The root of fear is sin. And since sin is violation of God’s law whose fruit is death, fear is also rooted in death. The surprising thing is that humans today fear death more than sin; and so, most of us keep sinning until we realize too late in life, if ever, that our sins have piled up and the surety of death and judgment compounds our fear, leaving us often hopeless and despondent.
Adam and Eve, however, did not have that dilemma in the beginning. They had no fear of death, only of sin. Meaning, they still had no real experience of or encounter with death; for them, it was only a virtual foreknowledge of the consequence of sin. After sinning, they felt guilty, which brought them closer to the real experience of physical death; and knowing death would come, they now dwelt within a temporary period of relief where their sin hounded them from behind and death waited for them on the road ahead. Then, something happened. They went through the emotional experience that sinners or sentenced-offenders often go through when a pardon or some form of relief is not forthcoming. That gnawing double-emotion of guilt-and-fear they would pass on to us. But not the sin itself.
Yes, Adam and Eve knew the “Seed of Eve” would one day destroy the work of the serpent: death. (Gen. 3:14-15) Whether they hoped it would come in their lifetime to keep them from dying or not, we do not know. At least, they had that hope as much as we have it today.
In similar manner, perhaps, we also do not have the “real” experience of death, only the visual manifestation of its desolation and finality. Yet, seen in the light of Christ’s triumphant work as the Promised Seed of Eve, we do have great advantage over our first parents. Their advantage is that they are at rest from this world’s travails, unlike us. However, the peace and hope that faith brings to believers today somehow assuage them of all their troubles. We thank the Spirit for the work of planting that faith in the firstfruits on Pentecost. We now have the same seed of faith available today, living in our hearts.
In the meantime, the war between God and Satan rages. Let us consider the progress of spiritual warfare in history and in prophecy:
- In Noah’s time, God did the killing. This was because God was precisely judging and condemning humans for murder, and that included animals, which had learned to become wild and murderous as well. Only God had the right to destroy His Creation. Not the good He had created but the bad humans made.
- Through chosen individuals, such as Abraham, God rendered judgment and punishment against wicked people. This began an intensifying period of divine retribution against God’s enemies through chosen judges, prophets and kings. Humans, thus, learned warfare at this stage, first with the use of crude weapons and of more sophisticated weapons later on.
- When God finally began building on His promise to give the Seed of Eve to the world and, thus, fulfill His promise to Abraham to bless the world, He called one person, Moses, to do battle against a mighty nation, Egypt. This time, God alone did the fighting and the killing through plagues and calamities against His enemies.
- When the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, God remained the judge and executioner. No one held a sword, not even Moses. But this time, His enemies were all Israelites – from among His chosen people. It was a cleansing of a nation to make it worthy to receive the Promised Land.
- When Joshua finally led the nation across Jordan River, the Israelites again held swords and spears. Humans were now doing direct fighting and killing on behalf of God. The Anakim, a race of giant humans, were finally erased from Canaan. (Joshua 11:21-22) This race had been responsible, along with the Nephilim, for the murders that led God to send the Great Flood. God had finally removed that evil generation from the land He bequeathed to His people. But not from the rest of the world. The real war had only begun in earnest.
- Israel battled the tribes and nations that lived around them. It was not merely a physical struggle but a spiritual one fought mainly and essentially in the mind and spirit. Eventually, the enemies won and decimated the Israelites, leaving Judah alone as the place where a remnant of Israelites kept the light of the Promised Messiah’s coming. Hence, along with kings who fought with swords, prophets also fought using the Word of the Spirit.
- When the Messiah finally came, He changed the mode of the warfare entirely. He turned it into a purely spiritual battle, doing away with the sword and establishing peace between His people and their enemies and between Him and His people. His life and His death showed the drastic shift in divine attitude toward solving the age-old sin-and-death problem of humans through God’s plan of establishing His Kingdom and His righteousness. His messengers and warriors now used solely the Messiah’s Truth to re-conquer the enemies for God, starting with the lost tribes of Israel. In contrast to the old practice of cleansing the land, God was now reclaiming the land and the whole world for His Kingdom. Instead of killing as of old, love and compassion motivated His warriors.
