Anxiety, Fear, and Perfect Love

Today’s article is a blessed one. In this midst of all of this chaos and worry, in all of this anxiety, in all of this uncertainty, Christians need not to fear, worry, or doubt. The article comes from The Federalist and can be found here. The article is titled:

How Christians Can Respond To A World Anxious About Wuhan Coronavirus

By Daniel Torkelson

Here they say: First come, first served, and every one must look to his own interest, let another get what he can. 304] And who can be so smart as to think of all the ways in which one can get many things into his possession by such specious pretexts? This the world does not consider wrong [nor is it punished by laws], and will not see that the neighbor is thereby placed at a disadvantage, and must sacrifice what he cannot spare without injury. Yet there is no one who wishes this to be done to him; from which we can easily perceive that such devices and pretexts are false…

307] In whatever way such things happen, we must know that God does not wish that you deprive your neighbor of anything that belongs to him, so that he suffer the loss and you gratify your avarice with it, even if you could keep it honorably before the world; for it is a secret and insidious imposition practised under the hat, as we say, that it may not be observed. For although you go your way as if you had done no one any wrong, you have nevertheless injured your neighbor.

Large Catechism; Ninth and Tenth Commandments

The hoarding, stockpiling, and the shutting down of just about everything is how the outside world is handling this serious time. Some measures are good and preventative, while others are just fallen humans acting as fallen humans do; they succumb to idolatry. It’s no secret that the outside world is full of idols, yet this one hits harder than others. Materialism, at it’s core, is a selfish idol. It only cares about excess and has one thought for others, and it’s not a loving thought. It’s thought is “I need to have more than you’. For them, hoarding purchases is a sacrament, they sacrifice their time and money in order to have this blessing from their “god”. For us Christian’s we don’t need to bow to this false god out of worry.

“In the Bible’s book of Matthew chapter 6, Jesus says, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.””

‘How Christians Can Respond To A World Anxious About Wuhan Coronavirus’ By Daniel Torkelson

Anxiety for Tomorrow

We need not fear or worry for our God has us and takes care of us until He calls us home. In faith, we have the kingdom and His righteousness. We are children of God as we also pray in the Lord’s Prayer. In this prayer we ask for our daily bread and this is what Jesus tells us that we receive without need of worry. We will have enough for today. We need not to worry about tomorrow and stockpile our goods as the outside world does. This doesn’t mean that we should only buy a days worth of food and supplies at the store, which is fine to do, it just means that we can continue on as we always have. For my family it’s a once a week run to the store for supplies and that should continue instead of buying months worth of supplies, panic buying, and stealing from your neighbor in this idolatry.

“As Christians who have received the love of Christ, we should love one another, so a healthy concern for the health and welfare of our neighbor necessitates a rightful concern about the spread of the Wuhan virus. Just as we would never want Wuhan coronavirus for ourselves, we should not want it for our neighbor.”

‘How Christians Can Respond To A World Anxious About Wuhan Coronavirus’ By Daniel Torkelson

“If your neighbor has contracted coronavirus and needs your help to get medical attention, help him or her. We Christians show God has loved us by loving other people. The Good Samaritan went to great lengths to save the half-dead man on the side of the road. He is properly understood as a picture of Jesus, who gave his life to save you. Greater love has no man than this.”

‘How Christians Can Respond To A World Anxious About Wuhan Coronavirus’ By Daniel Torkelson

“This ultimately means panic is not an option. If it takes no faith to worry, then panic is the equivalent of apostacy, revealing that we are our own “gods” and that not having absolute control over all matters regarding our bodies and our lives alarms us.”

‘How Christians Can Respond To A World Anxious About Wuhan Coronavirus’ By Daniel Torkelson

Fear of the Virus

What about the fear of contracting this virus? As I had stated in this article that discusses what Luther has taught us on plaques and also information regarding the common cup of the Eucharist, we ought to not let our fear take us away from the fifth commandment. We have a duty to share God’s love with our neighbor and to help them in every phsycial need.

This doesn’t mean we can be careless with ourselves. We should use precaution, wash our hands, ect. But we shouldn’t shy away from helping those in need. Starting with those closest to you, in your immediate family according to your vocation, and then outward to those in your community, congregation, and place of employment.

“One of my pastor acquaintance jokes about being bad at hospitals because, as he sees it, you win either way: You can exit the hospital out the front door, or you can exit it out the back door. Either way, he says with a twinkle in his eye, Christians win. He’s absolutely right.”

‘How Christians Can Respond To A World Anxious About Wuhan Coronavirus’ By Daniel Torkelson

“This is the best part about being a Christian, no? The devil loves to throw disease, pestilence, fear, inter alia at us. But we have Christ. We already have his salvation in our baptisms. We have no need to worry nor to fear the best or worst outcomes should we contract the virus. We have Christ. We have new life. We have eternal life. He cares for us body and soul.”

‘How Christians Can Respond To A World Anxious About Wuhan Coronavirus’ By Daniel Torkelson

“Now is our time to show an anxious nation and an anxious world how Christianity is better than whatever Kool-Aid the rest of the world is drinking.”

‘How Christians Can Respond To A World Anxious About Wuhan Coronavirus’ By Daniel Torkelson

Perfect Love casts out Fear

What about if I have the virus? Rest. Rest in the blessed arms of Christ as He is the best caregiver. As a Christian you are in a win-win situation. Either you recover and continue serving your neighbor in love or you will be called home to Jesus. You have no need to fear. No need to worry. You are baptized into Christ and have eternal salvation that is won for you by His merits of suffering and rasing, of his active and passive obedience, finished on the cross for you, and risen for you.

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has punishment. He who fears is not made perfect in love. 

1 John 4:18

There is no fear of death for we have Christ. He has finished it all for us. There is no fear of punishment for God has taken your sin upon Him, in His flesh and bone. You were baptized into His death and ressurection. Your sins make that water gross and defiled, His baptism has cleared the water for you. In His baptism He took all that sinful water onto Himself and has given His righteousness to you in your baptism.

“This holy baptism was purchased for us through this same blood, which he shed for us and with which he paid for sin. This blood and its merit and power he put into baptism, in order that in baptism we might receive it. For whenever a person receives baptism in faith this is the same as if he were visibly washed and cleansed of sin with the blood of Christ. For we do not attain the forgiveness of sins through our work, but rather through the death and the shedding of the blood of the Son of God. But he takes this forgiveness of sin and tucks it into baptism.”

Martin Luther “Sermon at the Baptism of Bernhard von Anhalt (1540),” Vol. 51 of Luther’s Works

This is a blessed exchange that couldn’t be possible without his active obedience in fulfilling the Law, his passive obedience to die on the cross, His resurrection for your justification, and most importantly, His love for you. His actions were motivated by His love for you. He would rather suffer Himself than to let you suffer for eternity, He would rather die, that you shouldn’t die, He would rather take on your sin, so that you don’t have to carry it unto death, He would rather take the cup of wrath, than to let you take a drop of it, He would rather be counted as a criminal, than to have your record of wrongs be held against you, He would rather love you, than to let you perish.

We have Christ. We shall not be afraid. We have Love, we shall not have fear, we have eternal life, we shall not have death, we have God’s righteousness, we shall not be marked as a criminal, we have eternal Peace, we shall not fear punishment, we have faith, that we shall not be anxious, we have God, He is not our enemy but our dearest Father, Lord, and Savior. You have Him, because He has you. May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, and may the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Spirit be with you. With your sins forgiven, go in peace.

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