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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The author of the book of Hebrews expressed what Jesus accomplished with these words: 
Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, he also himself in the same way partook of the same, that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 2:15 and might deliver all of them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
The fear of death at one time held us in its grip before we came to the knowledge and obedience of Jesus, the Son of God, as Lord and Savior. The bravado which characterized our lives with its coarse and crude speech and acts could never break the shackles of fear. Fear has a way of making one say and do the most mindless things. Furthermore, that same fear has a way of gripping those who are weak who draw near. Their weakness in their understanding of those things they profess to believe prevents them from standing firmly against or walking away from the those driven by fear.

Never, in the pages of the New Testament, did the followers of Jesus who had been set free from the fear of death by the love of God feel compelled to destroy or desecrate Jewish synagogues. They did not engage in burning rallies to destroy the idols or places of worship of the pagans. Some of those pagans as they left behind their pagan ways burned and destroyed their idols of their will. It was not at the urging, instigation or encouragement of the apostles. The first century Christians did not "unite, stop being passive and selfish and stand up and fight for the truth." (as Terry Jones calls for Christians to do). Even when they were given up as lion food or garden torches in Caesar's palace they were not consumed by fear. They were consumed by the love of God.

Since my crucifixion in obedience to the gospel of Jesus as Lord 33 years ago I have claimed only to know Jesus and him crucified. This same message consumes me, not the politically correct or popular hot-bed issues that stir the passions of men.

I wonder: Are those so vocal and opposed to the construction of an Islamic Center near ground zero in New York raising their voices in opposition to an American-made (it's certainly not Christian) product of fear and hatred coming from the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville Florida? However, those voices raised in that opposition are as Americans, not Christians.

The acts of Terry Jones are those of a man consumed in his own fear. In our own time we have seen the countless who accepted the mindless words and deeds of another Jones; Jim Jones in Guyana 1978. The undiscerning did not see him as one consumed by fear. We marveled and were amazed that so many should follow such a liar, were appalled by his mass murder/suicide of the 909 followers.

One who lives in the bondage of fear is one who does not know the power of God. Jesus said as much to the Sadducees when they painted for him the resurrection scenario of a woman who had multiple husband. Jesus prefaced his response by telling them Isn’t this because you are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God? He concludes in a similar manner: You are therefore badly mistaken.”

Jones acts are unabashedly, in the words of the apostle Paul, those of a carnal man. His message is disguised as truth with just enough holy speech for the weak who draw near and become engulfed in the flames of fear and hatred. Now, they have returned to be subject to bondage, the bondage of the fear of death. A humbled, repentant and converted Saul of Tarsus,  as persecutor of the church has set an example for Terry Jones.

 

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