Gospel Guidebook: Getting and Keeping It Right  

Fear of God Is the Beginning of Wisdom

People sometimes ask the question, "If God is real, then why doesn't He show himself to us?" When I first became a Christian, I was asked this question, but I wasn't able to give a good answer. I believed in Jesus Christ because I knew I needed my sins forgiven, but I didn't understand anything about how God operates in the world and why He operates the way He does. More than 20 years later, I still can't say that I understand those things, but I have learned a few things over the years.

God Must Come First

The first three commandments are briefly summed up as follows:

1. Do not worship any other gods.

2. Do not make objects of worship.

3. Do no misuse the name of God.

These are the greatest commandments and Jesus summarized them by saying to "love God with all our heart, all our mind, and all our strength."

The Westminster Shorter Catechism is a document that was written in question-and-answer format to teach new Christians. The first question and answer are as follows:

Q: What is the chief end of man?

A: Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.

In light of the above, if our chief purpose for living really is to glorify God according to His commandments, then it becomes easy to see how far society has fallen short of this goal. The Bible says that we are all like sheep who have gone astray from God.

America at a Crossroads

Back in the days of colonial America, there were two prominent men of influence who set the stage for America's future. These men were Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) and Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790).

Jonathan Edwards was a Christian preacher and philosopher, and sometimes called America's greatest theologian who was at the forefront of a religious revival called the "Great Awakening" that spread through the colonies during the 1730s. People who had been previously living as sheep gone astray from God were suddenly returning to God in droves as they realized their need for a Savior. In other words, the Spirit of God was working in people's hearts to turn them from secularization and materialism back to God.

Benjamin Franklin was an author, scientist, inventor, and most widely known as one of America's founding fathers. Franklin was shaping America through his applications of science and pragmatic thinking as represented in his collection of adages called "The Way of Wealth." He helped pave the way to creating an industrialized society of technologies and gadgets.

It was these two men who symbolically represented a crossroads for America's future. Would America adopt Edward's "God first policy" or Franklin's "successful living policy"? More than 250 years later, it is more than obvious that Franklin held greater sway.

Departing from God Has Consequences

Failure to keep the commandments has consequences both individually and as a society. The Bible says that the penalty for breaking God's commandments is death. Such a consequence is in complete accord with what we see in the world, namely, that no one has kept God's commandments and that we are all subject to death, both individually and nationally.

And herein lies the answer to the question about why God doesn't show himself to the world. If God made himself visible to the world, we would all die immediately. We wouldn't be able to stand in His presence. Therefore, He speaks to us through other means, primarily through the words recorded in the Bible.

The Bible says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction."

So, we see that despite the plight we find ourselves in, God still urges us to seek wisdom, which has its beginning in the fear of Him. It makes sense that we need to have knowledge of the illness before we can seek the cure. If we have no fear of God, then what motivation will we have to seek salvation from so great a death?

Don't Confuse Prosperity with Favor

We have enjoyed much prosperity in our lives and in our nation, but we must not mistake it as a token of God's favor.

In another place in the Bible, it says, "Because you did not serve the LORD your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the LORD sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you."

God gives good things, but if people and nations do not keep the commandments, they can expect nothing from God but anger and wrath. And we've seen this again and again as powerful nations rise and fall throughout history.

There's Hope

The good news is that we are still living in a day of salvation. There is still hope, but only if we seek it. Time is running out for America and Europe. Our generation has enjoyed the blessings and prosperity, but God hasn't received any joy in return, and now that our nations have fallen into the trap, why should we expect God to help us? But the trap hasn't closed yet, so there is still salvation for anyone who wants it. In God's love, He sent His only begotten Son into the world to deal with our sin and death problem through his perfect life and sacrificial death. If you have not yet personally trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior, who alone can forgive your sins and give you the perfect righteousness you need to stand before a holy God, then I suggest you believe in Him as soon as possible. For more information, please watch the videos The Gospel - Plain And Simple and What is the Gospel? Also, feel free to contact me with any questions at robert@gospelguidebook.com