WHOM SHALL WE FEAR
The Bible tells us that in the last days before Christ’s return that, “perilous times will come” (2 Timothy 3:1). We’re told that people would turn from worshiping God to worshiping themselves (2 Timothy 3:1-4).
As a result of turning from God, many false prophets will rise up and deceive, sin will abound, there will be many “wars and rumors of wars” and the love of many people will run cold (Matthew 24:11-12, Mark 13:7).
Certainly those days have come.
But Jesus told us that we were not to fear or be afraid (Mark 13:7) because He has given us His peace. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)
The peace the world offers is, at best, temporary, but the peace Christ gives is eternal and flows like a river (Isaiah 66:12). It passes all earthly understanding (Philippians 4:7).
FEAR THAT LEADS TO PEACE
So how do we obtain this peace?
Jesus said “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! (Luke 12:4-5)
The path to peace begins, ironically enough, with the fear – fear of the Lord. Fear of the Lord is the understanding that God is the King Of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16), who is the Creator of All things (Genesis 1) the righteous Judge over all mankind (Rev 20:12) and we stand before Him guilty of sin (Romans 3:23). With this godly respect and reverence for the Almighty we cry out for forgiveness like the tax collector in Luke 18:13, “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner.”
God responds to this cry by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16) “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) Those who put their faith in Christ are forgiven of their sins. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)
Consider these words from Charles Spurgeon: “Dear reader, where are you this evening? Can you by humble faith look to Jesus, and say, “My substitute, You are my rock, my trust”? Then, beloved, be not afraid of God’s power; for by faith you have fled to Christ for refuge, the power of God need no more terrify you, than the shield and sword of the warrior need terrify those whom he loves. Rather rejoice that He who is “great in power” is your Father and Friend.”
“Yes, Jesus said, “in the world you will have tribulation,” but He was quick to add, “be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” “I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2) No matter what happens to us in this life we will be with Christ forever. This is the foundation of our peace.
HAVING PEACE IN A TROUBLED WORLD
Now let’s build on that foundation. We are to be “anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:5-7
Once we accept Christ will we still fear the things of the world? Yes, but now our response should be to immediately take our focus off our worldly fear and look again to Christ, who is our peace (Ephesians 2:14). We “cast our cares upon Him” (1 Peter 5:7) and pray for the grace and strength to see His will be done. We let go and trust Him to handle the situation.
”Peace, peace, sweet peace,
Wonderful gift from above,
Oh, wonderful, wonderful peace,
Sweet peace, the gift of God’s love.”