Thinking more on fear and love again, referring back to this post. More brain regurgitation here, so if you don’t follow, I won’t be surprised. I’m not so sure I get it either :). I’m hoping by throwing this up on a page somehow it’ll order itself and make sense.
…Suddenly last night, I had another scriptural connection in my brain between Fear and Love. Fear apparently became part of our relating to God after Adam’s sin. Read these two verses together. Get the connection?
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
I John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
So, I’m thinking that maybe fear is a necessary part of dealing with God as a sinful human. Perfect love drives out fear… but whose perfect love? Ours? Not possible, as I see it. The only perfection in us is Christ. Now I’m thinking this relates to salvation/sanctification/justification. In Christ, believing in Him for the forgiveness of sins, which results in repentance as a natural state of that belief, we become sanctified …which is a process. I’ve always assumed that process of sanctification (which I see as the process of repeatedly, continually, killing and weeding out the Old Man) will end at some point, that point being when we die or when Christ returns. So, is it possible to live without fear of God while we are still living in what Paul calls our “body of death”? I don’t think so… but that does give me more of an incentive to keep killing that Old Man to let more of that perfect love in to make me holy.
So, where does grace play into this? I know a lot of online momma friends who see punishment as incompatible with grace, but somehow, I’ve never been able to completely agree with that line of thinking, because I’ve been of the belief that as long as sin is in our lives (which it is, as we are being sanctified, isn’t it? We still sin as Christians…), punishment is necessary. I know plenty about what the Old Testament says about punishment… it’s gotta be somewhere in the NT, right?
What about Heb. 12? Paul’s talking “discipline” there, not “punishment,” but still… you have the concept that sin brings painful consequences for those who God is sanctifying. What’s the relationship between the painful discipline we experience as Christians and the grace that is ours through Christ? That’s the question that’s ruminating in my brain today.
You know what else is spooky? I was reading 1 Cor 3 yesterday, thinking about how sad it is that for most of my Christian life I’ve been content to follow someone else’s “worldview in a box” or “Ten Steps To Be A Good Christian” and rarely cracked a Bible to check out if what I was buying into was Truth. I’m finding out now that a lot of the (what can politely be called) excrement I’ve believed for years is a scrap of truth riddled with lies. In the light of that, read the WHOLE chapter of 1 Jn. 4. Guess what it deals with? False prophets! I think God’s getting at something here with me… To be continued…