No Fear in Love

Outside of being justified by Christ there's good reason to fear. "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." Mt 10:28 The circumstances in this world which threaten one's life, way of life, or ambitions are nothing compared to the threat of eternal condemnation in hell fire. Condemnation should be the greatest thing to be feared - a condemnation which awaits all who fall short of God's standards. It's the curse of the Law. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." Gal 3:10

However, those who have come to trust in Christ have been released from such fear. "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Heb 2:14,15 Thus while the fear of condemnation should drive one to the grace inherent in the gospel, as they travel on that straight and narrow path that few find. Those who have embraced the grace of God have arrived at the end of that journey. They have past from death to life and are free from condemnation. "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24

Consequently there is no more fear for those who have to trust in Christ, their salvation being sure, and that based not on their performance but upon their faith in Christ, being confident as Abraham was, as it is written, "he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why it was credited to him as righteousness." Rom 4:20,21 Saving faith is confident faith.

God gives His Spirit to those in the faith. And "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2Tim 1:7  "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.'" Rom 8:15

Now concerning Love, love cannot be exercised in the context of fear. For "there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love." 1John 4:18 Consequently those unbelieving Christians who view salvation as contingent upon one's performance, as for example in obeying the commandments, are not capable of practicing love. For the works they do are done to try and escape condemnation. Their motivation is not love but self-preservation. Jesus' greatest commandments are to love. But ironically those who view their salvation as dependent upon obedience to such commands are inherently incapable of obeying such commands. It's an example of the curse of the Law.

Those who are in the faith practice love not in order to be saved but rather simply because it's the right thing to do and it's what they are. It comes naturally. Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." John 10:27 They do so because that's the nature of sheep. In contrast of false Christians it is written, "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire." 2Peter 2:22

Consequently one can distinguish children of God from children of the devil among the Christian community based upon their behavior. "This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother." 1John 3:10

And salvation by works Christians (children of the devil) often given themselves away in their attacking the gospel of grace. They typically argue that if salvation is not contingent upon one's ongoing performance there's nothing to stop a person from living in sin, and so they reject and ridicule the gospel, opting rather rather for justification by the law.

In the gospel of grace God deals with the issue of sinning by changing the person himself such that living in sin is against his nature, as opposed to threatening people with hell fire if they don't measure up. As scripture has proven, the latter doesn't even work. You can threaten people all you'll like, they'll still live in sin if that's their nature. Don't be intimidated by justification by works Christians. They're just posers who are still on the path to hell fire.

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources