- March 7, 2017 at 7:27 pm #899JamesKeymaster
“… love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”(NLT)
Fear has punishment but there is no fear in love, so there is no punishment in love, either. The Holy Spirit was not sent to punish but to correct. Repeating what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit, the Apostle John wrote “and having come, He will convict the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment;”* The word translated “convict” can also be translated reprove and convince. As I have explained elsewhere in this website, God is reasonable and does not demand unquestioning obedience. Rather, He seeks a dialogue with each of us in order to reason with us and persuade us to agree with Him. He just asks that we not shut Him out of a discussion. He won’t get angry because we disagree with Him. As long as we will listen, He is thrilled to keep seeking to convince us. He enjoys the conversation. In fact, the primary meaning of “obey” is to listen with intention to hear. In the original language of the Bible, the root Greek word in “to obey” is “to hear.”
Have you ever been in a discussion with someone who proved that you were wrong about something? Sometimes that hurts, but not because they punished you. The same is true when God is able to persuade you that something you believe is not true. It kind of hurts. Sometimes correction can be painful, but it is not punishment. The more we resist admitting when we are wrong, the more painful it can be because we are unknowingly holding on to something that is hurting us. Let’s face it. Who likes being wrong? But, once we face wrong beliefs, attitudes, actions, or desires, the pain they caused begins to subside and we increasingly find ourselves aligned with God. Then comes joy. But fear tells us we are facing punishment which has no end in sight nor any sense of how bad and painful it will be. It gnaws at us causing torment.
So, now that we know God is not out to punish us, even when we do something wrong, we don’t have to fear what God may do to us. He is always for us. He won’t quit trying to train us to think the way He thinks, about everything. That involves correction, but never punishment.
* John 16:8 Young’s Literal Translation
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