We live in a time of great progress in science and technology and it often seems as if this intelligence is innate as mankind morphed from living in caves, clothed in animal skins and using stone axes. There comes with such progress a sense of self sufficiency whereby we sometimes feel as if we have pulled ourselves up by our own bootstraps and are beholden to no one! The Bible has often been compared to a book of manufacturer’s instructions which is an excellent description, because anyone who takes the time for daily reading of the scriptures has much to gain!
(Psalm 111:10) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who practice it. His praise endures for ever!”
So if there is a God then why fear? Don’t we usually hear that God is love?
The Apostle Paul has the answer to this question in his letter to the Romans.
(Romans 1: 16 - 30) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “He who through faith is righteous shall live.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.”
(Proverbs 1:7) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Having been a child once and later the father of two boys I can relate to the fear of the Father that is spoken of as it has everything to do with discipline for those foolish enough to despise parental instruction and make unwise choices, because there are consequences that come for failure to obey.
When someone claims to be an Atheist or to believe in some other deities we are left to assume that they approve of the beliefs and lifestyles on some level of those described by Paul in his letter to the Church at Rome. The reason is that those beliefs require no boundaries where adults are free to carry on like children with no supervision. Some make up their own brand of righteousness which is referred to as self-righteousness because it does not come from the love of God. Many unbelievers seem like good people, obeying the laws of the land which are based for the most part on the original commandments that God gave to Moses. My question is that if there is no God then why bother? The answer is couched in social correctness for the sake of receiving the approval of others and is little more than an outward show of self righteousness! They having opted to become children of a different father following after him in their own manner thus attempting to make themselves lord and master of their own destiny as did Lucifer. The following verses describe what happened to an angel of light that became known as Satan.
(Isaiah 14:12 - 15) “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit.”
Jesus clearly alludes to this, Luke 10:18) “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” And again later;
(Matthew 8: 28 - 29) And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”
This needn’t be the lot of non-believers, because though God’s expectations for us and His judgments are just, in His loving kindness He has provided a way for all the be excused and experience eternal life in His presence through his Son Jesus Christ who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6) So consider the following, would you allow your only son to be tortured and put to death as penalty for the wrongdoings of others?
1 Thessalonians 5:9-10) For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.
(Colossians 2:13-14) And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
(Titus 2:11-14) “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”
(Proverbs 9: 9 - 10) Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach a righteous man and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
Who then knowing this will then make the decision to fear God’s judgment and become wise, accepting Christ as their personal pardon for sin and life’s failures? Ask God to forgive your unbelief and for the grace to be able to believe and trust in him.