Forward: Watering Down the Message

The great commission to the church of the first century was to preach the gospel to "every creature" and he that believed and was baptized was to be saved (Mark 16:15-16). The Gospel was more than the "good news" concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of the Christ (Galatians 1). The Gospel included the entire Christian message centering around the necessity of men to repent because of the final Judgment (Acts 17:30-31). As the gospel has been modernized to "good news," so the "the fear of God" has been watered down to simply "respecting God".

 As the Creator of mankind, God is our Heavenly Father (Matthew 6:32; etc.). We recognize the analogy of our Heavenly Father to our physical father. Both (spiritual and physical) fathers love and care for us, as their children. Because of this love, both of necessity chastize us (Hebrews 12:5-11). This brings us to a fact we must face in today's world. Fear and respect are NOT the same. I have friends I love and respect BUT I do not fear them. But back to the analogy, my father was John D. Royal. For the record, I loved him, I respected him, and I feared him. And so this should be our relationship to our Heavenly Father, according to the Bible. We must love, respect, and fear Him.

 What does it mean, then, to fear God. An excellent definition was verbalized years ago in Bible Class in Ypsilanti, MI. It came from a young college girl. She stated, "It means I am afraid to go against what God says." Fear then comes from consequence of disobedience. This is why we were sometimes afraid of our physical fathers. And this should be why we are to be afraid of our Heavenly Father.

 If we are again to be a God fearing nation, we must rekindle a healthy fear of going against the will of our Creator. His will is revealed in that book we call the Bible. The writer of Hebrews expressed the fact this way: After stating, "The Lord shall judge his people". He then stated, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:30-31).


Dale I. Royal, Elk City OK