All Roads Lead To Jesus - Proverbs

Proverbs - Jesus is Perfect Wisdom
Reading: Proverbs 1, Romans 12:1-2

Solomon is legendary for his wisdom. Most of the Proverbs have been attributed to Solomon as well as the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes. The Proverbs are the sayings of a father written to his son about how to handle himself in life. Ecclesiastes is an evaluation of life and the purpose of life at the end of life.

Proverbs begins with the same words as Ecclesiastes ends. As the wise king thought to bestow wisdom upon his son, and as the same king ruminated upon the end of his life, he said this, “Everything you know and how you use that knowledge starts with your view of God.” Or as he put it in his own words, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…fear God and keep his commands for this is the whole duty of man.”

The entire message of Proverbs pushes us to pursue wisdom and to treasure this proverbial wisdom above all things. In the Bible, knowledge or knowing things, is not enough. We must pursue wisdom which enables us to properly apply knowledge. Have you ever met someone who has memorized a bunch of facts? Maybe they love to share those facts. Maybe they can’t read a room or a situation, but they have facts in their head. Facts are accessible to anyone these days. Information is accessible to everyone around the world. But clearly, wisdom is not as easy to find.

The reason we lack wisdom is that our starting place is not the fear of the Lord. Humankind’s default starting place is from within. The problem with starting from within is that each of us is sinful and broken from birth. We are not born innocent and we do not fear the Lord. Even the most well-intentioned person hates God. If we do not fear the Lord, we can never actually have true wisdom. We can have facts, but we have no real authentic framework of interpreting those facts.

Sadly, this isn’t just true of non-believers. Self-proclaimed believers these days also have the facts but just the facts. Many in the church lack true wisdom and only serve God with their lips. They do not actually fear God which is why they are able to treat people so poorly, walk right by the beaten victim on the proverbial Good Samaritan road, conveniently wrap Jesus into their anti-Christ political ideology on every side of the aisle, excuse politically correct sin, and blatantly ignore explicit teachings of the Scriptures on a variety of issues and topics. These types of churched people, like the non-believer lack wisdom because they too do not fear the Lord.

It is quite possible to have all of the facts and none of the wisdom which Solomon writes about in the Proverbs. Fools can have a real grasp of facts. But as they continue to babble, they will come to ruin.

If we can have the facts but none of the wisdom what are we to do? Only Jesus can transform our facts into true wisdom. The Gospel story restructures our framework for seeing the world. In Romans 12:2, Paul instructs the church to be transformed through the renewing of their minds because then and only then will they be able to see the world as God sees the world. When this happens we will begin to see God for who He truly is, we will see ourselves for who we truly are, we will see Christ for the Savior that He truly is, and we will see our neighbors and the world in which live for what and who they truly are. We have to start with the facts of the Gospel in order to put everything else in this world in its proper place.

The facts of the Gospel which transform our mind and ultimately our worldview are these:

First, we don’t view God high enough. He is holy and perfect and requires perfect obedience to his Law and will. This fact alone should instill a reverent fear in us. But instead, we have made God in our own image, we water down his laws to fit our conscience and we go about our life in preferred ignorance to the judgment that awaits us. We set our minds at ease when we think about God by focusing on only the attributes that we like. God is love. God is kind. God is compassionate. These are all true. But God is also just. God is also a judge. God is also holy, righteous, and transcendent. God also hates evil and will punish all the wicked deeds of every person who has ever lived. He loved us so much that he gives us explicit warnings throughout His Word.

Second, we have a higher view of ourselves than we ought to and a lower view of our sin than we ought to. We think we’re pretty good and our sin isn’t so bad. Why do we need to worry about what God thinks when we think so highly of ourselves? There is nothing to fear when God isn’t all that holy and we aren’t all that unholy. Instead, we can just meet in the middle somewhere. The problem is that we aren’t so good, and we all know it. So, we hate God rather than turn to him. We despise him instead of fear and revere him. We turn away from him rather than toward him.

Third, God did not leave us to our own devices because He has loved his people with an everlasting love. Keep in mind, God gave us the remedy for our rebellion, not while we were pursuing him, but while we hated him. Instead of leaving us to judgment, he became Christ Jesus the man. Jesus, being fully God and fully man proved the love of God when he died on the cross and rose again. His death on the cross was the full penalty of our sins paid by Jesus on our behalf. His resurrection was the sign and seal that God found Jesus’ perfect life and death satisfactory for those who would be united to Jesus by faith. All people are freely invited to put their faith in Jesus which is the only way to have our sins forgiven and to be restored in our relationship to God.

Fourth, faith in Christ comes by grace which is God’s unmerited favor toward us. In other words, even the vehicle by which we are saved, which is faith, is an act of God’s mercy and grace toward the people that He loves. Grace means we don’t deserve it. We didn’t deserve Jesus’ sacrifice. We don’t deserve forgiveness. We don’t deserve restoration. But God, rich and mercy and love for us, freely gives us faith so we can fear and revere him and have true wisdom.

Finally, because we have been saved by grace, we live our lives in gratitude as we journey toward eternity. This gratitude changes everything because it is in this gratitude that we do life. That is what Paul is saying in Romans 12 when he says that our minds have been transformed so that we can know and live by God’s will. This is what Solomon means in Proverbs when he says everything in life begins with the fear of the Lord. True wisdom comes from knowing Christ in the Gospel. True wisdom comes from being a recipient of grace. Those who have received this grace live their lives differently. They live their lives fearing and revering the Lord. It is by this gospel transformation that we can interpret the facts of life through the wisdom of God found fully in knowing Jesus.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. That fear can only be discovered by knowing the Gospel. Through the Gospel, we have a proper view of all of the attributes of God, a proper view of the depth of our depravity, a proper view of the depth of God’s grace, and a proper view of how grace leads us to live worshipful lives and treat others with grace as we have been shown grace.

Jesus is our perfect wisdom because he has brought all of these facets of the fear of God together in his life, death, resurrection, and ascension. To know Jesus is to fear God. To fear God is to have true wisdom.

The world will only change when the world begins to fear the Lord. There is no law, no President, no Supreme Court, no cause, no ideology, no amount of money, no church program, no pastor, no initiative, no amount of fact-checking, and certainly no social network post that can change the world. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and this kind of knowledge changes the world. If we want to change the world, we must lead the world to the beginning of wisdom. It all starts and ends with Jesus. Lead them to Jesus.

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