“So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:9-17
In response to the eternal nature of the gospel of Christ and in light of the hope of Heaven, Paul exhorts believers to live as faithful stewards (v.10). He accentuates the importance of faithful living by speaking of knowing the fear of the Lord.
“The two meanings of fear enter into the concept of the fear of God. There is the dread or terror of the Lord and there is the fear of REVERENTIAL AWE. There is the fear that consists of being afraid: it elicits anguish and terror. And there is the fear of reverence; it elicits CONFIDENCE and LOVE.” John Murray, Principles of Conduct, p.233
No fear: Psalm 34:4-5, 23:4, 27:1-3
Isaiah 41:10, 13
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16
The fear of the Lord consists of:
1. Playing to an audience of One; which underscores the nature of the “heart-faith” as compared to being esteemed because of outward displays (v.12).
2. Being constrained/controlled/occupied and held together by the love of Christ (v.14).
3. An ongoing understanding of the reality of the cross of Christ and his death for us (v.14b-15).
4. The correct conclusions:
We live for Christ and
We no longer regard people “according to the flesh”.
5. A desire to persuade others.
1. How does Luther, before his conversion, trembling in a forest during a thunderstorm and crying out, “Saint Anne, help me, and I will become a monk” show the unbiblical, uninformed “fear” of God?
2. Why is the biblical fear of God one that does NOT lead to dread or terror? (Matthew 11:28-30, Hebrews 4:16)
3. What does it mean when Paul wrote that the love of Christ controls or sustains or occupies him? How does that manifest in daily living?
4. What are the two correct conclusions in Verses 15 and 16?
5. Who are people in your circle of influence that you should seek to persuade the glory of the Christmas message?
NEW CITY CATECHISM
Q 50: What does Christ’s resurrection mean for us?
A: Christ triumphed over sin and death by being physically resurrected, so that all who trust in him are raised to new life in this world and to everlasting life in the world to come. Just as we will one day be resurrected, so this world will one day be restored. But those who do not trust in Christ will be raised to everlasting death.
Q 51: Of what advantage to us is Christ’s ascension?
A: Christ physically ascended on our behalf, just as he came down to earth physically on our account, and he is now advocating for us in the presence of his Father, preparing a place for us, and also sends us his Spirit.