Fear cannot awaken love

By Dave Henning / March 17, 2023

“If you have a God who is nothing but wrath, and if you have little understanding of what happened on the cross, you’ll be a driven person.  You’ll try very hard to be moral . . . but you will always feel unworthy.  It will be hard to grow into a loving person, because fear cannot awaken love.  Only love and awaken and grow more love.”- Timothy Keller

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.”- Romans 8:14-15 (NIV)

Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 5 of Forgive as he stresses that because we possess both God’s law and His love for us, we can feel most secure.  Therefore, in the cross God’s wrath and His love blaze for you.  Not against you.  As a result, both equally, interactively, mutually shine forth for you.

Hence, Pastor Keller poses two questions to help you assess whether you grasp and appropriate this truth.

 1.  When something happens that reveals your sins more clearly than you have ever wanted to see or admit, does it move you away from God or closer to him?  If you truly understand the  cross, when you discover new depths of weakness, fault, and evil in your life, you draw close to Christ.  Not further away.  In addition, you realize that God’s love is greater than you thought.

 2.  Do you profess unbelief in God or put your faith in a God who can’t say no or confront you?  If so, you refuse to believe in parts of the Bible you find outdated.  Furthermore, you view God as a supportive spirit of love and life.  So, at best God functions as an assistant on your path to the goals you have chosen.  Consequently, you live as you see fit.  Also, these ‘spiritual but not religious’ people want a God who inspires them but declines to lay down rules they must obey.

Instead, a grasp of Jesus’ substitutionary atonement on the cross prevents these spiritual distortions.

Today’s question: Do you agree that fear cannot awaken love?  Please share.

Coming Monday: the Lent/Easter Short Meditation, “Silence happens on Saturday”

Tomorrow’s blog: “The mask of supposed justice”

About the author

Dave Henning

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