Many Christians have been attending Church for years and yet not knowing God personally. Many approach God like a long distant call; pray what you need and get over it and say amen. There is always this fear of God’s impending judgment or punishment over what they have done wrong or what they have not done. Ask this question: Do you fear God? (the slavish kind of fear) Do you think God punish your sins? Do you see God as a Judge who is watching you 24/7 to catch you make mistake? If the answer is yes then you may not be enjoying the fullness of God’s Grace in your life.
I was a Christian for over 40 years, going church and reading bible, and for the past 35 years or so, yet I did not know who God is, because I had answered all the above questions as “yes” (see also: https://liftingjesus.org/about-the-author/). When I was a child, my earthly father was a quiet man and seldom home, and my mother liked to use His name to scare us when I or my siblings were not behaving. Isn’t that what many churches today are teaching likewise? Using the name of God to inflict fear on the sheep? I lived my life not knowing who my father was until he died, because I did not want to live with fear with him, so I went far away to another country. We seldom talked, only over long distance calls and only for urgent matters. However, when I was married, my wife was able to communicate with him like a good friend, why? Because, she had not gone through the wrong teaching about my father.
Fear voids Faith. That is the reason why Jesus only mentioned “Great Faith” only to 2 persons in the Bible, the first one is Mat 15:28 “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. She was a Canaanite woman, whose daughter was demon possessed. And the second one is Mat 8:10 “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And his servant was healed that same hour. He was the Centurion or the Commander of 100-200 Roman army.
Do you notice that both of them were not Jews? Both were Gentiles and Gentiles were not groomed to know and learn about the Old Covenant of Law or the 10th Commandments of God. The Law brought constant fear to man, because the purpose of Law is to bring every man to their end and become guilty before God when they break it (Rom 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God). They were oblivious to the Law and only having Jesus’ consciousness! Grace consciousness, that Jesus could heal them, Jesus is good, and Jesus is enough for all miracles to happen. Being oblivious to the Law, apparently produces Great Faith! And such, miracles happen that same hour.
You may ask: What is this “Fear of God” in the Bible? The Fear of God as written in the Bible is not the kind of slavish fear of rattle snake, but the idea of living in respect, in awe, and in submission to God. Jesus Himself translated “Fear of God” as “Worship of God” in Mat 4:10 and Luk 4:8 ; which was actually directly translated from the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy 6:13. God is a good God, He loves you and He had sworn never again to be angry with you nor rebuke you (Isaiah 54:9) and His Loving Kindness shall never depart from you, nor shall His covenant of peace be removed (Isaiah 54:10) ; How come God can swear? Because God has exhausted all His wrath or judgment of sins upon the body of Jesus. It was vividly described through the accurate prophecy, by Prophet Isaiah in 53:4 & 53:5 ; chapter 53 before God could swear in chapter 54. God needed not swear but He did to make you at peace, no-more hard feeling towards God, and no-more wrong thinking about angry God. God had a choice either to spare you or spare Jesus from the punishment of eternal death. And, because of His great love for you, God chose to spare you and spared not His own begotten Son for your sake; because God loved you as much as God loved Jesus. You may say “yes, Jesus is God, and God will raise Him up ultimately after crucifixion”. My friend, don’t you forget that Jesus is also “fully man” who can feel every single pain a man feels.
Historical sources during Jesus’ time revealed, the Romans used flagellation or flogging or Scourging, called verberatio which was possibly the worst kind of flogging administered by ancient courts. It is the act of methodically beating or whipping the human body with a specialized whip consisted of braided leather thongs with metal balls and pieces of sharp bone woven into or intertwined with the braids. The balls added weight to the whip, causing deep bruising as the victim was struck. The pieces of bone served to cut into the sensitive nerves in flesh. As the beating continued, the resulting cuts were so severe that the skeletal muscles, underlying veins were exposed.
After the scourging, Jesus carried His own cross to Golgotha (John 19:17), He collapsed, and a man named Simon was forced to either carry the cross or help Jesus carry the cross the rest of way to the hill (Matthew 27:32–33; Mark 15:21–22; Luke 23:26). This collapse indicates Jesus had low blood pressure, as He suffered from hypovolemic shock. He was also beaten up along the way while carrying the wooded cross, He was crowned with thorns, He was made shamed, totally naked on the cross as the soldiers were gambling His clothes as He bled and suffered the unspeakable agony on the cross in front of the mocking mob. Finally the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water; medical science explained the sustained rapid heartbeat caused by hypovolemic shock also causes fluid to gather in the sack around the heart and around the lungs. This explains why, after Jesus died and a Roman soldier thrust a spear through Jesus’ side, piercing both the lungs and the heart, blood and water came from His side just as John recorded in his Gospel (John 19:34). Literally Jesus died broken hearted for our sake. Jesus died so we may live. God did not spare His own Son for you and I, why ? Do you want to know from Jesus’ own word why?
John Chapter 17 was a long prayer of Jesus, when Jesus spoke these words, He lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said in John 17:23 “I am in them and You are in Me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that You sent Me and that You love them as much as You love Me” The answer is because God loved you and I as much as God loved Jesus, He spared not His own Son for you and I; Heaven is not Heaven without you and I in it.
Beloved of God, you are precious in the eyes of God, as precious as Jesus, His own Son. There is every reason for you now to draw near to Him as often as possible, being His beloved child, so precious to His sight. Come to Him as who you are even though you had just committed sins, even though you still have many unclean habit/s. In fact, it is when you failed, that is the very reason you must run to Him for comfort, and not run from Him, because God is the solution to all problems, while Satan is the cause of all problems and the bad consequences of sins in this world.
God does not punish your sins, in fact He cannot punish sins anymore. The reason God swore never ever be angry with you nor punish you for your sins, is not because He had gone soft, but because God had exhausted all His wrath and judgment of sins upon the body of Jesus 2000 years ago. He had punished all your sins, not on you but on Jesus, and thus God cannot punish the same sins twice upon you and I again, as that will be against His own Righteousness. God is just in making us righteous. We are righteous not because of His mercy, but because of His justice, and because God is also Love; therefore the cross is the solution where Justice kissed with Love perfectly. Hallelujah, Thank Him, yes thank Him is all you can do to receive this precious gift of eternal forgiveness that Jesus died to give us on that cross.