Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Faith: Believe in Christ and Him Crucified

"We walk by faith, and not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5: 7)

"For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17)

What does it mean to live by faith?

Many people think that faith has something to do with feelings, or with what we are thinking.

The Book of Hebrews could not be clearer about faith:

"1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2For by it the elders obtained a good report." (Hebrews 11:1-2)

Throughout the rest of Chapter Eleven, the object of faith refers to the Promised Land, and more specifically to the final Work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.

Consider the faith recognized in Abraham:

"8By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went." (Hebrews 11:8)

Consider the faith of Isaac:

"20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come." (v. 20)

Keep in mind that the LORD had foreordained that the elder would serve the younger, a picture of our first-born Brother Jesus giving up His place of honor and dying for us that we may receive His place of honor at the Father's right hand. Even though Isaac attempted to bless Esau instead of Jacob, Jacob received the blessing, even though he suffered heavy consequences for living by deceit instead of resting in faith.

Also, "The things to come" speak of the Messiah who would purge all the sins of all the world, and through whom all the world would be blessed.

What about Jacob?

 21By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff."

What scene played out when Jacob blessed his two grandsons?

"13And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near unto him. 14And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn." (Genesis 48: 13-14)

While Joseph intended for Jacob's right hand to bless his elder son Manasseh and Jacob's left hand to bless Ephraim, Jacob ended up crossing his arms and laid his hands to bless otherwise. Jacob's arms formed a Cross! The faith which Jacob received and released testified not just of the Promised Land, but the Promised Man who would come and what He would do for us!

What about Joseph?

"22By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

The same beloved son of Jacob, who braved betrayal by his brothers, who rose and fell in diverse circumstances, who rule an Egyptian's household, and resisted the wife's lecherous advances; who ruled a jail cell, while serving time for a crime which he did not commit; who would interpret two dreams and become second in command of all Egypt: Joseph walked in great faith in all that the LORD did with him and through him.

Yet for all these glorious acts in Joseph's life, the writer of Hebrews recognizes Joseph's faith at the end of his life:

"24And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 25And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. 26So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt." (Genesis 50: 24-26)

To be brought out of Egypt, to be brought into the Promised Land, all in accordance with the covenant which the LORD cut with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: all of these events are types and shadows of the Finished Work of Jesus Christ, who through His death and resurrection took us out of this world of sin and death, who died for all our sins, granted us new life in Himself, and accords us His rest, peace, and every good and perfect gift freely given with Him (Romans 8: 32)

Jesus is our hope of glory (Colossians 1: 27), and even though we do not see Him with our natural eyes, the eyes of our understanding can be enlightened to see more of Him in our lives, and how He has everything taken care of for us (Ephesians 1:16-19)

Faith is all about how you see Jesus. Grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord, and let His blessings flow in your life today!

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