Today we are going to contemplate God’s third command, “live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.” This comes as surprising, as we almost never heard of it as 1 John 4:18 mentioned that “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” This verse emphasized that there is no fear if you are perfect in love. The question is who can be perfect in love? This verse did not mean to against us, that if we are not perfect in love in this world, that we shall live in fear.
We must understand the meaning behind this verse, that there are always two sides in the bible, which proclaim comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. On one side, the word of God can provide comfort to nervous souls, however on the other side, it can also create nervous among the comforted souls. Why? Our comforted soul is an incorrect comfort, our satisfaction is also an incorrect satisfaction, as C.S Lewis quoted that we feel satisfied just like children playing in the dirty sewage mud and never made a move from it, because they never played in the clean white sand beach. As our comforted soul is an incorrect comfort, this will need a word of God that can create nervous among the comforted souls.
What is the meaning of this God’s third command? When we really hear it, it assisted us in something that we do not usually hear. We might have listened to other parts of the word of God that we might already knew them that we are already stuck in them and not growing out of them. Sometimes we must listen to so many other parts of the word of God, not just for the new topics, that can unpack the deepest part of our hearts, unpack our lives, that we must also expect the word of God that we do not understand so that we can understand. Which they can assist us to deepen the roots and we continue to grow. Therefore, the first reason of understanding the God’s third command can be referenced on the first part of 1 Peter 1: 17 (Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially). God can judge all of us without single trace of discrimination, no double standards, no special people according to their works.
There has been a great fear for us living not to satisfy God’s heart, there is also a great fear for us to commit sin – not courageously committing sin or not superbly committing sin. Should God witness our daily lives doing things or saying words to our wife or husband, how we can manage our finance, how we can live on daily basis, are they truly reflect the lives of fearing God? We want to please our God, by placing our hopes in Him. May these words of God brighten our hearts, that can be reflected in our lives. We are all living under the God’s authority, we are all under God’s judgment, we all want to obey the words of God. This is the word of God that rarely heard of, so that we can live in fear if we live in this world. There have been many churches may never deliver this word of God, but they continue to offer something that the world has been seeking for, and to deliver some news that can be easily accepted globally, otherwise they may fear of getting attacked with, or something that can against with or fear of losing congregations.
However, a theologian named David Wells ironically researched and studied on things that happened on many churches, that ironically those churches that offended their congregations by delivering the truths. He ironically concluded that by doing this way, many congregations will leave these churches because they can obtain whatever the world that church can offer – only they can obtain something better than what church can offer. Should churches copy and follow the way that the world thinks that they no longer faithful to the words of God.
The second reason of understanding the God’s third command can be referenced on verses 18 and 19 on the first chapter of 1 Peter. Verse 18 describes “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect”. Why do we have to live full of fear in this world? Because you know that you were redeemed by the precious blood of Christ which is the same as blood from a lamb without blemish or defect.
We have therefore been freed because the precious blood of Christ has redeemed us and we no longer live in fear. Let us look on Romans 8: 33 and 34 which stated “Who will being any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God justifies. Who then s the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Because we have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, that God no longer able to accuse us or punish us – there is no more punishment for those inside the Christ. Because we have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, that there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love in this world eternally. Doesn’t that mean God has died for us with the precious blood, that we do not have to fear anymore and came victorious and freedom?
If we need to understand the precious blood of Christ, that has redeemed us from the empty way of life handed down to us from our ancestors, that we need to fear of God. This is similar to Psalm 130:4, “But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.” Because of God’s forgiveness that He will certainly made the God Himself to be feared of. God forgives us by sending His son to die for us and redeem our sins. There is no other way, there is nothing more or nothing less, that God sent His son. That way, we can understand how precious God is to redeem us from our empty way of life. Therefore, we need to fear to return to our empty way of life, the former life we once lived in. There must be a radical transformation, starting from our heart and appears in our lives.
Titus 2:14 (who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good) – this is the purpose of redeem, to free us from sin and all wickedness so that we can be purified and live to please the God and to live in God’s will. God’s purpose in the blood of Christ is not only for our justification, but also for our sanctification.
May this word of God can remind us, teach us and push us to come in God’s presence despite our inconsistent way of life that does not proclaim that God’s blood is precious. If we realised this, let us come before God as we feared in Him. Though we feared of God, however, we must not run away from Him that He will judge upon us and there is nothing that we can appeal once God judges us for our works. Instead, let us come before God that there is forgiveness because He is also the God who loves us.