Honestly! You put the fear of God into me!

by Richard on November 28, 2007

This was originally posted by Mike Blakey, who was murdered a year ago. I’ve reposted this in tribute to him. He’s still missed.

Before I became a Christian, one of the things that put me off was the doctrine of fear that I perceived to be central to the Christian faith. The promise of God’s love was often lost amongst the tyranny of his condemnation. I couldn’t accept – and frankly, wasn’t scared by – a God who, despite being a God of love, was also a relentless arbiter of suffering. When I posed this concern, people would often explain to me that God is infinitely loving, but also infinitely judgmental. This didn’t wash with me either, and frankly, it still doesn’t. However, in considering exactly what it is that brings us to God, I do wonder how many, in reality, actually live under the fear of suffering rather than the splendour of eternal love.

It often gets to me. You’re going to be judged. There’ll be no arguing; you’ll be cast into the ETERNAL hell-fire. Now, it’s to be considered, but is it to be the catalyst in your accepting the redemption offered you by God? If so – and I can fully understand how it can be – then what can be said about the intentions of a person who is effectively scared into embracing a saviour? Are they really going to benefit from the virtues imparted through God’s love? Are they really developing a faith, or simply a false conviction that removes the fear from their lives but does little to bring them to God?

Now, I’ve been in this situation myself. There have been times when, through listening to others, I’ve changed my ways as a result of fear of recrimination. Now, perhaps this is good; after all, I did the right thing in the end. However, this fear is a temporary thing, and it often requires someone to keep knocking it into the back of your head. It doesn’t provide you with anything tangible; it doesn’t emulate the love of Christ. You can keep a criminal off the streets by threatening him with imprisonment, but you don’t get the genuine effect that comes through rehabilitation, through getting to the heart of the criminal and allowing him/her to feel the errors of his/her ways. So it is with God. He may choose to scare us with a fiery death, but that’s not going to change the people we are; it may change our actions, but it won’t change our intentions.

Only the good news of the love of God, and the saving grace that is there for us to receive, can do this. Only by acting through love can we truly work for the glory of God, and only by living with compassion can we do justice to the sacrifice made for us. To preach a gospel of fear is to remove all that is glorious about our relationship with God, and to deny people the essence of the good news. God is love, and without fear, we should accept him as such.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Wood 11.28.07 at 1:57 pm

It’s easy to forget how eloquent and intelligent he was. You’re right. We still miss him.

2

DH 11.28.07 at 2:46 pm

I actually thought that this post was rather balanced. I think there are people who accept Christ in their head and not their heart and that includes people “scared into the Kingdom” and those who are not. I also believe like he said here “There have been times when, through listening to others, I’ve changed my ways as a result of fear of recrimination. Now, perhaps this is good; after all, I did the right thing in the end.” So there are people who with their heart, soul and mind who came into the Kingdom this way and those who weren’t. However, we must understand that there IS eternal judgement but it isn’t God who does the judgeing we do by what Jesus says about those who are unbelievers “…condemned already”. You see before we accept Christ we are “condemned already” but by receiving God’s Grace made available to all we can escape this condemnation and receive eternal life and more importantly a relationship with Christ. So I believe those who are more extreme than me who believe in hell forget that God doesn’t condemn we condemn ourselves. I believe this makes those who aren’t Believers to get the wrong idea that God isn’t love and God is so harsh.

Remember Scripture mentions “The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Now this fear isn’t “being scared” but it is a proper understanding that “all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.” The fact remains there is a hell but like Mike implied it shouldn’t be used to scare people but be used as love by bringing about the fact that we can escape this and have a relationship with Christ by receiving God’s Grace made available to those who receive. It isn’t through “being scared” that there is a hell but it is by being condemned already by being born with a sin nature and the lack of people to accept the free gift as well as for satan and his demons that hell is prepared for.

3

Ruth 11.28.07 at 7:19 pm

Another reminder of the intelligent, wise and amazing young man. Who had such amazing insight and the ability to express in a way to challenge and inspire. As Wood said you’re right, we still miss him, lots.

4

Beth 11.28.07 at 10:14 pm

“The last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right deed for the wrong reason.”

5

Ang 12.03.07 at 7:56 pm

Yes God is love and without doubt Mike has now met his Lord. A fitting tribute to someone who through many battles took his faith out to those who were in so much need of our Lords love. Mike’s insight and questioning is one of honesty and one I can learn from as I travel life’s road in faith.

I am smiling as I recall his time with us, and may he rest always in the presence of our Lord. Thanks for getting to know me Mike.

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