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Two Postures: Faith and Fear

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.  And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.  By faith Noah, in reverent fear…”  Hebrews 11

“For we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Knowing the fear of the LORD…” 2 Corinthians 5

Let’s look at the highlighted words, and find two points to take away:

2 Cor 5 Heb 11

by faith                                                    by faith

pleased God                                           please him

draw near to God                                 appear before the judgment seat of Christ

he rewards                                             we receive what is due

reverent fear                                         fear of the LORD

Two observations:  (1)  I love the way these passage work to point out the critical nature of faith on the way to reward. Notice that faith alone is not what pleases God, but what faith does in our lives (i.e., in 2 Cor, it produces courage). For example, a few chapters later, Hebrews 13:16 tells us that sacrifices of generosity and doing good please God. In other words, righteous deeds done from a posture of faith in God are pleasing to the King.

(2) Faith and fear might sound like strange bedfellows, but they are two common ways of talking about a slave’s relationship to a master higher up the org chart of the ancient world. We trust our lord and king to help us and sustain us; he does what we cannot do. And we fear him, knowing the threat of judgment and the responsiblity of obedience.

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jasonbrianhood@gmail.com'
Jason is a graduate of Rhodes College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Highland Theological College and the University of Aberdeen. Jason works as Scholar-in-Residence and director of Christ College Residency Program at Christ UMC. He's trying to figure out the twitter thing, twitter.com/jasonbhood.