Hope and Fear

Posted: September 6, 2010 in Blog Carnival
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Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.  ~Romans 11:20b-22 (full context)

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.  ~Hebrews 10:23 (full context)

You cannot have hope in God without fear of God.

If you think you do, my fear is that you do not know the God of the Bible, but rather you are worshiping some god manufactured of this modern culture or of your own preferences and sensibilities. For how can you possibly understand the depth and breadth of this hope to which you claim to cling, if you do not understand from what (i.e. from Whose wrath) you are saved? If you cherish only the Shepherd cradling the lamb, but refuse to see the Glorious One treading the wine press as the blood of unfaithful humans flows as high as horses’ noses, you are creating a god of convenience to pat you on the back.  I challenge you to read the scary parts of the Bible, and let the Holy Spirit teach you what real hope is.

If you know me well, or if you’ve read much of what I’ve had to say on my previous blog, you may counter-accuse me of having more fear than hope.  You would not be too far off the mark.  God is scary, and I’m an ugly sinner who can’t get anything right. I will be preaching that literally until Kingdom come. I have been accused by many — some who were concerned about my apparently self-deprecating mental state, and others who were simply offended by the Bible — of being too harsh or too focused on God’s wrath.  To them I reiterate: You cannot have hope in God without fear of God.

In my mind, I see a holy, fearsome Almighty God.  While I know that He is pure love — a sort of eternal, all-consuming and unbiased love that I cannot understand — I also see very clearly that He is just. This last observation brings me to another part of my mind, wherein I see a sinner who can’t figure out how to stop sinning. A Christian who doesn’t act like a Christian. A woman whose heart is dark and selfish. A person in despair.

This God and this girl are simply incompatible.  It could never work out.  He is too perfect, and she is too broken.  All she can see is her sin, but He is teaching her to see the mercy He’s already given. She is scared of Him, because she knows she doesn’t deserve Him, but she loves Him. He is so kind, even when He is severe.

He is her hope.  But she wouldn’t have really known if she hadn’t feared.

  1. Glynn says:

    Fear and hope are not opposites – they’re two sides of the same coin – dependence on God. Good post.

  2. katdish says:

    He is love and he is justice. He’s not one or another. We just want him to be one or the other. Love that song. Did you read “The God Who Smokes” by Timothy Stoner? Have we talked about that before?

  3. macayla says:

    “If God put Adam out of this earthly Eden on account of one sin, do you think He will let us into the Paradise above with our tens of thousands of sins upon us?” -D.L. Moody

    Thankfully, we have reason to hope in the face of the Righteous Judge.

  4. jasonS says:

    He is most assuredly due fear and reverence. He is awe-inspiring and beyond measure. The King of kings and Lord of lords. I’m also glad we can confidently know His love, grace, and mercy. In all ways, He is absolutely holy… You got my thoughts pumping today. Thanks Lainie.

  5. HisFireFly says:

    And His grace is enough, for the likes of me, the likes of you.

    And that is why we stand in awe.

    Great post.

  6. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love. Psalms 33:18

    Thanks for sharing your heart today!

  7. Bridget says:

    Love the post and the song! I couldn’t agree more…

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