“If our faith were but more simple, we would take Him at His Word..” So go the words of a dearly loved hymn, with a truth we often miss.. but how often do we receive hymns and read scriptures in pure unbelief. Over the past few years, God has brought me back to this truth many times. Everything of sin results in misery, depression, hurt, pain and disappointment, while all that comes from God is good, pure, holy, just, gracious, and loving. This truth permeates the warp and weft of scripture… from beginning to end. “If our faith were but more simple, we would take Him at His Word..”
Throughout the Word of God we are repeatedly told not to fear.. and yet how many born-again devotees of Christ are choked with fear. It is now a scientifically proven fact that as fear increases so faith decreases. Research now confirms that worry and concerns of life envelop our thinking.. for worry is the root cause for the vast majority of life’s problems, resulting in sickness of body and sickness of soul.
Yet scripture has repeatedly implored us to fear not.. and scripture shows the pernicious stream that flows from fear and its tributaries.. worry, anger, irritation, sickness, disappointment, hurt, pain.. discomfort, distress, disorientation, despair, and finally death. What folly it is to fear.. when God’s word repeatedly reminds us: fear not.
"Fear not", were the first words of grace, spoken to that little band of shepherds – shepherds on a lonely hill in the little town of Bethlehem. "Fear not", the angelic messenger proclaimed, "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.. for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, Who is the Anointed of God – the Lord Jesus Christ.” Luke 2:10.
For 4000 years fallen man, in a fallen world waited for the Seed of the woman, and silently, secretly, deep within each generation.. the Seed traversed the centuries. Adam, Seth, Enoch, Noah... Abraham, Isaac, Israel, Boaz, David, Nathan, Mary……. JESUS.
He was born to die – that men might live. He was born to be made vile sin – that sinners might be made pure and perfect. He was born to be broken – that sin-shattered man might be made whole. He was born to be wounded – that damaged, traumatised man might be made new. He was born to bring the despairing, comfort, hope and joy that was lost in Eden’s realm. He came to bind up and to heal the broken, bloodied, wounded heart.
This good news announced the eternal life penetrating the dying, terrestrial world. These good-tidings of great joy show us unequivocally, that God delights in mercy. This angelically proclaimed gospel message, announced deliverance.. deliverance from Sin.. deliverance from all Sin.. deliverance from all the effects of Sin.. deliverance from all the power of Sin.. deliverance from all the effects and all the power of all sin – deliverance from sin, which is the great cause of shame, guilt, misery, suffering, damnation and death.
"Fear Not" were the first words this message proclaimed:- fear not, fear not… Fear Not…. FEAR NOT. Fear was the first sin-soaked emotion felt by the first fallen, sin-soaked man. And Adam said, I heard Thy voice and I was afraid.” I was fearful. "I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself" behind a fig apron. Gen.3:10 The once innocent, God-conscious man, became the guilty, self-conscious sinner. I tried to cover my own embarrassment, with the works of my hand. I tried to recover my former glory with my own effort…. I failed…. and I hid myself… I was afraid.
And fear translated into contempt.. it’s your fault God, the woman you gave me! And thus fear, shame, contempt and rage have been the hallmark of prideful man. Prideful man, who needs but to acknowledge his sin. Prideful man, who needs but to kneel in humble repentance before God.
The same sick sin, that reared its ugly satanic, serpentine skull in the garden, is the same disintegrating disease that destroys mankind today. It is the same destructive, savage decay used to shipwreck the faith of saints. That sin starts with pride, 'I will be as God' – 'I will be my own god and do it my way'. It continues with self-consciousness; fear; shame; condemnation; ruin. Sin exposes the nakedness of our sin, but God provides the covering of righteousness: "for unto you is born a Saviour, Who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:11
The tidings of great joy declared to the little shepherd band were indeed for all men, for all have sinned and all fall short of God’s glory and all men need a Saviour. Two thousand years ago the Infinite, the Almighty One stooped down into time, so that He could pick up you, a lost, worthless, shame-ridden, miserable worm.. so He could pick up me, an equally lost, worthless, shame-ridden, miserable worm.. so that He could raise both of us up, into newness of Life – so that we could both become His heavenly, joint-heirs.
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