Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
This question probes deep into our souls: is it a sin to be afraid? "Through fear of death [we are] all [our] lifetime subject to bondage" (Heb. 2:15). There is a healthy fear, without which we would be fools. There is also a morbid fear that enslaves us. "You shall not be afraid of the terror by night," says the Psalm of comfort (91:5). God wants very much to deliver us from fear. Says Jesus, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). The "let not" means that our choice is involved. Fear may assail us but we can choose not to give in to it.
It all boils down to believing God's promises in His new covenant. And for those of us who are born and nurtured in unbelief (isn't that everybody, according to the Bible?), the only difficult thing is learning to overcome our natural-born unbelief. We're back to square one in learning John 3:16: "Whoever believes in Him should not [will not] perish."
And here is where the Savior of the world touches us. He too was tempted to indulge in unbelief--but wait a moment, He never gave in to it. Read the two psalms that weld our souls to Him as nothing else in the Bible does--Psalms 22 and 69. There we find the closest fellowship with Jesus in His hour of feeling forsaken by His Father. Those two psalms probe deeply into how any human being can feel when suffering total despair. Jesus is "tasting death for every man" (Heb. 2:9). He is enduring the horror of hell. And in so doing He is "abolishing death" (2 Tim. 1:10; the second), and delivering us from the fear of it.
No way can we endure hell and triumph over it on our own; but we can corporately identify with Jesus while He endures it. We can sing with Paul, "I am crucified with Christ" (Gal. 2:20). Our souls unite with Him "through faith" (Eph. 2:8). His cross becomes our cross and His glorious victory becomes ours. "Behold Him" on that cross; join Him there.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: July 20, 2002.
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