Fear is the result of choosing to believe that what’s in front of you is greater than who’s behind you, for “if God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? …No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loves us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” For, “If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them, and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love…[and] perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”
God is not in the business of punishment. Too often, we wrongly believe that punishment and discipline are the same, and that fairness and justice are one, when God actually disciplines us just so that we might avoid punishment! And the Lord is certainly just…but he is not fair. The payment of sin by Jesus’ death on the cross was not “fair” to us—grace, by definition, is never deserved. You see, God never fights fairly. He unfairly held the sun in place so that Joshua’s army might win the victory, but in doing so he exacted justice upon those who stood against him. He unfairly tore down the walls of Jericho so that Israel might win the battle and enter into the promised land, but he remained just by keeping his promises. He unfairly offers us eternal life in the glory of heaven through the resurrection of Jesus, but remains just by paying the penalty of sin through the death of Jesus.
Do you see? We have no grounds for fear because of the hope we have in God through Christ! Fear is the result of wrongly choosing to believe that what is in front of you is greater than who is behind you. On the contrary, hope is the result of rightly choosing to believe that “my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” and that as we “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…all these things will be added to you.” And hope is not a present reality, but a future reality through faith, “for who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience,” and “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
When you lay hold of this hope, “[writing it] on the tablet of your heart,” you will be able to consider, as Paul did, “that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”