If you’ve paid attention to our news you’ll realize that ISIS is a growing concern - radical Muslims killing Christians along with anyone else who chooses not to believe in their god. But if you’ve paid attention to the Christian media, you’ll learn that the problem is even darker than that. You’ll learn that Christian persecution is greater than it has ever been in our history and a record number of believers are being tortured, jailed and killed just for believing in Jesus. When I hear news like this I’m always thankful that I live in America where currently there is freedom of religion. But if this kind of persecution does find its way to America, I hope that I’ll remember what our fellow brothers and sisters in these persecuted nations already know. They know who to truly fear. In Luke chapter 12 verses 4 and 5, Jesus puts it this way:
"I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has the power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him."
All believers know that there is an afterlife, but not every believer has had their faith put to the test. The kind of fear that Jesus is talking about here is reverent fear. Knowing that we serve a holy God who makes all of the rules should give us a healthy respect, or reverent fear of the God who has the power to carry out our eternal sentence. If you have not put your faith in Jesus, I hope that these verses give you pause as you come to understand the power that He truly holds.
There may have been people in your life who have told you that you need to take life more seriously. They may have even said some of the decisions you’re making could be life or death decisions. Though this may be true, Jesus tells us that there is something more important to consider than life and death. He expresses that we shouldn’t only take our life seriously, but it is more important that we take our afterlife seriously. So I encourage you to remember what Jesus says about the God we love and serve. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more, but fear him who, after the killing of the body, has the power to throw you into hell.