It Is a Fearful Thing to Fall into the Hands of the Living God

My greatest concern in life is that I might become weak and fail God. Quite simply, living as a Christian in this world is a challenge now, even though it is relatively easy for me to abide by my convictions without persecution. Today, I can observe the Sabbath and keep God’s commandments without much worldly consequence. This makes it easy to uphold my beliefs and express the Truth openly. Ironically, the ease of living as a Christian now is what makes me uncomfortable. If it is challenging to live in a way that is consistent with my Christian beliefs now, without fear of persecution, when times are “easy,” how will I handle things when persecution comes? I know that the difficulties that I face in the world are nothing now compared to what they will be in the future. We are clearly told that we can expect to be persecuted. It is a certainty that this will happen (compare Matthew 10:22; Matthew 24:9; John 15:18), and even more so, as the end of this age approaches. Will I have the strength of will to stand up for the Truth when I face serious consequences for doing so?

The answer to the question of whether I will stand up for the Truth is that I will try with my whole heart to do so. I have no doubt about the importance of upholding the Truth – none whatsoever. My concern does not stem from any wavering in my beliefs. Where it comes from is the knowledge that the flesh is weak. And while I am alive, it is my job to overcome that weakness. Recall what Paul wrote in Romans 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” It is my weakness inherent within me, which I work to overcome day by day, that is the source of my concern about failing God.

Fortunately, our concern about failure becomes cast out by perfect love (compare 1 John 4:18) and godly fear—fear in the right manner. Godly fear proves our reverence for God and His righteousness. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever” (Psalm 111:10). When we really begin to comprehend the importance and magnitude of what the Bible teaches, we realize the serious consequences of neglecting to be obedient. In fact, the ultimate death awaits. But, knowing that it is possible to live eternally as part of God’s great Family, and knowing that it is within our means to obtain it, is very empowering. The concern of failing God should motivate us to action! It is the possibility of falling prey to sin that helps us to understand the importance of being obedient.

Once we begin to commit our lives to obedience to God, we have a way available to us to aid in our weakness. Paul, in acknowledging the weakness of his flesh, asks the rhetorical question, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). Well, the answer to that question is that we have Jesus Christ to save us. Paul also writes that he did not have his “… own righteousness… but that which is through faith [of] Christ, the righteousness which is from God, by faith” (Philippians 3:9). The righteousness of Christ works within us too. When we become baptized, we not only seal our commitment to a life of obedience to God’s commandments, but we also receive the Holy Spirit as a Helper – to aid in our weakness. This is truly exciting! Any concern that our weakness might overtake our will to obey God is trumped by the strength of Jesus Christ who lives and works within us. While our flesh might be weak, we can do anything with the strength of Jesus Christ working within us (Philippians 4:13). And we know that God will carry to completion the good work that He has begun in us (Philippians 1:6), as long as we don’t give up.

The consequences for failing God are dire, making all worldly consequences for upholding the Truth pale by comparison. For certainly, “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). And Satan, who has this world under his influence, is doing everything in his power to cause us to turn away from God. We must realize that we will face more and more obstacles that get in the way of righteousness as the end of this age approaches. Times will become much more difficult. For this reason, we absolutely must become stronger in our faith and stronger in our convictions to uphold the truth.

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