- Today, under the supervision of the Holy Spirit, we still use the Truth of Christ, as delivered and as explained by the Spirit to the apostles and first believers through their deeds and writings. Today, the whole world has been reached by the Gospel of Christ, although His Kingdom has not been truly and firmly established in its original and organic pattern.
Who is now the enemy we fight? For those who profess deep faith in Christ, the enemy remains the wicked spirits, principalities and powers of the air who have led many souls to rebel against God. All these enemies have collaborators among many of the believers throughout the world. With an unorganic faith we have described that had diminished and made ineffective the Spirit’s work in the individual, Satan rules over a vast array of souls caught in the prevailing spiritual darkness. This makes the present war one that is now fought purely within the human heart and spirit. We do not have Noah or Moses or Joshua or David or Christ or the apostles to fight the war for or with us. We have the Spirit instead, an invisible commander Who supplies us with the weapons of war we described before. Every other spirit is doubtful and untrustworthy and must be tested by the Spirit’s Key of Truth.
But aside from the vital Key of Truth or Knowledge that the Spirit arms us with and which we have thoroughly discussed so far, we have another tool that we sorely need if we are to perfect the life that we offer to God individually as His warriors and servants. That tool is one that requires fighting within us, individually that is, in order to cleanse ourselves of the world’s sins and ways. We no longer need a real sword to fight the enemies who seek to destroy us. For we need the spiritual sword given to us by the Spirit, not merely to bring down all the defenses and strongholds of the enemies in terms of teachings and practices and what many love to call traditions but also to fight within us by cleansing ourselves of the passions and desires that lead to our downfall when we obey and follow the sinful patterns of the world. (2 Cor. 10:3-5) Self-denial or self-mortification (dying to self) provides a lethal means or strategy as shown by the apostles and the early believers to will finally bring down the enemy in our lives as individuals. (Matt. 16:24-27; Rom. 8:12-17)
We have discussed in length the traditions and practices churches and denominations that have succeeded in dividing and confusing peoples and nations throughout history up to the present. These things divide people from God and from one another. This is the sword that Christ said He would bring: division and not peace among those who profess to follow Him. (Matt. 10:34-39) Many will desire to follow Him and yet they will either depart from His Truth or His Truth will cause relatives and friends to depart from those who faithfully obey Christ. This is a more-engaged and more-intense battle which many believers do not fully understand. Let us explain through actual experiences of people during war.
Christ warned His disciples of coming wars and told them not to be troubled by rumors or events of war. (Matt. 24:4-8) Life, it seems, is a continuing state of struggle and fighting which sometimes culminates in violent explosions of human hatred, murder and chaos. The fear that war engenders is a kind of poison that gnaws at the soul of a person because of the magnified sense of death’s reality and immediacy. Yet, even in the total absence of war, the fear of death remains real and final. For the fight against death was began in the Garden, as we explained here before.
All the wars we have described above have their foundation on that curse of death upon Adam and Eve when they ate the Forbidden Fruit. The seed of their guilt and fear had been planted in our bodies and souls as well. Some call it the Original Sin. However, it can be more accurately referred to as Organic Sin as it does not make us guilty of the “original sin” of eating the fruit but it reenacts the same violation of God’s laws through our own actual and personal sin. Hence, the idea of infants bearing the so-called Original Sin, which supposedly makes them carry the same sin and guilt as adults, does not apply at all. (Ezek. 18:20) That makes the phrase “Original Sin” not only unspiritual and unorganic but also untruthful; for it imposes upon children whom Christ considered innocent and to whom the Kingdom rightfully belonged. Did John or Christ require children to be baptized? Did Peter tell the Jews to baptize their children and to make them repent as well? Did the apostles have any record of children being converted? No, not one single reference! For to such as these belong the Kingdom. (Matt. 19:14) Children are already in the Kingdom even before adults even realize they are not. That is not only the real, organic and original Truth; that is the only Truth.
Infants have no fear at all. They cry only because they feel hunger or pain. We all feel hunger and pain. But we also fear the idea of going hungry and feeling pain. More so, we fear death. That fear we pass on to our children early in their lives. Do not touch that! Do not go there! Do not say that! Do not play with mud or that dirty neighbor! We say these things often without explaining why. We end up building up fear in their hearts. The horror stories we tell them and the movies they watch reinforce the fear that we have casually exposed them to. Especially stories of real war.
