I may be persecuted for following Jesus. They may kill me. That shouldn’t bother me, and I shouldn’t fear it at all.
All that men can do is kill the body; and, if they do, the believer’s soul goes home to be with the Master. But God is able to destroy both body and soul in hell! Of course, God will never condemn one of His own children. I do need to respect God and know that His judgement will be true. Following Jesus is the solution.
Martin Luther caught this truth when he wrote:
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still;
His kingdom is forever.
The person who fears God alone need never fear any man or group of men. The fear of God is the fear that cancels fear.
- Matthew 10:28 — 28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
- Deuteronomy 4:23–24 — 23 “So watch yourselves, that you do not forget the covenant of the Master your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything against which the Master your God has commanded you. 24 “For the Master your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”
- Isaiah 8:12–13 — 12 “You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’ In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. 13 “It is the Master of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread.”
Jesus offers a decisive proof that there is a hell for the body as well as the soul in the eternal world; in other words, that the torment that awaits the lost will have elements of suffering adapted to the material as well as the spiritual part of our nature, both of which, we are assured, will exist for ever.
In the corresponding warning contained in Luke (Luke 12:4), Jesus calls His disciples “My friends,” as if He had felt that such sufferings constituted a bond of peculiar tenderness between Him and them.