Through His Love and Faithfulness….

Proverbs 16:6-7 reads like this:

Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for;
through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.
When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD,
he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.

I love these verses.  They speak to the love of Christ, and really to ALL that we are to do.  He loves us, and because he loved us first, we love him.  And because we love him, we are to love others just as he loves us.  I’m hearing Michael Jackson singing “ABC” in my head as I type this…..  Yet, as simple as this is, we just can’t get it.  I can’t get it.

Love and Faithfulness…..  Through God’s love and faithfulness -even when we were sinners, when we hated God – he sent his Son that we would be redeemed.  that all our sins are paid for.  All of them.  This is the most outrageous claim anyone could ever make!  We hate him, we cry for his blood, whip him, spit on him, nail him to a cross, mock him – and he cries out “Father forgive them!”  Keep in mind, these are the same people Jesus was calling “brood of vipers”.

That’s all well and good, and sure he died for the sins of the world – THEN.  What about now?  How can he atone for sins that hadn’t yet been committed???

The death he died, he died to sin once for all (Romans 6:10)

Yep, it says ALL.  Doesn’t say all up to this point, or all in Jesus’ time.  Or – as difficult as it is for our little minds to comprehend – all sins, even the worst conceivable…..

I’ve heard that more than once, by some close friends and family members.  And honestly, I think that is one of the most difficult things for us to overcome.  How can my horrible sins be washed away?  I’m not worthy of his atonement!

And – I’m not.  You’re not.  Yet – through love and faithfulness, we are redeemed!  We must remember, there is NOTHING we can do to redeem ourselves.  Which to me is a relief, because bottom line is most of us wouldn’t do it if we could.  Not that we want to go to hell – we just don’t care enough to put any effort in.

He does.  He chose us.  He sent his only Son in our place.  And he CAN!  Outrageous!  Amazing!

Fear of the LORD…..  Why should we fear this God who loves us so much?  I mean, it seems so counter to everything I just described, doesn’t it?

I think that is a huge stumbling block for skeptics – why would a loving God impose fear in us?  How does that line up with LOVE????  I even had a brother in Christ argue against this – using the comparison to his dog and him.  If his dog fears him, he won’t come running to his lap, he’d instead cower and hide.

Or worse – attack?

See, but this is not talking about TERROR.  the terror  that incites  a fight or flight mentaility we see here being described would come from two possibilities, as I see it:

  1. The poor dog has good reason to experience terror when his mastor is around – not the case with my friend.  He loves his dog!  He’d never dream of causing harm to his little friend.
  2. The dog doesn’t know him.  He is in fact his dog’s master – if the dog poops on the floor, does he just say it’s ok?  Or worse – if the dog were to try and run into traffic, would not correct his little friend?  Isn’t his dog important enough to him then, to correct?  But these corrections would likely be taken as hostility, if imposed by someone the dog doesn’t know.

You could use parents and children in this comparison as well.  Would you not correct your children, for their sake?  This is exactly what God will do, and exactly why his word says to fear him.  it’s not TERROR, as he’s not a monster, imposing fear in our hearts and causing pain to bring him joy.  But to those who don’t know him, I suppose it could seem that way.  But those who konw and serve the Lord – we are to fear him, and not think for one moment we can elevate ourselves to god-like status – something I must confess I too often do, even if I don’t realize it at the time……

So  if you’ve ever wondered why there are so many conflicting verses in the Bible on fear……..

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline (Proverbs 1:7)

But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 17:7)

Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord, but he who hardens his heart falls  into trouble (Proverbs 28:14)

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:18)

These are just a small few – but you get the idea.  If you have ever wrestled with what this means, you’re definitely not alone.  But really, what do you fear?  Some will say “nothing”.  And I’ll say they are lying.  We fear something.  So often, it’s not God we fear.  It’s man….  We want to please man, or look good, or at least not be made fun of.  Imagine if Jesus feared man?  No bold speaches, or wonderful teachings.  Probably no miracles, because he would  have been afraid of being one-upped, or mocked, or whether or not he should heal someone on the sabbath????  And definitely no cross.  No dying on our behalf.  No love and faithfulness, because he’d ultimately have been thinking of himself…..  Something I thank him daily that he didn’t do……

See Jesus feared (revered) the Father.  And did only His will.  Not ours, not theirs, not his own.  I think this verse sums it up, and lines up perfectly:

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe (Proverbs 29:25)

Fear of the Lord is not to be terror.  It’s love in return.  And we can only fear (love) him because he first love us….

I’m going to break out the second part of the passage I started with, into another post.  For now, this is some food (or fodder) for thought……

Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for;
through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.
When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD,
he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.

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One thought on “Through His Love and Faithfulness….

  1. Pingback: He Makes Even His Enemies Live at Peace With Him….. « tedhtunes

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