279. Power for us who believe. (Part 2)
What do we believe?*
At a time when God just required men to *'believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him'*( Hebrews 11:6), Abraham went even further to believe in a *'God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were!'* ( Romans 4:17) Infact, his faith/ belief paralleled that of the new testament for he believed in the Gospel which was first announced to him at Mount Moriah where he went to sacrifice his only son. There *'the angel of the LORD called to Abraham and said, "I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and not withheld your son, your only son, ... through your offspring* (Hebrew *zera* means *seed* ) *all nations will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."* - (Genesis 22:15-18, Galatians 3:8). Abraham had believed that *"God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering"* ( vs 8) and indeed God provided a ram! He realised that the Messiah will be raised from the dead, just as *'he did receive Issac back from the dead, figuratively speaking.'* - (Hebrews 11:19). He also understood that the *offspring* (seed) was not Issac but Christ ( Genesis 12:7). *'The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds" meaning many people, but "and to your seed", meaning one person, who is Christ.'* - ( Galatians 3:16). Why else would Jesus say, *"Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad"* ( John 8:56) When did he see Christ? At Moriah, when *'Abraham looked up and there in a thicket saw a ram caught by its horns' ?* - (Genesis 22:13) We too, like Abraham, have come to believe in Christ, *'the Lamb of God, who took away the sin of the world'* ( John 1:29) and we rejoice at the thought of seeing his day; the day of the Lord when Jesus returns with power as the King of kings and Lord of lords!
*What does our belief imply?*
1. When we believe *Jesus is the Son of God* , it implies that his words are trustworthy. He alone can be trusted to speak the truth because nobody else have come from or have been to heaven. Yet many didn't believe his words! Speaking to Nicodemus, he said, *"I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe, how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven - the Son of Man."* ( John 3:12-13) To the Jews who grumbled saying, *"Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, "I came down from heaven?",* Jesus said, *"No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. I tell the truth, he who believes in me has eternal life."* (6:41-47) To the Pharisees who challenged his witness, Jesus said ,*"Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going."* ( John 8:14) Whose words do we heed when we are at *crossroads* ( point at which a crucial decision must be made which will have far-reaching consequences) of our lives? If the words of Jesus doesn't matter more than the words of our father, mother, wife, children, siblings, relatives, friends, doctors, experts ... , then we don't really believe him! Yet we expect the power of God!
2. When we believe that *Jesus is the Christ,* it implies that we too have died to sin. *'We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death?'* ( Romans 6:2-3) So we too have died with him! *'We are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.'* ( 2 Corinthians 5:14-15) Convinced of this, Paul wrote: *'I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.'* ( Galatians 2:20) But *'many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.'* ( Philippians 3:18-19) Yet they expect the power of God!
3. When we believe that *Jesus is Lord,* it implies that he is *Sovereign* (a supreme ruler). He will decided what we do with our lives and our possessions. So to the rich young man who sought his advice, Jesus said, *"Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor ... Then come and follow me." At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.'* ( Mark 10:21-22) The Lord will require from us a sacrifice, anything that he decides, as a sign of true discipleship, just as he required from Abraham the sacrifice his only son at Moriah. *"Anyone of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple."* ( Luke 14:33) Yet we expect the power of God!
*To say that we "believe", implies a lot which we don't realise!* The power of God is known as the power of the resurrection in the new testament because it was *'exerted in Christ when he was raised from the dead',* ( Ephesians 1:20), which implies that the power of God will manifest only in those who are *dead to self, to the world and to sin,* whether to witness Christ while we are alive or to resurrect us when we are dead! *"He who believes in me will live, even though he dies and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"* ( Luke 11: 25) The day is coming when *'he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to our mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in us'* ( Romans 8:11) Indeed, incomparably great power is for us who *"believe",* in the true sense of the word. Amen.