’s love, this passage warns us to walk holy and with the right perspective of “him who, after the killing of the body, has the power to throw you into hell.” Though this reference points to final judgement, recognizing the possibility should certainly keep us from walking in rebellion and missing out on the life God has for us. And finally, for Christians living with a proper perspective of a holy God should bring comfort and cause us to rejoice in his love, care and power to guide, protect and provide for us.
Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:
Deuteronomy 31:1-32:27, Luke 12:8-34, Psalm 78:32-55 and Proverbs 12:21-23