Online Articles

Online Articles

Why did you do it?

What Made You Do It ?

You can tell the folks who went through the prescribed form of becoming a
Christian, motivated solely by the fear of Hell, by the stingy and joyless way
in which they serve the Lord. While not presuming to deny that fear of
punishment is a strong motivating force in religious service, it should not
be the sole or even chief motivation. John, apostle of Christ, wrote: “There
is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath
torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (1 Jn 4:18).
Some Bible students are confused by the fact that the Bible teaches in so
many places that we should “fear God,” and John seems to preclude its
coexistence with “perfect love.” John does not in any sense contradict such
Scriptures. The term “fear” in those passages means “reverence, awe.”
John uses the word in the sense of “dread” as the context clearly shows. In
his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W. E. Vine notes
these two distinct uses of the word “fear” :
(a) dread, terror
(b) reverential fear . . . attitude of one whose circumstances
are guided by trust in God

A legalistic concept of Christianity which makes salvation depend upon the
absolute compliance of the sinner with God’s law governing personal
righteousness causes many to serve God with terror and uncertainty.
Paul makes it very clear that there is a righteousness, which is attained by
divine pardon on the basis of the shed blood of Jesus Christ apart from
legal righteousness (perfect obedience to law). This is what the
argumentative portion of the book of Romans is all about. However, the
fact that this righteousness is a “gift” and totally unmerited by the sinner in
no sense precludes its being conditionally accepted, appropriated, and
enjoyed by its recipients. In other words, “not of works, lest any man
should boast” (Eph 2:9) does not antagonize or contradict “he that
believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mk 16:16) or “repent and be
baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of
sins” (Acts 2:38).
Individuals must perfectly comply with divine conditions relative to the
forgiveness of sins whether aliens or baptized believers, and this is within
the capacity of every responsible person. Such compliance is rooted in the
love for and absolute trust in God and the efficacy of the sacrificial death of
Jesus, as well as the integrity of the promises of His word. The salvation
thus enjoyed is a gift emanating from the grace, love and mercy of God.
The two complement each other and are in no sense adversaries.
This is how we can be motivated by the “fear of God” as Christians, and yet,
at the same time, be characterized by “perfect love.”
- James W. Adams

A mediocre teacher tells,

a good teacher explains, a superior teacher demonstrates,

a great teacher inspires.