Fear God, Not Man!

Our loving Savior said, "And be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). It is amazing to this writer that so many today do not feel that a loving God who sent Jesus to die for us on the cross (John 3:16), should be feared at all! Man can do terrible things to one another, but when all is said and done, all that others can do to you is kill you. However, God has the power and the will to send the soul of some to an eternal hell! Many folks today seem to think God is basically a fluffy teddy bear or "Santa Claus" figure. We have even heard some say that "Jehovah God of the Old Testament is a different God than the God of the New Testament." We know that it isn't popular to preach the old "hellfire and brimstone" sermons, but the simple fact is that the New Testament in numerous places teaches that God will send some to eternal torment (Luke 16:28; Revelation 14:11). Beginning the Book of Proverbs is the statement that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" (Proverbs 1:7). Several times in this book of wise sayings, written by inspiration of God, the fear of the Lord is joined with knowledge or wisdom.

It has been said during the Cold War that the presidents of Russia and the United States were the two most powerful men on earth. They had the power to unleash the nuclear arsenal that both countries possessed, but when you think of it, all they could do would be to create a nuclear holocaust! That sounds terrible, but it would be better for that to happen than to fall into the hands of the Living God (Hebrews 10:31). The very fact that so many believe in some self-imagined god they have created in their own mind, patterned after what they think God ought to be, doesn't make it so! Paul spoke of some of his own countrymen who were knowingly ". . . ignorant of God's righteousness," and went ". . . about to establish their own righteousness" and " . . . have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God" (Romans 10:3). There are many so-called "Christians" today who have done the same thing.

People today live a short time compared to eternity. Even comparing our lives (near 80 years) to recorded history (6,000 to 7,000 years), our lives are like a single heartbeat in one's life. James said, "For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away" (James 4:14). We all need to focus on that which is important. Many spend their lives acquiring power, money and "things". But we are told that we will leave this life naked (Job 1:21; Ecclesiastes 5:15). In the latter book Solomon said that "all is vanity" (1:2). We will take nothing from this life when we die. Jesus said "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26). Considering all this, doesn't it seem reasonable to fear God in every sense of the word? We must be careful to accept what the Bible teaches about the nature of God, and although, like a loving parent, if one continues to ignore Him, they will pay the penalty. We MUST return the same love and respect for our Father in heaven, as did our Lord while He was here on earth!

Ed Rodgers, De Leon, TX edanddj@yahoo.com