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    World Religion & Speculative Theology - Thread: A simple question

    1. #1
      ImaginaryDay2's Avatar
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      A simple question

      Is faith the absence of fear?

    2. #2
      Lämmchen's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by ImaginaryDay2 View Post
      Is faith the absence of fear?
      Fear of what? God's wrath when we die? That fear should be gone and replaced with peace and joy for the believer. Edited to add that our faith is not yet perfected so our sinful nature doesn't fully trust in God and so there might still be fear of not being loved enough by God or forgiven by Him.

      When the angels would appear to man in the bible, the first words they would say were "Fear not".
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus

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    4. #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by Lämmchen View Post
      Fear of what?
      That's a good question to consider. At times fear might be "what's going to happen at that meeting with the boss today? I know I messed up that presentation..." to "My Doctor has given me the 'bad news'. What shall I tell my family? How will I cope? I'm just full of fear about this..." Global statements about faith and fear, while perhaps meant to be a reassurance about having confidence in God and his ultimate will, can tend to miss the subtleties of different circumstances.

      Quote Originally Posted by Lämmchen View Post
      God's wrath when we die? That fear should be gone and replaced with peace and joy for the believer. Edited to add that our faith is not yet perfected so our sinful nature doesn't fully trust in God and so there might still be fear of not being loved enough by God or forgiven by Him.
      Good point. I think we continue to use our own self-determined standard as to how we "measure up" in our walk of faith, which can produce a type of fear that we are 'missing the mark'. However, stepping out in faith and going back to the standard given in scripture (that "...we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins..."). So I see in that sense that faith can counteract and lessen fear, but again isn't necessarily an opposite.

      Quote Originally Posted by Lämmchen View Post
      When the angels would appear to man in the bible, the first words they would say were "Fear not".
      I wonder how often we, as humans, examine why we should "fear not" in different circumstances. The angels explained why the shepherds should not fear, they understood, and stepped out in faith with expectancy. Is that, perhaps, a legitimate example of "opposites"?

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      I am thinking of the OT story about when they were carrying the ark of the covenant, and they had to cross the Jordan. The Jordan is a deep, fast river, and the force of the water, unstable footing under the water that the men could not see, going down the steep bank of the river... and carrying an ark that just touching could kill you... knowing you could easily stumble or be carried away by the water... God didn't part those waters before the men stepped out. I think they felt the fear and did it anyway because they had faith that God would do as he said, and part the waters. Those men who carried the ark were either fearful and faithful or simply suicidal.

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      I believe that we all come to God in fear at first but then God takes us into His arms and tells us not to fear any more and to only Love... this is implied greatly in scripture.
      It's also why I despise teachers of perfectionism, that we should remain in constant fear of not meeting Gods expectations and so we must preach to other believers the same and hope that it appeases God by doing so.

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      Quote Originally Posted by ValleyGal View Post
      I am thinking of the OT story about when they were carrying the ark of the covenant, and they had to cross the Jordan. The Jordan is a deep, fast river, and the force of the water, unstable footing under the water that the men could not see, going down the steep bank of the river... and carrying an ark that just touching could kill you... knowing you could easily stumble or be carried away by the water... God didn't part those waters before the men stepped out. I think they felt the fear and did it anyway because they had faith that God would do as he said, and part the waters. Those men who carried the ark were either fearful and faithful or simply suicidal.
      Weren't they fearful of God's Law though in that case...that if they touched the ark they would die?

      Today we still fear God because of His Law that accuses us of our sins but my faith is not in His Law but in the Gospel.
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus

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      I believe it says that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom
      Isaiah 40:31

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      Quote Originally Posted by Lämmchen View Post
      ...(M)y faith is not in His Law but in the Gospel.
      Okay, in a practical sense, what does that mean? It's much the same to me as saying "if we have more faith we should have less fear" - a statement I heard on a Christian radio station that immediately made me turn it off. While out faith is in the Gospel, how does that look? It's fine to say, and it may be true, but let's tease that apart before the next 'Casting Crowns' tune begins.

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      Quote Originally Posted by psalms 91 View Post
      I believe it says that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom
      I agree. A holy, reverent, righteous fear that recognizes who God is - his power, majesty, wisdom... I could go on. And this, I think, is separate from a "do not approach - danger!" type of fear that we, as humans, might think of.
      Good point

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      Quote Originally Posted by ImaginaryDay2 View Post
      Okay, in a practical sense, what does that mean? It's much the same to me as saying "if we have more faith we should have less fear" - a statement I heard on a Christian radio station that immediately made me turn it off. While out faith is in the Gospel, how does that look? It's fine to say, and it may be true, but let's tease that apart before the next 'Casting Crowns' tune begins.
      God's Law says to be perfect. I can't do that so I'm afraid. I don't have faith in that.

      God's Gospel says I am forgiven because Jesus died on the cross for my sins. There lies my comfort. That's what my faith grasps onto.
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus

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