Just consider this thought. Jesus himself said essentially the same thing in Matthew 10:28: “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.” Fear the wrath of God more than man. Why? Because if man, at his worst, in devising ways of torturing and killing people can come up with such awful ways to go about achieving this end, how much greater is the infinite wrath of the Creator toward those who oppose Him who extends His hand in mercy through Christ and allows them to live, breath, eat, drink, day in and day out, all the while slapping Him in the face over and over again? The wrath of the Creator who breathed out all things in existence ex nihilo (from nothing) is so much worse than anything man can do to us. This is a frightening thought, as it should be. And consider how awful human torture is! And then to consider the ways in which God can inflict pain at this level and at the spiritual level forever for the way we trample on His glory!
And yet God in His mercy has sent a Savior to take this eternal torture, eternal shame, spiritual torment, utter darkness, that we all earned for our rebellion, and bear it on the cross on behalf of those who believe in Him. Jesus willingly, out of His infinite love, suffered the eternal torture and wrath of God for those who believe. This Jesus, who from eternity has always existed, gave up His creator rights, uniting Himself to man, so that He could live the perfect life none of us could ever live, and do so on our behalf. And in so doing, He became the perfect sacrifice for any who would believe in Him. And upon suffering the wrath of God on the cross, those who believe in Him now inherit His perfect record freely through faith in His blood. Turn to Christ that you may escape the wrath to come, and even better than that, that you may be reconciled to the only Being worthy of all honor, praise and glory, that you might find the greatest joy ever in Him! There is no joy or pleasure greater than what the Creator of all things can bring. He is the Joy of joys, the Pleasure of pleasures, the source from which all good things come.
“Fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” And how much none of us fear as we should, even as believers. If I feared God for His power and might as I should, and at the same time knowing all that power was now for me (not against me), man how I would be changed and live to His glory more than I do! And yet I cannot see God as I ought by my own reason, strength, will or intellect. The Holy Spirit must come in and awaken my dead soul through communion with Christ and through the application of His Word. I am a sinner, and as such, my sin has rendered me spiritually blind, deaf, and without knowledge of Him. I am in a desperate condition everyday. How quickly do I desert Him who loved me with His blood! How quickly do I forget the price that was paid at the cross. And how quickly do I forget His mighty, terrifying, eternal strength and power that should have destroyed both my body and soul in hell forever, and yet Jesus stepped in the way and took the blow! What amazing mercy … I must cry out day in and day out that God reveal Himself to me in greater and mightier ways through Christ who was given for me. I must pursue Him that I may know Him through His Scriptures, and in knowing Him, fear Him as I ought, as in Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1 and Job 40.
And in relation to others, if I feared God properly more than man (not a fear that runs from Him but rather submits to Him under His sovereign grace), how much would the fear of man just fizzle out? May God turn our hearts by His sovereign grace to see His holiness and wrath, as well as His love and mercy. May this unbelievable love that bore infinite wrath and torture be the overarching theme for change in our hearts everyday, both in relation to God and others.