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Written by John MacArthur for Daily Wire
Fear is a powerful motivation, and it has often been exploited for evil purposes. Fear of the wrong things always has catastrophic results. Jesus made that very point when He said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Our Lord was echoing the very starting point of biblical law: “You shall fear only the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 6:13).
We were created by God with an impulse to fear for good reason. “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10). The fear of God leads to everlasting peace, righteousness, and joy through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
But human fear is easily manipulated, so we end up being deceived by things we should not fear, while we have no fear of what should be truly terrifying.
Churches must keep the priorities in order. We cannot sacrifice robust spiritual health, the preaching of the gospel, and the gathering of the church for worship under the power of divine truth in order to guard people from something that is only slightly more threatening than the seasonal flu. We don’t “save lives” in any way that counts for eternity by putting a muzzle on our public proclamation of the Word of life.
The risk of dying from COVID-19 is quite low on the eternal scale compared to the never-ending anguish of “the wages of sin” — what Scripture refers to as “the second death” (Revelation 20:14). In other words, sin is by far the most deadly corruption that has ever infected the human race. It is a fatal defilement that threatens everyone with eternal disaster. The only cure is the gospel — the good news of Christ’s death as an atonement for sin and His resurrection from the dead. Here we have the irrevocable guarantee of God’s full forgiveness, promised to everyone who is united with Christ by faith. That is the message the church has been given to proclaim.
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