I posted yesterday, for those who were worried about such things, about why ghosts and ghouls most definitely do not exist. But, of course, there are plethora of monsters the likes of which the Bible doesn’t give such clear reason to believe don’t exist. And then there’s all the scary stuff the Bible does talk about. Though ghosts and ghouls may not be real, are there things – in the realm of the seen or unseen – of which we should be frightened? Let me give you a few reasons to put your mind at ease.
The Bible is clear there is one thing alone to be feared
Both Matthew and Luke make clear that there is but one thing to be feared above all else:
“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” – Luke 12:4f
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” – Matthew 10:28
As the writer to the Hebrews says: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” For, as he says earlier in the letter, “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgement” (Hebrews 9:27).
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESVUK-30603C" data-link="(C)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>God is love, and <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESVUK-30603D" data-link="(D)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. is love perfected with us, so that <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESVUK-30604F" data-link="(F)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>we may have confidence for the day of judgement, because <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESVUK-30604G" data-link="(G)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>as he is so also are we in this world. perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESVUK-30605I" data-link="(I)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>been perfected in love. (1 John 4:15-18).
If we abide in God, his love is perfected within us so that we can have confidence on the day of judgement. If fear of judgement has to do with punishment, if we abide in God we have no fear of such punishment on the day of judgement.
Paul, who obviously got the same memo, says this: “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Similarly, Isaiah 43:1 says “But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Peter also tells us to cast our anxiety onto God “because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). So nothing can separate us from God’s love with which he cares for us. As a sovereign God with all things in his hand, this means our worries and anxieties can really be given over to him in a meaningful way.
Paul really lays it on thick in Ephesians 1 when he says:
that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:18-23).
You cannot fail to miss the central point: Christ is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion… in this age… [and] the one to come.” There is nothing for the Christian to fear in Christ because he is over all. All things have been put under his feet. That is surely a God on whom we can cast all our cares and anxieties, wherever they come from.
Knowing a little something about the magic and cultic practices in Ephesus at this time only lends further weight to Paul’s point. Ephesus was awash with pagan practices, magic and mystery cults, mantras, spells, charms and the rest. The Ephesian believers were constantly pulled toward such things (e.g. Acts 19:13-20). Paul’s concern was to make abundantly clear that there is no power, ruler, dominion or authority – whether physical or spiritual – that can surpass the ultimate rule of Jesus Christ. Paul is equally clear that the believer shares in his rule and has that same power at work in them (cf. Eph 2:6; 3:16, 19f). It is for this reason the believer has nothing to fear in Christ.
All of this leads to the conclusion that in Christ, the Christian has nothing to fear. So whether your view of Halloween is that it is really dangerous or a bit of fun; whether you see the monsters and ghouls as synonymous with the evil Spirits Paul warns about or you think them jejune anachronisms; Paul is clear that the believer has nothing to fear in such things. Christ is above all, ruling with power that exceeds all. In Christ, the believer has no need to worry because that same power is at work in us.
So whether you decide to shun Halloween, redeem it with a nicer alternative or you choose to be part of it like the rest of our culture, the biblical takeaway is: do not fear. In Christ, you are safe, secure and one with the ruler who is above all things. Take courage.