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Afraid, Who Me?

Afraid, Who Me?

      Who of us have not been afraid? Of course, this “emotion” is “inborn” and none can say they have never been afraid.   I am told that infants fear two things. They are 1) loud noises 2) falling. And because all of us started our lives on earth as “innocent sinless” infants, we have indeed been afraid at some point.   There is also no doubt that as children, and as we began to learn, we found that there were things which we did not understand, and that some things “might” harm us. Of these things, we were likely afraid.  
     Would it surprise you that even the only humans that were NOT BORN also exhibited fear and admitted that he (Adam) was afraid?   Genesis 3:9-10 shows Adam did experience fear. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.   Now, Adam and Eve were created as adults.   Genesis 2:15 tells us man was placed into a Utopia on Earth called Eden, in which there was nothing to fear. And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Why then would Adam & Eve have fear?   We saw that Adam’s admission was that he was afraid because he was naked.  
     Why would this cause fear? Were there any other humans than his wife who could see him?   Genesis 2:25 told us they were naked and unashamed. So, how did Adam (& Eve) suddenly become aware of their nakedness?   Were they instantly educated?   If so, by whom?   We know the source of their fear and how they knew of their nakedness. Genesis 3:6-7 tells how they broke the “single” Commandment God had given them. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
      Many years have since passed, and countless infants have been born here on earth.   Interestingly enough, infants are not afraid of nakedness. They are also incapable of sinning, because they are born innocent. But because God gives humans the capacity to learn, these babies begin to do so.     Sadly, those who live long enough to know the difference between right and wrong ultimately sin.   We know this as Romans 3:23 provides this information.   For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
     Just like Adam and Eve, all who sin (break God’s Commandments) have a reason to fear.   In Genesis 2:16-17 we see why those who fail to keep all the Law of God, have reason to fear. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Adam and Eve only had one Law of God to follow.   However, when they broke it – they had reason to fear.  
     It should be obvious that Adam and Eve did not “drop dead” because they had two sons sometime afterward. We know this from Genesis 4:1-2, and then the sin of Cain as he slew Abel and committed the first murder. Neither did Cain “fall dead” because of his sin. Therefore, the statement of God to the first man and woman had to mean something more than physical death.   We see in Ezekiel 18:20 the proclamation of God sent to the prophet to pass on to the nation of Israel.   The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
     Now, how does this apply to us today? Let’s “fast forward” to the time of Jesus Christ. As Christ was preparing His apostles for the work of preaching the gospel of Salvation, in Matthew 10:28, He told them: And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.   This final phrase is the “death” of which God spoke in the Garden to Adam and Eve.   Even today we need not fear man and what he might do to us.   How can we prepare so that we don’t send an eternity in Hell?   This is well within our own power. God provided the answer for us in Galatians 6:7-8. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  So, we shouldn’t have fear right?   Not so fast! The word “fear” does not always mean: “terror, dread, anxiety, horror, or distress”.  
       Fear is absolutely necessary to please God. Used in this sense, fear means to revere.   Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 shows this and why we are to revere God and do as He directs us in His Word.   Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
       BE AFRAID – BE VERY AFRAID!   This is not said in the sense of “fear” of what man might do to us, but FEAR GOD – Do His Commandments! Serve Him and prepare for eternity with Him in Heaven by being obedient.   Of course, there should be real fear on the part of those who don’t serve Him. Hebrews 10:31 tells us this.   It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

                                                                   Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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