04 Mar 2018

God Saves Us; We Don’t Save Ourselves

Religious 2 Comments

This is a famous blessing that comes out of Numbers 6:

22 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”

Regarding the part I put in bold, here is what commentator David Guzik says: “To be kept by the Lord is blessing indeed. Some are kept by their own sin and desire, some are kept by idolatry and greed, and others are kept by their own bitterness and anger. But to be kept by the Lord insures life, peace, and success.”

As my cousin and I were studying this, it reminded me of Jesus’ prayer to His Father, from John 17:

1When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you…

6“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.a 16They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

20“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

As you can see quite clearly from the parts I put in bold, Jesus is NOT saying, “Father, thank you for letting me set a bar of minimum goodness, and granting me fellowship with those whose sin fell below the veto mark.”

Even Judas is lost NOT because he is a “worse person” than Peter or the other apostles, but rather because he is the “son of destruction” (or “son of perdition” in some translations), i.e. he is of the devil, and his betrayal of Jesus and loss is necessary to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament. Even here, it’s not that Jesus was saying, “Well let’s see how this Judas guy turns out…YIKES he’s a bad one, he needs to go.”

2 Responses to “God Saves Us; We Don’t Save Ourselves”

  1. Mark says:

    The difference between Christianity and religion – Jesus. God’s standard is perfection (Matthew 5:48). The whole purpose of the Law was not to give us a standard to achieve and then measure ourselves against it (Oh, come on – I’ve never killed anyone.) The purpose of the Law was to show us that we are incapable of making ourselves acceptable to God. That’s where Jesus comes in. It’s what the whole book of Galatians is about. It’s why Paul wrote:

    “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5:18-21

    Religion says I can make myself acceptable to God; Christianity says Christ has already done it.

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