Fear and Trembling
God wants to save the world and everyone in it. By grace, he sent his son into the world in Jesus Christ. Jesus died and God raised him as Lord. Like Abraham did, we now believe that God is able to do all that he promises. As Christians, we believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and, as a result, confess Jesus as Lord. Because of this faith (and not the law) we have received forgiveness of sins and approval from God (justification) and God promises that everyone who confesses this will be saved. God will make sure of it. That’s because we are now part of God’s family, God’s children. Like any good parent, God is going to raise his children into mature adults so that we will be “holy as he is holy.” In order to do this, God graciously poured love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. So, God is now writing the law on our hearts by the Spirit (sanctification) forming in us the faith of Christ, who is greater than Abraham. By the Spirit, this faith works itself out through love and good works (fruits of the Spirit; especially forgiving and giving) and leads us into eternal life. Therefore, on the day when Jesus returns to judge the living and the dead we will be found holy and blameless in his sight. As Paul wrote, God “is faithful and will do this.” So, as the day approaches we have no reason to fear but are filled with hope because we are working with God’s Spirit to repent (change our minds, turn around) and follow Jesus on the path of love.
Yes, the final judgment is based on works and we should pursue them passionately, with fear and trembling, by reading God’s Word, submitting to God’s Spirit, and staying committed to God’s people. But, in the end, we are not left with the question, “Have I done enough?” Rather, we are left with the promise: God will do enough.
Seems pretty simple and straight forward, I know. It’s like learning something again for the first time. While I’m all excited others will ask “What’s the big deal?” and still others will ask, “How quickly can we get rid of him?” Hence, the fear and trembling with which I present it.