As children, many of us baby-boomers learned how our parents lived through the Second World War. So, aside from the real war that our parents experienced, there is the fictional and graphic war we watch and enjoy onscreen in the comforts of theaters and homes. The main reason we have developed this cultural appetite has less to do with purely artistic or personal choice than with political, military and professional motivations. Somehow, the need for war has been drummed up for such purposes which, we must admit, have value and justification in certain cases. For one, a constitutional law requires citizens to render military service, especially during war. And did not God also command His people to totally destroy His enemies? War is somehow built into our psychological DNA!
But God alone has enemies and He alone can fight them, not us. (2 Chron. 20:15) Although most of us are peace-loving, we make enemies no matter what we do, even when we simply tell the Truth. Satan hates Truth because he rebels against God and His laws. However, anyone who stands in his way is not considered an enemy but a recruit. He uses unbelievers, as well as believers, to get his way against God. Hence, the fear of war Satan has successfully minimized through entertainment that benumbs people to its effects. That is true, generally, for the adults in the past. War movies were such appealing fare, especially in the aftermath of World War 2, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Hollywood became a profitable tool to justify Uncle Sam’s wars, like it or not.
But growing up with the instilled fear of what war does and can do will build up the fear of death we so ordinarily or normally accept as a vital part of our education as humans. Did not God instill it in Adam and Eve for a good purpose? It certainly keeps us aware of His laws and His justice. However, that fear is a deterrent that has been used in two ways: to deter us from sin or to deter us from sinners. Many children of military personnel end up choosing a different career path. Somehow, the heart can be hardened against that fear, making the person brave or ready in the face of dangers. It can also produce a false sense of peace or a denial of the realities of death, which would compensate by making a person develop greater fear and even multiple phobias. Hence, we hear of people who hate watching horror or war films because they have nightmares and become nervous or get sick as a result. PTSD is not a novel condition but a built-in mechanism within us that works in varying degrees after we experience traumatic events in order to help us cope with greater stresses in life.
The apparent psychological effect of this Hollywood-fed cultural phenomenon is the lingering fear of death in many or almost all situations, whether real or not,whether intense or not. As a child, planes rarely flew over Dumaguete City. The one daily flight flew in and out from a distance and never over us; and it was a small plane. But when we moved to the metro and heard jumbo jets and military cargo planes, fears of another Japanese invasion often revived. It caused such nightmares which were made more fearful and graphic with the aid of war movies I watched. (Similar nightmares still return with updated enemy troops and weaponry.) At some points, even the task of reviewing for a high-school periodic exam or a college final exam caused such unnecessary trauma that the roar of enemy military planes above seemed like a welcome idea just so I could avoid taking the tests. Yes, war was preferable than failing a test! Go figure from where and how that kind of fear develops.
We learn to overcome such childish fears; but the fear of death will remain. Still, we develop other forms of fears. The perfection John wrote about helps us to understand the meaning and effects of fear. For fear has to do with punishment (guilt and judgment). But he who is perfected in love has no fear. (1 John 4:17-19) The guilt and punishment of Adam and Eve planted in our lives (not the same, original sin but our own) are erased through love. The perfect love of God through Christ. Only through constant fellowship with the Spirit can we attain that perfect love. (2 Cor. 3:18)
Today, knowledge of evil has multiplied a thousand times. Movies, books and games magnify the horrors of war and we feast casually on them and even pay good money doing so. The spirit of this world has conquered so many souls in this manner. Has faith been made ineffective in the face of such fascination for war and the display of human wickedness? Have we finally conquered our fears through psychological manipulations? Or does the organic fear (and its roots: sin and death) remain and keeping us enslaved?
Christ knew the human fear for death because He was human. Even before He was born He felt the fear of death. How can we be so sure? He was inside Mary, close to her throbbing heart and, thus, felt her fear of not being able to give Him a decent birth in the comforts of her home. Consider the pangs of panic of a mother who was due to give birth, looking for a place to lodge in for her delivery. A young mother who knew she bore the promised Messiah, the most precious gift to the world ever, and her equally distraught husband, felt tired, helpless and lost in the big city. And so, they went looking for an inn in a small town nearby; but they found none. Yes, it was the old town of David, Mary’s direct tribal ancestor; but, apparently, she had no relatives there.
