by Robert Chamberlain
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 ESV
Jesus was preparing His disciples for the persecution that was to come. Church tradition has it that most of them were martyred for the faith, and John, an exception was exiled to a penal colony. It’s a tough message: people will persecute you, but don’t be afraid.
The reality is that those who would harm us cannot hurt us spiritually. We’re blessed when we’re persecuted because great is our reward in heaven. Nothing can seperate us from the love of God- not any form of persecution or anything else.
So we don’t need to be afraid of our persecutors. But we do need to fear God. Often when we define fear of the Lord we qualify it to say it means reverence. But this is more. It’s like a kid behaving well because he fears his father’s punishment if he misbehaves.
The fear of the Lord is not a blind terror that would have us running from Him. It’s the fear of a child who runs to their father to apologise before their wrongdoing is found out and punished. We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
“God of consuming fire, may we fear You as we ought. May we run to You from the punishment we deserve, in confession and faith. And may we find in You a refuge from all our foes. In Christ’s name, amen”