Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Propositions on prepositions

The Bible's testimony about itself is that it is the Word of God.  This inspiration extends not merely to the thoughts and ideas, but to each word (Proverbs 30 v 5), tense (Matthew 22 v 31-32), letter (Galatians 3 v 16) and part of a letter (Matthew 5 v 18)!  This means we can learn a some good lessons from some small words!

Have you ever noticed that sometimes in the Bible it talks about believing in Christ, and sometimes it talks about believing on Him.  Now both of these statements are describing the same action and happen at the same time, but there is a different emphasis on each statement.

When the Bible talks about believing in Christ (e.g. John 3 v 16) it has the idea of refuge.  The Bible tells us that we are exposed to the wrath of God which is coming at us because of our sins (Matthew 3 v 7; Acts 24 v 25; Romans 2 v 5).  The good news of the Gospel is that there is a place of shelter to which we can flee and take refuge - it is the Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah 32 v 2).  He is able to shield us from God's wrath because He bore it on the cross, and all who come to Him for salvation will never enter or experience God's wrath (Romans 8 v 1; John 5 v 24).

When God was going to send the judgment of the flood He instructed Noah to build an ark, and Noah built the ark as God specified.  Now Noah could have admired the ark, examined the ark, studied the ark and loved the ark, but unless he actually got in it he would have perished with all the rest.  The ark was not an ornament to be admired, but it was a shelter to entered.  So it is with the Lord Jesus Christ - He is not merely an example to be reverenced, admired and emulated, but a Saviour to be trusted.  You can respect and love and revere Him, but unless you actually come to Him for shelter from God's wrath you will surely eternally perish.

But sometimes the Bible talks about believing on Him (e.g. Acts 16 v 31) - this has the idea of rest.  We are absolutely helpless to save ourselves.  If we lived a perfect life from now till the day of our death it would mean that we have no further sins for which to be punished, but it would do nothing to pay off the debt we have already accrued.  We need to be rescued, and there is One who is "able to save to the uttermost" (Hebrews 7 v 25), and we need to rest on Him.

The Lord told a story about a sheep that was lost and the shepherd went out after it, and when he found the sheep he didn't send it home, or tell it to follow him home, he carried it home.  That sheep's safety depended entirely on the strength of the shepherd.  The Lord Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10 v 11) and we are like lost sheep (Isaiah 53 v 6), and we can't get ourselves home.  But the Lord is offering you a lift today.  He is willing and able to lift you out of your danger and carry you home, and if you would be humble and honest enough to admit you need Him He would save you.  My salvation doesn't depend on me, it depends on Him, and He has promised that He will never let me go and never let me down (John 10 v 28).  He promises the same to all who believe on Him.

There is judgment coming, take refuge in Christ - believe in Him.  You can't save yourself, but Christ can, rest on His power and promise - believe on Him.  If you do, you'll never perish; if you don't, you'll perish forever.