Hello @Lisbe_Dhoz Thank you for your post. Just to make sure I can do justice to the first question -
could I ask you to elaborate a little more? By “the way…we’re taught to believe” do you mean sharing the Gospel with others, talking about the sinful state of man, or something else? I appreciate the clarification so that I can understand your perspective and exactly what you are asking.
One of my favorite genre (styles) of books and movies is biographies. I enjoy reading and watching documentaries of people’s lives and what they are / were like and what makes / made them that way. As we examine Christianity, it goes without saying that we must examine the character of its founder and author, Jesus Christ. The Bible is both autobiographical (dealing with the person’s own life and thoughts) and biographical (information about a particular person’s life from someone else). When we examine the things that Jesus says about Himself, we are given a clue as to what He was like. Looking at John 17, here are some things that we can pick up from this (autobiographical) passage.
- Jesus loved the Father and submitted Himself in love and obedience to the Father’s will
- Jesus loved His disciples and wanted them to know Him intimately
- Jesus was concerned for their spiritual, mental, emotional and physical well being
- Jesus wanted them to be blessed in the highest and most fulfilling way possible
- Jesus wanted them to know and experience joy
- Jesus prayed for all believers
- Jesus desires unity between believers, one believer with another, and our unity with Him.
When examining a biographical account, we should look at someone who was one of his closest followers as that person would know him best. John the apostle would fit that criteria. About Jesus he says -
- He was the true Light (John 1.9)
- He was the One and Only Son sent from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1.14)
- He is love -His very essence and nature. Not just what He does but who He is (1 John 4.8)
- He performed miracles to display His power and love for the people (John 2.1-11, 4.46-54, 5.1-9, 6.1-14, 9.1-41, 11.1-44, 21.1-14)
When we look at just a very few examples out of all the things we can find in God’s Word, the whole picture points to a God who was moved out of His love for mankind, hatred for the sin that caused our separation from Him and a willingness to do something about it at great cost to Himself. When we examine the founder and foundation of Christianity, we find the heart of Christ at the Cornerstone of our faith. And the heart of Christ is love.
As far as those who might use fear to drive people to God? That raises questions for me.
Is God leading them to do that? We see examples in the Bible of the many different ways the Holy Spirit prompted His servants to share, preach and tell others about Him. Fiery declarations was certainly one method, but it must only and always be done under the direction of the Holy Spirit’s power and guidance.
Would some people have a relationship with God or even give Him a thought if it wasn’t for fear that drives them to Him? Love may draw some people to Him, but I don’t know that it draws every one.
If a person thinks they are “good” without God and can get to heaven without His sacrifice, does God’s use of fear benefit them in the long run? Without a doubt, it does. When God exposes our sinful state in light of His holiness, and that causes us to fear, and that fear drives us to salvation, it is a tool of love in the hands of God who wants to save us from wrath.
Does God use fear for His purposes? Absolutely. To wake us from slumber, to get us to examine our life, our motives before Him, our purpose for being here, and where we will spend eternity.
Another great question! I think the following scriptures from Ephesians 2.1-10 can be one way to answer that -
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
This was my reading this morning and one of the most profound things I find in scripture regarding the promises of God for His children. When talking with people of other faiths, sometimes it can be beneficial to show them what the God of the Bible has promised to you. And then let it be. Give the Holy Spirit time to work and the person time to think about it. I have never heard or read anything from other religious writings or claims of other gods that can match the profound promises our God makes about Himself or to us, His children.
Who is like You among the gods, O LORD?
Who is like You, majestic in holiness,
Awesome in praises, working wonders?