So what are the biggest recurring ideas underlying the whole sweep of Scripture? I am enjoying tracing out a few thoughts on ten of the biggest. So far I’ve pondered our triune God, His wondrous creation, our profound fall, His glorious grace. Now to the mechanism of our restoration:
5. Every person in every situation stands at a fork in the road, free to trust God’s good word or to orient their hearts after the words of another – for the just shall live by faith.
In that garden the first couple were presented with a lie. It was a lie about God’s character: He cannot be trusted to determine what is best for you. It was a lie about human status: you can be like God. And in God’s apparent absence it was a battle of words: His word versus the lie. It has been ever since.
Every person in every narrative of Scripture stands at a fork in the road. We stand continually at that same fork in the road, whatever the situation. The question remains the same. Will we trust the good word of God, or the forked tongue of the serpent. The truth versus the lie.
What is God’s solution to the great problem of sin? It is His grace. Yet it would be no solution if that grace were forced on people. They freely chose to love another. So God offers His word and invites us to trust, drawing our hearts from the magnetic captivating grip of self-love to respond to His self-giving love. Faced with the lie, gripped by the lie, saturated in the lie, we are invited to trust His Word.
Faith? Seriously God, will you make it all dependent on fallen ones trusting in your Word? Yes. The word of God’s promise can be trusted. The Word of God’s presence calls us to trust. Just as the serpent skewered and lifted up was a solution for snake-bitten sinners, so the snake crushing elevation of Him who knew no sin becomes for us the focus of a trusting gaze.
So faith is absolutely the antithesis of works. Works can never be a ladder out of death. Only God can raise the dead, so He calls humanity not to work, but to trust. Faith is not the answer to what must I do? Faith is the answer to the cry, I can do nothing!
God is God, we are not. God is good, we are not. And God is ours, if we will trust Him, His word, His provision, His grace. Faith is trust in His Word. Faith is gaze on His gracious provision. Faith is the bond that brings us into the fellowship of our Triune God.
May our preaching of His Word offer opportunity to trust in His goodness, both for those dead in sin, and for us who now having been made alive are delightd to do the good that He prepared beforehand for us.