Sumainyo ang kapayapaan at biyaya ng kaligtasan at buhay na walang hanggan na matatanggap lamang, wala nang iba, mula sa Panginoong Jesucristo, ang Dios Anak na nagkatawang tao, upang akuin Niya ang ating kasalanan at tubusin tayo mula sa ating pagkakasala sa pamamagitan ng pagaalay Niya ng buhay ng Kaniyang katawang tao hanggang kamatayan, at sa Kaniyang pagkabuhay mula sa mga patay, ang sinomang sumampalataya sa Panginoong Jesucristo nang tuloy, tuwiran, tapat at walang pasubali, at tanggapin Siya na kaniyang lahat sa lahat, itong Panginoong Jesucristo na ito ang kaniyang maging kaligtasan, buhay na walang hanggan at kaluwalhatian magpakailanman.
The context of my letter to all congregations under the umbrella of the Trinitarian All For Jesus Ekklesia of the Lord God was not the stifling of gospel proclamation and service to the Lord but it was an issue of health and social responsibility – cooperating to contain the further spread of disease. The issue is that though we should not be anxious about the spreading disease but at the same time we should protect ourselves and not be a carrier of the disease by being unrestrained in our mobility. It is a health issue and not a faith issue. What is difficult to differentiate is whether we are constrained by wisdom or is it by fear. This we have to pray for.
There is a pandemic that has spread much faster than the disease. Fear is a kind of malady. The Bible says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7). The Greek word for fear in this verse is “deilia” (deilos, adjective form) which means cowardice (pagkaduwag), timidity (pagpapalagay na kulang sa kakayahan upang humarap sa hamon) kaya nagkakaroon ng katatakutan sa kalalabasan ng mga pangyayari. Ito rin ang isang katangian ng mga ibubulid sa dagat-dagatang apoy at asupre sa Revelation 21:8 dahil sa kawalan ng pananampalataya sa Panginoong Jesucristo na ang Panginoon ang kanilang Tagapagligtas.
It appears that fear is the antithesis (kabaliktaran) of faith. Why? in the New Testament, the Lord said, “fear not” 7 times to His disciples or He said “be not afraid”. Jesus said to them, “’Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?’ Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.” (Matthew 8:26).
Also in Matthew 14:30-31, Peter was bid by the Lord to walk on water and go to Jesus. “But when Peter saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, Lord, save me. Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
This fear caused the Lord to say to the unbelieving 10 spies and the children of Israel, “‘They shall not enter my rest.’” In the Book of Numbers chapters 13 and 14, Joshua and Caleb spoke to the other 10 spies and the children of Israel, “Rebel not against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land…the Lord is with us; fear not.” And when Moses was 20 years old, Joshua was commissioned to succeed Moses to lead the children of Israel and Moses spoke to Joshua in the presence of the children of Israel, “And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8). To bring encouragement to the Hebrews being surrounded by a cloud of many witnesses who died and suffered for the sake of the Lord must also remain steadfast in the Lord, the author of the letter to the Hebrews cited the same verse saying “for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” so that we may boldly say, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” The same is spoken of Romans 28:31, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” This claim is premised on verse 28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
And when finally the believing Isralites got into the promised land, the Lord spoke again to Joshua saying, “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:9).
There is another kind of fear which is a holy fear. In Hebrew, the word is “yare” which describes an attitude of respect, reverence and wonder and is accorded only to Yahweh. This kind of fear is healthy because:
The fear of the Lord keeps us from falling into sin. Exodus 20:20 says, “Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.“
The fear of the Lord makes a person receptive to wisdom and knowledge. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
This kind of fear makes us repent of our sins. Psalm 130:3-4 “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.”
The same holy fear in Greek is the word “phobos” as in the fear of God, as a controlling motive of life, in matters spiritual and moral. It is not a mere “fear” of His power and righteous retribution, but a wholesome dread of displeasing Him. Acts 9:31 says, “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.” Ephesians 5:21 says, “ Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. ”
Ito ang dahilan bakit sinabi na “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear (deilia); but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7). Kailan nawawala ang spirit of fear (deilia)?
When you have the Lord, you have the spirit of power (Gr, “dunamis”; ability). 1 Corinthians 1:24 says, “ But unto them which are called (cf. 1Corinthians 1:2, those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours), both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” When you have Jesus in your life, you have the power or the ability of God in your life. It is not just the power or ability of the world, but the ability of God. Jesus said, “…for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5), while the apostle Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
Secondly, we fear not when we have the spirit of love. 1 John 4:17-18 says, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” What does perfect love cast out? Fear. How does perfect love cast out fear? The fear mentioned here is the fear of judgment. Jesus said just before he laid down his life for our sin, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Also, Paul wrote, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) So you see, when we were yet unworthy, when we were yet sinners, Jesus counted us as His “friends” and He laid down His life to pay for our sins, so that on Judgment day, there is no fear of being cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. This is perfect love On the other hand, on our part, we reciprocate the love of God which is in Christ Jesus by keeping the commandments of Christ. John 14:21 says, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” Our love is manifested by our love for the Lord Jesus. When we sin against Jesus by disobeying His commandments, we do not fear for judgment but we sorrow in that we have hurt Jesus Christ who loves us.
Thirdly, when we have the spirit of a sound mind, there is no spirit of fear. Strong’s dictionary defines a sound mind as a disciplined mind. When you have the mind of Christ, you have humility because Jesus humbled Himself. When you have the mind of Christ, you are obedient to the Lord. On the other hand if you are disobedient to Jesus, He said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” (John 8:34). If you have the mind of Christ, you are obedient unto death. When you live for Christ until death, death to you is not a loss but a gain (Philippians 1:21). Why? Jesus said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:25)
Having the mind Christ is to be wise. How? Paul wrote, “See then that ye walk (lifestyle) circumspectly (naninimbang, diligently comparing our life standards with the standard of God), not as fools, but as wise (having the mind of Christ), redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph 5:15-16). When in a quandary, let us ask ourselves, “If Jesus were in my place, what would Jesus do?”
The Book of Proverbs, is a beautiful book that teaches godly wisdom, biblical traditions and raises questions of values, moral behavior, the meaning of human life, and right conduct. Proverbs 4:23 says, “ Keep thy heart (mind also) with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Be careful how you think. Your life is shaped by it.
In conclusion, Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
But to be able to think like Philippians 4:8, you clear the fears of an anxious mind. How? You wrap up everything with prayers, supplicatons with thanksgiving and your fear shall be replaced with the peace of God to guard your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ, the Prince of peace. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Lastly, may I read to you a portion of Psalm 91:
My Refuge and My Fortress
Psa 91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
Psa 91:2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
Psa 91:3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
Psa 91:4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
Psa 91:5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
Psa 91:6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
Psa 91:7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
Psa 91:8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
Psa 91:9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
Psa 91:10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.