When a man is ruled by fear, he is unable either to live in the present or to face the future. His days are marked by a continuing inability to face up to the reality of time and an unwillingness to enjoy life today. His life is lived, not in the real world, but in a realm of fantasy which has no relationship to causality and even less to the truth concerning himself.
Such a man is constantly dreaming about an ideal future, one in which all burdens are removed, all problems solved, and all responsibility replaced by pleasure and undeserved reward. All such people daydream glowingly about the future, but actually they are afraid of both life and the future, because they are unwilling to come to terms with themselves as creatures under God. Fantasies about the future often assume a tremendous political importance, of which Marxist Communism is an especially obvious contemporary example. The Marxist dream of a stateless, crimeless, sinless, trouble-free world is the fantasy of sick men who are afraid of the divine truth concerning themselves and are trying to create a world where cause and effect do not prevail and where God does not exist. And their fantastic creed appeals only to men who, like themselves, are trying to evade judgment by outlawing it, and trying to escape the truth concerning their wretched sinfulness by calling themselves righteous and their works the deeds of supermen. Nothing, however, can hide the fact that they are proud and angry sinners, trying to evade the wrath of the righteous God.
Because such men cannot face the truth concerning themselves, that they are sinners before God, they cannot face anything in honesty or in truth. They cannot accept causality, for it declares that what a man sows, that shall he reap, and the wages of sin is death. They cannot face the present or the future, because both confront them with consequence, and for man the sinner all consequence is death and judgment. Thus they find refuge in fantasy, in a dream world where the sinner takes paradise and the righteous are given over to damnation.
All such dreaming is an escape from the world of time and causality, and all such evasion is a running away from ourselves. And all such attempts to escape facing up to ourselves are born of sin and involve an attempt to evade the fact of man’s sin against God. The only result of this evasion is fear and more fear.
Only the man who sees himself as a sinner in the sight of God and lives by the grace of God and in the salvation of Jesus Christ can face himself honestly and without flight. Only the consistent Christian can live with himself, for in so doing, he now lives with the new man, even Jesus Christ. Only the consistent Christian can live readily and victoriously in the real world, in terms of causality, in terms of time, past, present, and future, because he alone has escaped judgment in Jesus Christ and has victory even in death. He alone finds the real world more wonderful than the dream world, because he knows that God rules and prevails in the real world, but that in the dream world it is his sin-sick nature which is at work and in power. And it is better to live in troubles with the triune God than to live in the diseased luxury of dreams begotten of original sin.
The consistent Christian alone can face any and every day, no matter what it may bring, and say, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:24). This is the true faith, to live with reality, victoriously and confidently.