The Apostle Paul had written to Timothy this great truth: "God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" [2 Tim. 1:7]. Still, there is one thing we are to fear as a child of God. And Peter deals with it from first hand experience.
Understanding the necessity for Jesus to die on the cross as God in the flesh is difficult. The mythology of man does not equate God with such selfless sacrifice. Yet, the Bible is clear: "Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins" [Heb. 9:22]. This remission of sins is not accomplished through the blood of bulls and of goats [Heb. 10:4]. Nor is human sacrifice sufficient for salvation. God pronounced a curse on any man who would make his child die as a human sacrifice. Such a man was himself to be stoned to death [Lev. 20:2].
What was needed for the remission of our sins was the shedding of God`s divine blood; and not for us only, but for the sins of the whole world [1 John 2:2].
Peter was slow to comprehend this truth. He was determined that Jesus would not die as the Lord had declared. Thus Peter attempts to defend him in the garden. It is foolish for man to stand in the path of his only redemption. And, since the resurrection of Jesus, Peter understood what Jesus had done. "Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers," Peter declares; "But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" [1 Peter 1:18,19].
Because of Christ, we can call God our Father. But, then, there is this matter of fear; for, Peter declares, "If ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear." And I want to know why. Of what am I to be afraid?
Peter declares that we believe in God by Jesus Christ [1 Peter 1:21]. He tells us that, through the Spirit of Christ, we have purified our souls in obeying the truth of the gospel unto unfeigned love of the brethren [I Peter 1:22]. And therein is the key to understanding what we should fear. Peter concludes this passage with the instruction: "See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently; being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever: [1 Peter 1:22b,23].
I am to fear not loving those who name the name of Christ. I am to fear not loving them with a pure heart. I am to fear not loving them fervently. If I call on the Father [and I do], I am to pass through this life in fear, lest I not love the members of the body of Christ, as I ought to love them.
This is the one sign Jesus had given the Church. It is not the power to perform miracles: to feed five thousand or to raise the dead. It is the simple sign that each and every one of us can demonstrate through the power of the Spirit of Christ: love the brethren. Jesus said, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" [John 13:35].
This sign reaches into every household, every business transaction, every social event, every vacation, every trial, every temptation, and every tragedy. It is where life faces us with its challenges on a daily basis. This is how we fulfill the law of God; how we keep his commandments.
We cannot disassociate ourselves from the ones we love. We cannot ignore them. Nor can we ignore their distress in times of need. To the ones we love, we gravitate. We look forward to their visits and enjoy their fellowship. At least, we are supposed to enjoy their fellowship in Christ. We are their brothers and sisters in the faith. God loved them just as God loved us. He is no respecter of persons. He judges us according to our works. We are to love the brethren, for they have the same eternal redemption through the precious blood of Jesus Christ.