Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Use of Fear

“If your only reason for believing in god is the fear of punishment, that's not a benevolent relationship. That's fear-mongering, and I'm surprised you endorse it, Ray.”

I "believed" in God for 22 years as a non-Christian, and “fear” had nothing to do with it. Let me give you a little background. My mom (who is still alive) is Jewish, and my father was a Gentile. My dad died a few years ago, but it was nothing serious. He was a Christian. For many years he “believed” in God, but there was no evidence that he knew the Lord until two weeks before he died. It took a heart attack to bring him to his senses.

I was born for the first time a few years after the Second World War, so rather than put “Jewish” on my birth certificate, my parents put “Methodist” in case there was another holocaust. Then they left me without any instruction about God. My point is that even without a moment of instruction from my parents, I fully “believed” in God. The reason I believed in a Creator was simply because I had a brain. Even as a child I knew that if there was a creation, logic told me there was a Creator. The dictionary can help those who are a little slow to figure this out by checking the words “creation” and “Creator”: Creation--noun, “the Creation, the original bringing into existence of the universe by God”. Creator--noun, “the Creator, God.”

While “fear-mongering” is bad, never discount “fear” itself as being bad. Fear stops you from stepping off a 500-foot cliff. It keeps you away from fire. It holds you back from sticking a fork into a live power outlet. These types of fear are self-preserving, but the ultimate self-preserving fear is the fear of the Lord. That fear is called “the beginning of wisdom,” and because of it, the Bible says men “depart from sin.”

The reason anyone should fear God is because He is to be feared. Those who don't fear God haven't begun to be wise. Jesus gave these sobering words about the terror of falling into the hands of the Living God. He said, “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” (Luke 12:4-5). On Judgment Day, those who think such talk is "fear-mongering" will find out that it's not. It is simply the truth, and they will wish to God (understatement) that they had obeyed the Gospel.