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New Year - Less Fear?

New Year – Less Fear?

       We are at the gates of a new year.   Many will begin it in celebrations, and for some reasons we should.   A new year often brings about new opportunities, new choices and perhaps even new folks with whom to be in fellowship.  

     As we face the uncertainties of the coming year, would it not be prudent to rid ourselves of some of the fears that we had during the previous year? This is only possible in the realm of things that we can control. One of the few things we can control is the destiny of our souls. On that great Pentecost morning, A. D. 33, the Spirit gave to the apostles of Jesus, a great and powerful message by which the hearers could continue with less fear.   In Acts 2:40, after the telling of the “main part” of the sermon, the Spirit had Luke record words that summed up the sermon by directing them toward the outcome they could expect, should the words be heeded.   And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.  Then we see in vs 41 the result of their heeding his words. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.  So that there might be no mistake, the 47th verse also indicates who it was that did the “adding” and to what they were added.   Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. 

     All of this took place so that the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 10:28 could be followed.   He said: And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.    From this we understand that we are not to fear (be afraid of) man, who can kill the body, but has no power over our soul, but we are to fear (have awe and reverence) to Him who will see to it that all are judged.  

   In Acts 17:30-31 we read of the necessity of repentance and the reason for it. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.    That judgment will be in accordance to what we have done while we lived here on this earth, as we see in Romans 2:6-8, and here we also see which folks will receive the ultimate prize (eternal life with Him), and also who will receive eternal damnation.   Who will render to every man according to his deeds7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 

Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 

   But, even as we face the prospect of the New Year, we cannot be certain that we will even have a whole year.   We should all be aware of the brevity of life.   The Bible informs us of this in James 4:14. Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.  Because we do not have the promise of even tomorrow, 2Corinthians 6:2 should also help us realize the urgency of doing what God has instructed so we do not lose our souls. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) 

   Since we do not have the promise of the completion of the pending new year, and since God has provided the way of Salvation, should we not vanquish the fear of eternal condemnation by being obedient to the gospel, and do so today?  

   The means by which one is to dispel the fear of eternal condemnation is clearly outlined in the Holy Scriptures.   One must: Hear the Word of God. (Romans 10:17; James 1:22; Romans 10:14) Believe that Christ is the Son of God.  

(John 8:24; Acts 8:37; Hebrews 11:6) Repent of past sins. (Luke 13:3&5;

Acts 17:30; Acts 26:20) Confess Christ as God’s Son. (Romans 10:9-10;

Matthew 10:32-33; 1Peter 3:21) Be Baptized into Christ. (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; 1Peter 3:21) And, Remain faithful until death. (2Peter 2:20-21; Revelation 2:10; 2Timothy 4:6-8)

   By participating in the above mentioned things we can have “less fear” in that we are no longer in bondage to death. However, being obedient to God’s Word is doing what we are told is “the conclusion of the whole matter” in Ecclesiastes 12:13 and should see that as we enter this pending New Year we should have the fear (reverence) toward God. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 

   Keeping His Commandments entails the keeping all of them. Obey the gospel today and start the New Year without fear of eternal condemnation. Then live your life in expectation of eternal life with God.  

                                                                                  Dennis S. – Mooresville

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