GRACE, TRUTH, AND WISDOM?

peacecrossKing Solomon on Cries of the Poor Man

What is this post about? It is about a discussion scatterwisdom and I had at this blog post, King Solomon on Cries of the Poor Man. The post is excellent, but I am cursed with the eyes of skeptic. So I reacted to what bothered me.  What was that? expressed the possibility that he might deny his religious beliefs, offering poverty, conniving leaders and the scheming rich as excuses. What  suggested is what most people would do and have done, but would such a course of action be wise? Fortunately,  graciously consented to a discussion that I hope was mutually rewarding, and we considered that possibility.

As we considered the matter (what bothered me about the introductory remarks to ‘s post), we consider an aspect of wisdom I doubt either of us had seriously considered before. Unless we put God first, of what use is our wisdom?

Grace and Truth

To be like Christ, we must seek to be full of grace and truth. I know I am not full of grace and truth, but I have begun to understand the value of being full of grace and truth. Hence this verse strikes a chord in me.

John 1:14 English Standard Version (ESV)

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Why both grace and truth? Consider the following excerpts.

  • Grace and Truth (www.crosswalk.com)

    As Henry Cloud has written, truth without grace is just judgment. Conversely, grace without truth is license.

  • Jesus: Full of Grace and Truth (www.thinkingchristian.net)

    Grace and truth were both expressed on the cross: sin had to be paid for, and it was; but he took our payment upon himself.

  • Grace and Truth (www.gci.org)

    Those who sin become “slaves of sin.” They become enmeshed in its power. But grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. When we trust him to be our salvation, we are freed from the condemnation of the law.

How do we exhibit grace and truth? By nature, we don’t. Here is how John Wesley began when wrote his notes on John 1:14.

Grace and truth — We are all by nature liars and children of wrath, to whom both grace and truth are unknown. But we are made partakers of them, when we are accepted through the Beloved. (continued here)

The Necessity of Godly Wisdom

As followers of Christ, we can learn to exhibit both grace and truth, but we need God’s help. How do we get God’s help? We ask.

James 1:5 New King James Version (NKJV)

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

What is wisdom?

In the Biblical sense, wisdom is the “ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action, based on knowledge and understanding” (Lockyer p. 1103). The Wisdom teachings of the Bible follow from the two great themes of the Ten Commandments and the Greatest Commandments of Jesus : reverence to God, our Creator, and respect for all persons, everywhere. (from here)

In other words, “Wisdom is knowing good from evil” (from here).

Godly Wisdom From Proverbs

We already have the Truth of God’s Word. If we are humble God gives us grace.

Proverbs 3:34 New King James Version (NKJV)

34 Surely He scorns the scornful,
But gives grace to the humble.

But, as did King Solomon (2 Chronicles 1:1-12), we must ask God for wisdom. Why? True wisdom, knowing the difference between knowing good and evil, is of God.

Consider the beginning of knowledge.

Proverbs 1:7 New King James Version (NKJV)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

What prideful, arrogant man — what fool — would love proverbs such as these?

Proverbs 3:7 New King James Version (NKJV)

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.

Proverbs 14:22 New King James Version (NKJV)

22 Do they not go astray who devise evil?
But mercy and truth belong to those who devise good.

Proverbs 16:6 New King James Version (NKJV)

In mercy and truth
Atonement is provided for iniquity;
And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.

Godly Wisdom From Ecclesiastes

For a time, King Solomon departed from the ways the Lord. That is the subject of Ecclesiastes. When I wrote WHAT AN UNLIKELY BOOK ON HAPPINESS!, a review of a book on Ecclesiastes, even then I did not full grasp the full import of how King Solomon ended Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 New King James Version (NKJV)

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

We can easily habituate ourselves to depending upon worldly wisdom. Worldly wisdom is plentiful. We scarcely ever mention the Bible, God’s wisdom. Even in Solomon’s day, who would have rebuked the king with words from the Old Testament?

When Solomon departed from the ways of the Lord, he applied only the wisdom of this world. When he ceased asking for Godly wisdom, Solomon did not bother to properly distinguish between good and evil. Yet he remained a child of God. So he became miserable.

Ecclesiastes 2:17 New King James Version (NKJV)

17 Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

Hence Solomon ended Ecclesiastes with the lesson he had learned. Proper fear and reverence for God is required for true Wisdom. Making use of his bad example — giving us his personal testimony — Solomon reminded us that proper fear and reverence for God is what distinguishes Godly wisdom, that wisdom we too easily overlook, from worldly wisdom.

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