Thursday, August 14, 2014

Two Kinds of Anxiety

One should say anxiety about two different things. First the universal concern about the next life. To almost all this means what will become of my soul after death? Within this almost universal group there is usually a belief in a form of hell, or torment that must be avoided at all costs. I'll call this anxiety (in Protestant terms) "saved or not saved".

We're talking about a huge industry, all based on this concept. How big? It's bigger than the pharmaceutical industry, and that's saying a lot. Now how would I know about this mega industry? I should, I grew up in a family wracked by it. My mother and sister dreaded being sent to hell. My father handled this first anxiety pretty well. He believed we are saved "day by day".

Lots of people believe this. Your supply of grace is in kind of a leaky bucket. Before it all runs out, you pray for forgiveness, God saves you again, and you're okay for another day. I call this "24 hour salvation."

The religion industry likes both of these views. "Keep 'em worried and they'll be good." Plus, they'll give more money to the church. Salvation for sale? Why not? Everything else is.

But what about anxiety number two? Since I got past the mountain of anxiety over salvation (You're either His child or not. There are no part-children or "temporary" children), thanks to good Bible teaching. That leaves anxiety over your works. Not salvation-buying works, but works that we do in gratitude to God for saving us. Some day we will be rewarded for them.

I must confess I am subject to anxiety number two. It's too late now, of course, but my mostly-wasted life haunts me. There is a crown for those who love His appearing. This I do. But my resistance to the guidance of the Holy Spirit has been very great. God would have us do good. Why have I not done so?

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