There are (at least) 2 definitions for fear that we must understand. The first definition, the one used in the verses above that describe a proper fear of God, implies reverence. The word used in 2 Tim 1:7 is a different word. This word has more to do with the cowardice and timidity that people often have out of a desire for SELF-preservation. Let me be clear. God DID GIVE us the SPIRIT OF FEAR and AWE and REVERENCE OF HIM. If you have this, it is from HIM. What God has not given us is the spirit of cowardice that Paul was warning Timothy of in 2 Timothy. If you read the 2 letters to Timothy, you will see that Timothy struggled with the fear of men. He feared persecution for the gospel; I also infer that he was even afraid of some of his own church members’ opinion of him and “his youth.” (1 Tim 4:12)
Think of the folly of this line of thinking: Do you ever think God looks down at a large skyscraper or a strong weightlifter, or billions of dollars in a bank account and thinks, “Wow, that is impressive!” Certainly not! It’s absurd to believe that the Creator of all would be impressed with anything at all that creatures do! The God that accepts human offerings of sacrifice or religion is an idol, created by the minds of men who deny truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). Reason with me, please! If there is a god, he could not be coerced or moved by human will, else he would not be God! And there is a God – and He is not compeled by men! He wills and does as he pleases! (Eph 1:4-5)
What a tough verse to ponder! It sounds simple, but if you’ll bear with me, you’ll see that there must be more to this verse than what appears plain from a simple reading. Out of context, and all by itself, this verse seems to be a command not to judge…but in context, and using legitimate rules of interpretation and sound logic, I’ll show that this verse commands something different, and nearly opposite of that! When I’m finished, we will understand why false converts, false teachers and nonbelievers everywhere are shouting this verse from the rooftops, and you’ll be ready to defend your faith when you are accused of not being Christlike, because you are “judging.”
What a simple verse, truly! But as always, God’s text is packed with meaning, and in this case, utterly under attack for centuries now. Sadly, it is professing Christians who have likely done the most damage with attempts to put meaning here that is not inherent in the text. Notice I did not call those attempts “well-intentioned,” as a truly well-intentioned attempt at interpreting the Bible will start with a biblical worldview and a belief that scripture is the ultimate authority.
This is the second part of the teaching on God’s grace. Here we learn that God’s Grace is Unconditional, Irresistible, Eternal and Persevering.
THIS IS WHY I DO WHAT I DO. Many of you know that I do the work of an evangelist. I am actually super excited because I just received 2 boxes of 10,000 tracts that my church designed and ordered from www.customtractsource.com and on the same day, we launched our new improved website, www.bereanbaptistchurch.com and I got to be a part of both those things. Each of these activities is designed with one ultimate goal: to glorify God by pointing to Christ and His finished work on the cross. Our chief aim is to edify believers and herald the gospel to the lost.
This is the first part of the teaching on God’s grace. Here we learn what grace really means and what our response that that grace should be.