Author: Ron Graham
We have thought about how Jesus can mend the heart shattered by sufferings, and how he can help the heart polluted by superstition. Now we come to how Jesus helps the heart plagued with fear of God's wrath.
Many people experience a fear of Divine Judgment but have tried to push it out of mind. It remains however a constant uneasiness that occasionally rises up as a nightmarish fear. This fear is not a phobia. It is a well-founded fear of God's wrath at which any sane person would tremble who is not saved from God's wrath (Romans 1:18, Romans 5:8-9).
Paul understood the fear of God's coming judgment and of eternal hell. He was devoted to helping people react properly to that fear.
"We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be rewarded or punished for our deeds done in the body, according to whether what we have done is good or bad. Therefore, knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade the people" (2Corinthians 5:10-11).
Felix, a powerful Roman governer, trembled when he heard Paul —but he was not moved by his fear to set things right with God. His was not a true fear of God (Acts 24:22-25).
One way to deal with the fear of God is to ignore it until your conscience becomes darkened and doesn't bother you any more (Romans 1:21). This is obviously the wrong way. The right way is to let Jesus into your heart to bring you peace (Isaiah 26:3).
If you do that, you will still fear God (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 and 1Peter 1:17). But you will know you are safe from his "fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries" (Hebrews 10:27).
If you escaped from a burning building, you would feel an awful fear of the roaring flames even though you had reached safety. Of course you would feel a different kind of fear compared to when you were in the building trying to escape. But you would still fear the fire nevertheless. This is how Christians feel about God's wrath.
Christians are people who once were dead but now are dedicated. Once their future was eternal death, now it is eternal life. Such is the change that Jesus wrought since he came into their hearts.