“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 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! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Very interesting to read this section because our great powerful God Who is to be feared is also loving, compassionate and gracious. He is all of these simultaneously.
1. God is to be feared
This is not an easy concept for many to digest, that God is fearful. Certainly, most people don’t think that He is more fearful than someone who can kill their body. But that is exactly the language found here in Luke 12. We should be more fearful of God because not only can He kill someone but He has the authority to pitch them into hell! To be clear Hell is a place that is worse than being killed by someone. Hell is a most dreadful place and God is to be feared because He has the power and authority to cast people there. No man, nor Satan for that matter, can do such a thing. Only God has that authority and right because sin is after all against Him and Him alone. Our God deserves to be feared because He alone holds the authority to cast men into hell.
2. God is loving, tender and gracious
In juxtaposition with the great dread and fear of God we also see the sweet and tender side simultaneously. This God who has all authority to cast into hell also cares for birds which are of little importance or value. Not only does He care for them, but it says that not one of them is forgotten…WOW! God doesn’t lose track of a single little worthless bird, how much more will He not forget a person who is made in His image, let alone one whom He has called and saved through Christ and become His child. Here we see many attributes of God all working at the same time. God’s sovereignty, goodness, strength, faithfulness, mercy, compassion, wisdom etc. are all on display against the backdrop of the fear and wrath of God.
3. Some Possible Take Aways
A. God is to be feared and obeyed more than any one else because He has the power and authority to cast into Hell
B. God is not an ogre. He is to be feared and that is undeniably clear but He is also loving and compassionate even when it is unnoticeable. God overflows with love and compassion and grace, you need not look very far to find such proof
C. You need to love and trust the God of the Bible. He has all power to judge but also all power to provide. You need to live a life that lines up with that.
I pray that this is both encouraging and convicting to your soul. May these great realities penetrate your heart and cause you to worship this great and awesome God.