PROVERBS 16:6 - Week of October 25th

By Judy Nichols

October 25, 2015

Proverbs 16:6 says, "By loving kindness and truth iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one keeps away from evil." The Old Testament saints knew that God graciously forgave their sins when they brought their sacrifices to the temple. God had identified Himself to them as, "the Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving kindness and truth" (Exod. 34:6).

Their sacrificial system, however, pointed to more than just God’s kindness. It pointed out some vital truths that we should remember, as well. First, it pointed out that we must acknowledge that we have sinned. Sin is real, it is offensive to God, and we do it. Without admitting the truth that we are sinners, Christ’s sacrifice can mean nothing to us.

Secondly, it showed that sin must be punished. God would not be just if He let us get away with our sin. The Old Testament saint had to confess his sin over the sacrifice. The animal that was brought to the temple did not get out alive. It was killed. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, was brutally killed as He became the sacrifice for the sins of the world.

Thirdly, and as a corollary to this, the animal that was brought had to be perfect. It could not have any blemishes or sores or be blind or lame. Likewise Jesus knew no sin (2 Cor. 5:21). This teaches us that only the innocent can take the punishment for the guilty. We must either pay the penalty ourselves or lay it upon an innocent party. I alone am responsible for my sin.

And finally, we learn that there is great benefit to having our sins atoned for. If there were no God, let alone a gracious and merciful One Who was worth knowing, why would atonement matter? Society would certainly crumble as anarchy reigned, but that alone would not be enough incentive for us to clean up our act. Not to mention that we are inherently unable to be righteous on our own.

The good order and health of society that come from widespread acceptance of the Judeo-Christian ethic are only a side effect of the internal freedom we experience when we receive forgiveness. We are set free not only from the penalty of sin, but also from its power to have control over our lives (see Romans 6:6-7).

Remembering the truths the sacrificial system teaches, as well as remembering God’s wonderful mercy toward us, are how I interpret the words "the fear of the Lord." God is good; God is love. But God is also just and holy. Remembering these things will keep me away from evil.

© Judy Nichols 2015

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