Confidence and Caution
“Consider what you do, for you judge not for man but for the Lord. He is with you in giving judgment. Now then, let the fear of the Lord be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the Lord our God, or partiality or taking bribes.”
2 CHRON 19:6-7
The Christian’s walk is one of confidence and caution. While we can be fully assured of God, we are never to be fully assured of ourselves—believing ourselves to have right motives, wisdom, or righteousness. It is here that we are often easily confused. It is the worldly person that seeks confidence in themselves, it is the Christian that seeks confidence in God.
In one sense, worldliness can be measured in a person’s pursuit of this confidence in themself. This is what the world is seeking most today. The world wants to believe in their own wisdom, righteousness, and goodness. This is what gives them a sense of purpose and worth. And yet many Christians are often found to be seeking these same things out of this same motivation. Believing themselves to be seeking morality or wisdom, they do not confess the truth that they seek these things out of pride—the heart of this world—and not out the true humility that casts away all this false pride, and seeks these things out of a heart of love for God, His righteousness, and ways. It takes true humility to lay these things down.
The right place for the Christian is one of confidence and caution. It is only in possessing these both in a godly heart that we walk rightly before the Lord. Yet again, so many people seek to only possess “confidence” and they care very little to have such confidence ruled by the fear of God. As long as they merely imagine they’re secure, they do not care if they are actually secure. In reality, it is the right standing of the saint to know that “He is with you in giving judgement” and yet to also know that one should “let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with Lord our God, or partiality…”
Many of us must learn that while God is a God of election, He is never a God of favoritism (Rom 2:11). This false idea of grace produces entitlement, and it is shown most in those who do not think that God still holds all people accountable for how they live their lives, even after they become Christians (Rom 14:12). This is why the Christian’s life is one of confidence in God, trusting in the righteousness of Another, and yet it is also one of caution! Far too many people throw this right, godly, and biblical caution behind their backs and it is a great sin. We are still to walk in the fear of the Lord, rightly handling the Word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). We fail to realize that we need the fear of God just as much as we need confidence in Him! (Jer 32:40)
Realizing this is where we begin to rightly approach God, trusting in Him and yet rightly fearing Him. These things are not contradictions, they are the holiness of God’s people.
We must learn to trust God and mistrust ourselves. This shows us both to trust and to fear, and that both have their place. We are to trust in God’s Word, not our ideas about His Word, to shepherd us and keep us right before Him (Psalm 119:9). This is a trust that rightly fears.
We fail to understand that it is this fear, this obedience (Matt 7:24) that keeps us safe within the fortress of God. Foolishly, we expect the trust of God to be outside of the fear of Him, when it is the fear of Him we’re meant to trust! Caution is not a contradiction to confidence, it is a part of it!
So many people today seek for Christianity to mean a loss of fear. They desire this and they seek it. But Christ clearly teaches us over and over again to rightly fear and that this fear keeps us safe. The problem is never fear, but fear in the wrong place: “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.” (Matt 10:28, emphasis mine)
We absolutely should fear God. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb 10:31) The Christian who seeks to remove the fear of God dishonors God. God never apologies for causing us to fear Him; rather, He warns us to fear Him in order to save us. The world claims that the fear of God is bondage, but God tells us it is right (Prov 3:7). The problem for mankind today is not a right fear of God but a complete loss of the fear of God. We must decide who to believe.
Let us learn to be rightly fearless and yet full of right fear. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov 1:7) To trust in God and fear Him. The greatest evils done in the church today are done by those who think the Gospel has removed the fear of the Lord. And they truly believe that this work is ministry!
We should trust in God’s promises, going forward in our work trusting God to guide us and give us His blessings. But equally walk in all our work with great caution, knowing that we serve a God of justice, truth, holiness, and righteousness; as well as of mercy, compassion, grace, and love. We are responsible to all of these things, and to cast anything of God behind our backs is great sin.
The church today is in great need of caution with the ways she is trying to handle the things of God. She thinks it safe to pick up one thing of God but not all (Matt 5:48)! We are to love all of who God is not just parts of Him (Matt 22:37). It is only in walking in all of these things rightly that we walk in holiness. You cannot possess true holiness if you do not walk in full obedience to God.
All of these reasons are why we must learn to walk in confidence and yet in caution with the things of God. Every saint is in need of both. Only in having both are we rightly balanced.
October 30, 2020