Would that every psychiatrist, every therapist, every personal counselor in the country understood that sin, guilt, the wrath of God, and therefore the fear of death create all other fears and lurk underneath all manner of neuroses. Until this central fear is dealt with, these other fears must linger on. Why is that? Because only when we are delivered from the great fear—the fear of death and judgment—will other fears become trivial. They can be dissolved only by the knowledge that I need not fear death because the guilt of my sin has been borne by my Savior.
We have another friend in Scotland, a distinguished professor of mathematics. A number of years ago, one of his daughters, a young freshman Christian student, died suddenly. One moment from the day of her funeral has etched itself permanently into our memory. Our friend was borne along through the day by the grace of God. His quiet words as we greeted him were: “We know now that we have nothing left to fear.”
That’s it—nothing left to fear.
All this is true only because Jesus has dealt with our greatest problem.
That problem is not simply that of our fear. Our greatest problem is God himself. For by nature, we are under his wrath—and deserve to be. If we cannot deal with our sin and guilt, we certainly cannot deal with the wrath of God. But it was precisely to bear that wrath that the Lord Jesus, as our high priest, went into the holy place, the very presence of the holy God, and there experienced the awful unleashing of divine judgment.
This is why, when the resurrected Jesus revealed himself to his disciples, his first word was “Shalom! Peace! Now at last you may have peace with God.”25
This is Christ’s finished work as priest.
Most Christians are familiar with the finished work of Christ but less so with his unfinished work. But the author of Hebrews helps us to understand that although Jesus is “seated at the right hand of God,” having finished his atoning work, he is still doing something. He now undertakes his unfinished work.
Alistair Begg and Sinclair B. Ferguson, Name above All Names (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013).
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