Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Religion vs. Repentance
Many think the word repent means "to get your act together" or to "get religion" or "fly straight"; as if we could. Repentance requires taking in a whole new point of view; looking at it God's way. God simply asks us to turn. This is the way we accept His gift. When we do, certain outcomes are promised. If we don't, or we "turn back", alternate outcomes are promised.
Look And Live
Numbers 21:8-9 (NIV) The Lord said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." ...Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.
Let's imagine ourselves in this situation. Poisonous snakes have bitten everyone, and while we are not dead yet, the prospects do not look good. Suddenly a voice yells out: "We must do something. We must save ourselves!" But how? Various ideas surface such as: "If you run around in frantic activity it will work out the poison!" A few people try this, and die trying. Others, by staring at their bites, go totally berserk into a frenzy of panic. Alternately, some try to convince themselves that they are not bitten, or that the snakes were not poisonous, and form little groups to delude each other while dying. And here's a person selling "snake oil" which purports to be an antitoxin, but makes people even worse.
Enter Moses who says, "If you look at the bronze snake that has been lifted up on this pole, you will live. If you do not, no matter what else you do, you will die." Now let's really picture how we might react, having been given this revelation. "He must be kidding," we would think. "Do nothing? Just look? How insulting a solution! What part do we play in it?" Moses responds, "Cease your activities. Just look, and live!" Really now, if you had been there, would you have believed it? Do you believe God's solution today?
John 3:14 (NIV) [Jesus:] "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up."
We all have been bitten, and sin is coursing through our veins. It will most certainly lead to death. There is only one solution, but it is an offense to our ability to save ourselves.
John 6:40a (NIV) "For my father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life."
John 6:29 (NIV) Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."