Fortified from Fear
“What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.” (NIV)
The Gospel is good news, and in the good news, there is no bad news! That is why the Gospel has declared that in place of dread and fear, as we enjoy this message of Christ’s grace, God will continually fill our heart with the presence and power of His lavish love so that we can live bold in the freedom and irreversible blessings we have been freely given in Him. His love fortifies us from that which we fear and dread. 1 John 4:18 writes it this way: ‘There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has to do with punishment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.’ (KJV). Instead of shame, dread, and fear, we can live life confident that every promise and every blessing imaginable is ours in Christ, without fail. Unlike the old covenant of works, which Job was under, the new covenant of grace gives us a full and perfect image of God’s practical, detailed love –a love which, I will repeat, fortifies us from that which we fear! This is why Romans 5:5 articulates that ‘hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.’ (NIV). In other words, as you focus on and enjoy God’s love, fear will be swallowed up and God’s good blessings will manifest in your life. You will never have to declare with Job that your fears and dreads have come true, because in Christ you are sure to consistently, constantly abound with prosperity (Deuteronomy 28:11).
This assurance that our fears and dreads will not come upon us comes through the Gospel alone. In Christ, we can declare that we are under a continual fountain of blessings, with every curse eradicated. We get all good, and no bad. We live in the reality of Proverbs 10:22 [“The blessing of the LORD, it makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” KJV]; the reality that Christ became a curse for us, being cursed in our place, so that the blessing of Abraham could rest upon our lives through Christ’s faithfulness and not our own – that means firm, unshakable, fixed blessings (Galatians 3:13-14). Note that Genesis 24:1 declares that ‘the Lord had blessed Abraham in ALL things’ (KJV). So when you read verses such as Job 3:25, be reassured that you live under a NEW covenant with SUPERIOR promises. A covenant where, like Abraham, you will be blessed in ALL things, meaning that you will experience fear and dread in NO thing! Hebrews 8:6 states:’ Jesus is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises’ (KJV).
These better promises mean that we do not have to depend upon our efforts to fortify us from that which we dread, because Christ has hidden us under the shadow of his wings (Psalm 91). So although Scripture declares that Job was a righteous man who often offered up prayers for his children (Job 1:5), Job did not see continual manifest blessing, because Job was under the old covenant, and his security was centred upon his works, rather than upon the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Job saw his prayers as the atoning work, rather than God’s power, because did not understand the love and goodness of God, made evident in the gospel of Christ (1 John 5:20). He did not understand that he could rest upon God’s faithful all-sufficiency, rather than having to live in a world of dread and fears. As a result, Job’s prayers brought no relief, because they did not look to the Answer, but remained focused upon his worries and works. What seemed like faith was really a dead work, and as Hebrews states, believers under the new covenant are those called to move on from dead (lifeless) works, to embrace faith in God (Hebrews 6:10). So today, if you find yourself living in fear and responding to its compulsions, rather than responding to faith, take a big rest! You are fortified and free in Christ, under a new and superior covenant, and in order to experience your freedom from fear and dead works, simply continue to hear the message of God’s love and grace. As the writer of Hebrews has spoken, under this new covenant you can experience the reality that Christ’s finished work has purged you completely from your need for dead works to fortify, protect, and bring blessing upon your life: “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” – Hebrews 9:14 (KJV)