For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
This week, following the theme of Priesthood, we’re gonna be looking at what it truly means for Jesus Christ to be our High Priest, our Mediator and Intercessor! There’s some radical, controversial, yet sweet truth the Holy Spirit is showing us here, so let’s roll!
Just as Moses delivered the Old Testament Law from a mountain, Jesus delivers the the New Testament Gospel from a mountain; He is the greater-than-Moses Prophet and Deliverer of Israel! He begins by teaching who the blessed are in His Kingdom: the poor, the merciful, the longing, the persecuted, the repentant, and the peacemakers. He then explains that they are purifying salt and illuminating light in the world! This is Jesus, the King and Deliverer of this people, giving His manifesto of the Kingdom of God! The Messiah is teaching Israel about His Kingdom.
Blessed are those who walk by faith, who have the fear of the Lord. Faith involves seeing the truth about Jesus Christ, and responding in awe, love, and obedience! Faith is highly valued in the God’s Kingdom; it’s impossible to please God without it (Hebrews 11:6)! Faith is how we enter the Kingdom (Matthew 18:2-4), how we grow in spiritual maturity (Hebrews 10:19-25), and how we persevere to the end (Galatians 6:9). It’s impossible to separate the Gospel from faith, since it’s crucial to knowing and receiving Jesus Christ!
However, faith is a gift of God’s grace! While it may seem self-evident that faith is purely a result of human free will, God’s Word makes it pretty clear that repentance and faith are only possible with God’s initiative! As Paul is writing to the Corinthian believers, he tells them a personal secret: the reason he doesn’t get discouraged when people reject or persecute him for preaching the Gospel is because he knows that it’s only by God’s mercy he was able to come to faith in the first place! The same God that commanded light out of darkness at Creation illuminates our dark, sinful hearts to be able to see the truth about His Son Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6)! Paul never gave up because, for God to gift him with this saving faith and then leave him all alone to maintain it when times got hard, that just wouldn’t make any sense!
- Guys, I got some good news for you: the same God who so lovingly and graciously blessed up with faith in Christ is sure to sustain it when we encounter tests and trials! The righteous live by faith, and that faith will come under attack when we suffer temptation, hard times, and opposition, but it was our Father who loved us enough to give us Light in our darkness, so it’ll be Him who keeps it shining when the darkness gets stronger.
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)