The Creator of the world Himself had no bed to lay his infant head on – except in a stable manger. Yes, Jesus felt Mary’s fear, anxiety and insufficiency. Within a couple of years, she, her husband and their son would escape to Egypt to avoid Herod’s assassin squad. Death stared Christ in the face at birth, in His childhood, during His ministry and, in its most insidious act of temptation, up to the Garden of Gethsemane. At the cross, He felt forsaken, perhaps, the feeling humans commonly experience when death finally approaches. We fear for our own death as well as for others we know; but Christ felt the fear for His own death and the whole Creation, including all humans. He had created life and matter and He had to undo all that He had done in the beginning through His own death: dying to a world He had created. He would then leave that world and have no more business with it, as we shall all do at our own death. Yet, He came back to finish His work, just as we shall all do to face the final music.
All that, Christ did for our sake. To punish Himself for a sin which His created beings committed in order to undo that sin brought a one-of-a-kind, divine fear we have been given a glimpse of through Christ and His suffering. How do we find solace through this knowledge?
Christ taught the evil effects of sin and it final fruit of death. He said He came to bring a sword not peace to wake us up to the reality of things. Not to justify war or violence but to show how wicked we have become and how God deals with the wicked. Remember the Great Flood? For God, there is only one way to deal with murderers. He who bears the sword shall die by the sword. On the other hand, those who preach the gospel shall live by the gospel, materially and spiritually to be exact.
We have been in a state of war since the time of Adam and Even in the Garden. Rumors of war will always spread. So will the threat of war. China has hundreds of naval ships just across our western boarders – if not, within our borders – poised to impose their unjust claims over our islands in the West Philippine Sea and the whole nation, perhaps. Even the imminent threat of a flu epidemic can cause the same fear we have for war, if not even more fearful and real. For in war we can, at least, arm ourselves against a visible enemy and hope to die a hero in the process. Festering in a hospital seems an ignoble fate for many of us. In the face of all of these, we feel helpless and, at times, desperate.
But God’s promises are secure at all times. There is no condemnation to those who are called according to His glory. (Rom. 8:1) Whether we perish in the battlefield or on sick bay, the end is the same: Life Eternal for those who serve humbly in His triumphant Kingdom. The “terror of the night” will not rob us of our sleep or of our spiritual health.
Our sole and solid defense lies in the Spirit; for His work of convicting humans of the truth and righteousness, of sin and of judgment prepares each one of us to be established in the Truth. (John 16:8) Convicting, to review our discussion, may connote changing one’s belief, that is, to convince, to refute or to demonstrate. One is, therefore, led to believe a fact or truth. And the work of the Spirit is to declare The Truth, among others. In fact, “convict” comes from the Latin word convincere, meaning to convince. In like manner, The Spirit also convicts us of sin or leads us to believe we are sinners. And of judgment in order for us to believe that judgment will come, after everything has been said and done in our body and flesh.
Bearing all things, therefore, on a daily basis the testimony of Christ (the spirit or key of all prophecies) as revealed by the Spirit, what else is there to do other than to follow His leading? The fear of death no longer has power over the believer for the sting is removed through perfect love and faith! That is why Christ said, There will be rumors (or threats) of war . . . but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world. (Matt. 24:6; John 16:33) The threat of war or a virulent pandemic will not cause believers to fret, panic or despair. Beyond taking the essential steps of protecting ourselves from such threats, God alone has the final say as to the outcome of our lives.
Hence, the fear of failing a test or being overrun by an invading army will no longer cause us sleepless nights or lead us to lose our grip on the hand of God. The wedding feast in Heavenly Jerusalem is under final preparation for all of God’s invited guests who enter wearing white robes washed in the River of Organic Faith. The living waters the Spirit offers today still flows in abundance through the magnanimous love of Christ He delivers to those who wish to drink. Healing our fears and sicknesses requires drinking this water which Christ also offered to the Samaritan woman at the well as they talked about True, Organic Worship. Water – Woman – Well — Worship, such Wonderful Spiritual Words that overflow with Powerful Spiritual Truth we have talked about at length! These the Spirit combines and plants in our minds to bring the reality of Organic Truth which we said goes beyond the reach of most of the savviest theological minds. Yes, 1 Cor. 2:6-16 has served us well in our attempt to prove that Organic Truth does work for everyone, from the child to the woman to the man to the apostle and to everyone who believes.
