Daily Archives: August 28, 2012
I never intended to crush silly memes as a theme for the past week, but that’s what ended up happening. So when I saw this one, I thought I’d run with the unintended theme.
It’s titled “You should just, like, read the Bible!” Which means, I suppose, that the Bible muddies things up by contradictions such as what we read on the right.
Well, is this a contradiction? To answer that question, we need to go to the context of the verses. I’m interested to see if each passage is making a different point to a different audience. In that case, we’d have no contradiction at all.
In Matthew, the context is persecution by authorities. Jesus is telling his disciples not to worry about the powers that be persecuting or killing them for the sake of the kingdom. Don’t fear them, because they can only hurt the body. Instead, fear the one who can destroy the soul — the real you.
Obey God, not men.
Continuing forward, we receive assurance that God takes care of his own. Therefore, we (in reality) have nothing to fear and God will take care of us — especially if we acknowledge the Son before our tormentors. Though we’re told to fear God, the remainder of the context shows that that isn’t necessary because he will, in fact, take care of us as he does all of creation.
In 1 John, the context is God’s abiding love. God loved us so perfectly, that he sent his Son to an atoning death for our sins. There is no fear in God’s love because God’s perfect love is saving the believers from hell; therefore, we ought to love one another. The perfect love drives out the fear because we are spared of the final judgement, and the fear comes from its punishment. So we need not fear it.
Two passages: different contexts, different messages. They are thematically related only in explaining why we should not fear final judgement — the perfect love of God abiding in us.
Not a contradiction.
And so, having crushed another meme, I shall enjoy a piece of Victory Gum…