ESV - 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!
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As John said, perfect love casts out fear, and a person who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:18). This is something for which all Christians should strive, with the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit. In my opinion, however, in this present life and world, even Christians will never reach that state of perfection. We will always have to contend with the world, our flesh, and the devil. Even Jesus (although He was truly God) struggled as a true human in facing the suffering that He would endure (Matthew 26:39-42; Luke 22:41-44). I have seen some commentary on these passages that contends that Jesus was not asking the Father to spare Him from His forthcoming suffering and death, but was instead praying that He might not die from the agony that He was undergoing in Gethsemane prior to His arrest, before He would be able to accomplish His redemptive death on the cross. However, I personally do not see a desire on Jesus' part to be spared the ordeal of the cross as inconsistent with perfect obedience to God the Father, since He also conditioned His request for deliverance by saying, "If it be possible", and "not as I will, but as Thou wilt." Such submission to God's will, even while petitioning Him for deliverance or strength, should also always be the attitude of Christians when facing times of fear. That Jesus' behavior was not indicative of unbelief was subsequently shown by His statement at the time of His arrest that the Father would send more than twelve legions of angels to rescue Him if He asked for them (Matthew 26:53-54).
In Luke 12:4-6 the Lord was saying not to fear those who can kill the body. He was talking about the persecution that His followers were about to endure – He knew that shortly His disciples will be persecuted and killed. Only John died of old age, the rest of disciples were executed. He was giving them a word of encouragement knowing the persecution they were about to face. Do not fear the devil – that was the message. The devil can harm our bodies, but he cannot touch our souls. We have a free will. The devil cannot force us to sin - we have a choice to resist him. Matthew 10:28 is relating the same event slightly different: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Christ is saying here that if we should fear someone, we should fear Him, meaning God, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. This is very important text: we learn that there is an actual hell and that God is going to destroy the wicked, both soul and body in hell. Satan is trying to confuse people with lies - that our souls are immortal and God is going to punish the lost eternally. The first lie recorded in the Bible is found in Genesis 3:4. God in Matthew 10:28 sets the record straight: "Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." Fear is mentioned in the Bible the first time in Genesis 3:10 – before that the first couple did not fear God. Listening to Satan's lies brings only shame and fear. In Revelation 21:8 we read that the fearful (cowardly) will be lost. God doesn’t want us to be fearful, he wants us to have faith ((Ps 27:1; John 7:38; 1 John 5:5; Mark 11:22-24)
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