Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept. (Mark 14:72)
I doubt there is a single follower of Jesus who does not read this account of Peter’s denial of Jesus without some personal sense of guilt.
As Christ had become the representative of the whole human race in his substitutionary death for us, so Peter became representative of our own actions far too often. We have all in one way or another done what he did – failed to give the witness of who our Lord is before the world.
What would we do if we did not have a forgiving, gracious, and patient Savior. “For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust” Psalm 103:14). He is quick o forgive the soul that knows its own sins and come to him in confession.
But the remedy for our fear is found only in his grace and love. This is why the Bible gives us so many promises of our future life with him. If you lack courage, let him deepen you in the knowledge of his love.
No fear: In the account of heaven it says plainly that there will be no cowards there:
Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (Rev. 21:7-8)
The fear that keeps us from testifying about Christ imprisons our souls and perverts our minds will be removed entirely. There can be no room for fear in an entirely redeemed heart, for “perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18). In the future glorified state of our spirits and our bodies, we shall not fear what others may do to us. We will be perfected in the knowledge of love, aware of the security of our standing with God. This confidence in God’s love will rid our souls and spirits of fear and the capacity for intimidation.
No shame: An unscrupulous ally of fear is unresolved shame, and this also will be removed from us in heaven. The acceptance that Adam and Eve shared with one another – acceptance that knew no shame – will be shared among all of God’s people, where we will know fully even as we are fully known (1 Cor. 13:12).
All tears shall be wiped from our eyes, even our tears from our failures, because “the old order of things has passed away” (Rev. 21:4). A new reality of grace, power, confidence, love, and righteousness will envelop us and fill us.
The remedy for our failures: We will not find any remedy in personal promises to God that we will never do that again. All such promises are built upon the faulty foundation of our own imaginary righteousness. We can only stand in Christ: “Not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith” (Phil. 3:9).
We grow strong in Christ and gain the courage to stand for him as he deepens our identity in him and our confidence in him. Paul wrote that through Christ and the cross of Christ the world was crucified unto him and he to the world (Gal. 6:14). Rather than make empty promises, take time to worship him, pray to him, and receive his expressions of love. It is love that casts out all fear – not our own strong determination.
Determination and courage may be the results of the inner knowledge of love, but they do not give birth to it. God’s love is the parent of our courage – not the reverse.
God of our life, there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and weigh us down; when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies grey and threatening; when our lives have no music in them, and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have lost their courage. Flood the path with light, run our eyes to where the skies are full of promise; tune our hearts to brave music; give us the sense of comradeship with heroes and saints of every age; and so quicken our spirits that we may be able to encourage the souls of all who journey with us on the road of life, to Your honour and glory. (Augustine of Hippo)