“By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for, And by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil.” – Proverbs 16:6 (NASB)
Words used in other versions for ‘lovingkindness’ in this proverb are: ‘steadfast love,’ and ‘mercy.’ We receive what we do not deserve and we don’t receive what we do deserve. This is the mercy given to us by God Himself to those who believe in Him and in His promise of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus. It was the work of Jesus who willingly went to the cross to dies as a sinless man that provided all who believe the atonement they need. By God’s “lovingkindness and truth,” He affects the atonement or covering of sin, which for the believing sinner inclines him to keep away from evil. And “the fear of the Lord” is reverential awe and admiring, submissive fear which is the foundation for all spiritual knowledge and wisdom. The unbeliever may make statements about life and truth yet they don’t have true or ultimate knowledge until they are, by the Holy Spirit brought into a redemptive relationship of reverential awe with God. The fear of the Lord is a state of mind in which one’s own attitudes, will, feelings, deeds, and goals are exchanged for God’s.