Contemplations of Fear and the Love of God
ARC GUIDE LEVEL 2
Ideal for those already acquainted with our thought process at Ammi Ruhama Community
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”Matthew 10:28 English Standard Version
What we fear betrays who we fear.
Eternal Separation from God
Eternal separation from God is not an effective judgement if we never experienced any degree of unity with God at some point–it is, at that point, a mere continuation of our current experience. There is, however, a common grace that means that we benefit from God’s presence around us whether we are his friends or his enemies, but all of that (presumably) will be gone in the judgement. If we are honest, we do not fear separation from God–it is not on our radar of things we quantifiably have a “fear,” of. So what are we afraid of? What fills us with such existential dread that we avoid it by all means? What do we change our behaviour and beliefs to ensure that it never happens?
Separation from Our Bodies
This should be quite obvious. Most of us have a deep existential fear of one another and the results of displeasing those around us. This is why belief changes so slowly, because we are afraid of the social pressure that results from that change. Jesus’s ultimate example of what people can do to us, specifically torture and kill us for our beliefs and behaviours are what He knew was in his immediate future because of his lack of fear of other people, and therefore his commitment to the Father. This is the worst that many people can think of. There are other attached fears, of course, all of which Jesus addresses at some point in his brief ministry. Afraid of starving to death? Does the Father not feed the birds of the air, and are you not more important to Him than they are? Are you afraid of not having clothes to wear to cover your shame? Does the Father not clothe the fields in fine flowers, and are you not more important than the fields? Are you grieving? You will receive comfort! Jesus takes it an infinite step further to say that those who experience grief, hunger, humiliation, and the like are actually the blessed ones–the ones who are happy, because they recognise that they receive the total opposite of those things from God. If we mourn, we will be comforted, if we are hungry or thirst we will be satisfied (the Bible makes the provision “hunger and thirst for righteousness” to put the urgency and regularity that we normally attach to the satisfaction of our bodily needs). If we are truly afraid of these things to the point where we change our beliefs and behaviours to suit them, then we do not truly believe that God loves us, and will provide for us. We believe that the changes we have made have ultimately given us the food in our bellies and clothes on our backs rather than God himself. God makes his sun to shine on the righteous and the unrighteous and his rain to fall on both as well. This means that his blessing is not transactional but neither are the things we fear negative transactional results of His disapproval . He desires our adoration and credit for what we already receive–that we would change our behaviour and beliefs as a result of our love for him and not in pursuit of the things we already receive that we think we will receive more of if we give God credit. Our lives pre-salvation and post-salvation receive no more or no less than before–it is our growth in love for Him and for one another that means we no longer fear that we will be stripped of everything if we do not conform in our beliefs and behaviours to those who surround us. We may be stripped as a means of testing us, as Job was, or we may receive many riches in this life and we will double down on what we think was the cause of our riches when it was God who chose to bless us as in the rich young ruler.
“But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”Job 2:10 English Standard Version