Whereas the apostles scoffed at Christ for talking to the woman, He was at work and doing the will of the Father to save the lost sinners. Many may likewise scoff at what we have presented here. If so, let the Spirit Himself stand by His own testimony, as Christ also did. Test the Spirit and weigh His Word against yours. The Samaritan woman did not scoff but contended, listened and believed. Because of that, she was saved and justified. Moreover, because of that woman, a whole town was convicted of the Truth! Why? Because she talked to the Source of Truth. No, The Way, the Truth and The Life!
Today, we can be as blessed as that woman. For we have the Spirit to reveal to us all that he has taken and received from Christ. As Comforter and Advocate, we have everything we need to do away with our fears, worries, our doubts and our confusion so we can live abundantly through all circumstances.
The war we fight today we engage in through the Spirit alone. He makes us aware of the reality of death, destruction and judgment (that is, the effects of all kinds of war) yet convicts us of the power of His love to guard, rescue and save us through His Truth and Love (the blessing of peace). It is the War between Truth and Lies, the War between Life and Death, the War between Love and Disobedience. Satan does not hate God more than he rejects and denies His sovereignty. Satan simply loves himself more. That is why self-denial, self-sacrifice and death-to-self-and-to-the-world are marks of those who do not merely pay lip-service to Christ’s Truth. But beware: Even those who burn themselves could be devoid of God’s Love and Truth. (1 Cor. 13:3)
All things in this world and in the Universe are Christ’s and God’s. What Christ received from the Father, He gave to us through the Spirit. And just as the Spirit took from Christ and gave to us, we must also give to others as a common gift and blessing we must share. The peace and joy we have in the Kingdom of Christ we cannot fully appreciate in an environment that has become unorganic and imperfect. We have trod a long road toward describing the prevailing conditions of this world and how such conditions came about. Before Christ returns and claims back what he has gained through the Spirit’s work of grace, we must harness all the gifts we have received as well through His grace and offer the best and most bountiful harvest we can accomplish on His behalf. This can only be done with a united front of believers rallying under the banner of Organic Faith. The time to realize this has come, just as the time to truly surrender our self-oriented, unorganic ways has finally arrived.
The Holy Spirit summons us all to look at ourselves in the mirror which is His Law of Liberty. (Rom. 8:1-2; Gal. 5) We have provided a long study guide to allow each person to consider the work of the Holy Spirit in our times. We have been given the blessing of time and life to see Him as He truly was in history and as He really is today. Each individual has this right and privilege. The High Priest, Aaron, was chosen and arrayed through many ordinances and rituals to enter into the glory of Yahuwah in the Tabernacle once a year. Today, through Christ’s glorious works, we have become the tabernacle in which the Holy Spirit Himself dwells in our hearts, our very being! (1 Cor. 3:16) And with the Spirit living in us, we will overcome the fear of death and death itself! (2 Tim 1:7: 1 John 4:4)
Do not think yourself then as being unworthy, no matter how sinful you think you are. As a child of God through faith in Christ, you received the right and privilege to be steward of a territory of the Kingdom over which God rules in His righteousness, if you do live accordingly. That territory is your life, body, soul, mind and spirit which Christ has reclaimed through the Spirit’s work. When Christ returns, claims and presents that territory to the Father in the end, the work of the Spirit would have been finally completed. As we said, this is the work of the Spirit, not of any person, pastor, priest, prophet, church, organization or human government.
We, individually, are seeds planted unto Eternal Life that came from Adam and Eve whom God planted in Paradise along with all living things. As the coconut seeds that have propagated themselves worldwide over thousands of islands, we must now propagate the organic goodness planted in us all through the Word of Truth revealed by the Holy Spirit when He taught the apostles and first disciples (the firstfruits) and trained them to teach the Good News of the Kingdom everywhere. The Seed of the Kingdom is as new, fresh and powerful as ever. Anyone who nurtures Him and His love in his or her life will never be disappointed.
We have traced the New and Living Way of Christ through the revealed Perfect Truth of the Spirit, Christ’s gift to each believer. That Way is the Way of Organic Faith. It is organic because it is original, natural, perfect and powerful to save and give eternal life to the believer.
May the peace of Christ through the Holy Spirit rest in us, as we live faithfully and humbly in the grace of the Father in Heaven.