Tuesday, March 20, 2007

What fear of death?

"Their foot shall slide in due time." So starts the Johnathan Edwards sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. And rightly so.

This sermon is often used to show how intolerant puritanical Christianity was. But I don't feel we understand this completely.

Of all men we know who would fear death less than the Son of God? But this is not the case. Rather, Jesus feared the most. Martin Luther commented "Never man feared death like this man."

Why did he fear? Because he was the propitiation given on our behalf. What this means is he took the wrath of God on himself in our place. The Son of God knew what this wrath was and shook in fear, throwing himself to the ground asking that this task would pass from him, and finally proclaiming he was God-forsaken on the cross saying, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

If only we knew the fear of God that Jesus held we too would tremble in fear.

But we, as a Christian, can face death as Stephen and the other saints did, for we do not know death as Christ did so intimately. In the knowledge of our salvation we can live with joy and die with peace.

Augustus Toplady - Faith Reviving

From whence this fear and unbelief?
Hath not the Father put to grief
His spotless Son for me?
And will the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for that debt of sin
Which, Lord, was charged on thee?

Complete atonement Thou hast made,
And to the utmost farthing paid
Whate'er Thy people owed;
Nor can His wrath on me take place,
If sheltered in Thy righteousness
And sprinkled with Thy blood.

If Thou hast my discharge procured,
And freely in my room endured
The whole of wrath divine,
Payment God cannot twice demand,
First at thy bleeding Surety’s hand,
And then again at mine.

Turn then, my soul, unto thy rest;
The merits of they great High Priest
Have bought thy liberty;
Trust in His efficacious blood,
Nor fear thy banishment from God,
Since Jesus died for thee!

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