Proverbs 1:7 says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom . . ."
I have been unintentionally pondering this verse for a while now. It just seems to come up repeatedly. I don't know if my few faithful readers have caught on yet, but I have met with the grace of God in a life transforming way. I had always heard of the grace of God but I somehow only experienced or understood His judgment.
If you don't know me very well, and you listen to some of the things I say, you might get the idea that I believe that we should sin that grace may abound. I don't. If I remember rightly that verse concludes with, "God forbid!"
It is true that I no longer focus on sin or perhaps put much stock in it at all. What I mean is that my sin, as well as any thing I might be proud of, dims to very nearly nothing when I am focused on God.
Was the thief on the cross not being repentant enough because he had the boldness to ask Jesus to remember him? No, he wasn't focused on his sin at all. He was well aware of it, I think to be hanging on a cross you would have to be well aware of what got you there, but he was even more aware of who Jesus was.
But now I'm starting to get into deep water. Which brings me back to the verse I started with.
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom . . ."
I think that sometimes we Christians interpret this verse to say, "The fear of the Lord is wisdom." It isn't. If we are always stuck fearing God then the gospel wouldn't be as good a message as it is. But, if we do not have this foundation to wisdom we have nothing to build on.
Why was a revelation of God's grace so life changing for me? Because I was well schooled in the beginning of wisdom.
To many are afraid of the message of God's grace, afraid that we will forget that He is holy, righteous, and cannot tolerate sin. That we will no longer desire to be holy ourselves. That we will abuse freedom.
The truth is that grace is only grace if we first understand the law. Freedom is only understood when we have felt the bondage of sin. The love of God is even more precious and revered when we understand His anger against sin. These things go together. The fear of God should not be taught without grace to quickly follow it up. But grace isn't grace unless we recognize our peril.
If the fear of God is the foundation for our relationship with Him then He will build to staggering heights. If we insist that He continue to build with fear, then we will be stuck with a very sturdy concrete slab.