Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Tuesday, March 1, 2016
“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:14–15).
The people of God have a dirty little secret. It may not seem appropriate to discuss it so openly here, but we do. That which is hidden continues to have power over those who hide. So we are going to blow the doors off this secret, drag it out into the open, and nullify the power it has had over so many for generations. Are you ready for the secret? Brace yourselves. The secret is unbelief!
Now, before you think my opener was melodramatic, please consider the context. The people of God, by virtue of that title are claiming to be believers. We claim to believe that though our sins have soiled our lives like the deep red blood of spiritual massacre, our God has made us a clean and white as freshly fallen snow in a remote mountain range. Yet, due to unbelief, so many have fallen into the trap of embracing our soiled lives in rejection of the freedom God gives to those who surrender to Him. Professing to love the God who can deliver anyone from any sin, yet still nurturing darling sinful habits is the dirty little secret with which generations of professors have struggled.
God promised Abraham that through him all the nations of the world would be blessed. Through the lineage of his son Isaac who would be miraculously born to elderly, impotent parents would eventually come the miracle birth of Jesus Christ who would save His people from their sins. And as God’s people journeyed through this life they were to inherit a living symbol of their faith in God—the Promised Land. At just the right time, God would deliver His people from Egyptian captivity, take them by hand through the wilderness, and move every enemy out of their way so they could inherit a prosperous land. This journey, along with the inheritance would signify God’s power to deliver us from sin, and carry us through life’s difficulties, all culminating in our inheritance of heaven and the new earth. All of this would be made possible through the promised Son of God.
Unfortunately, an entire generation of God’s people, besides two, who were released from Egypt and miraculously protected for dozens of years fell short of entering the promised rest in their prosperous land. They all died due to unbelief. Their story stands today as an example of what not to do. We must not embrace our sinfulness and pride while God is offering deliverance and eternal inheritance.
This is where our theme text comes in. Since we have the example of all those who failed to received the blessed gift of God because of unbelief, we have one last chance to learn from their mistakes. Jesus, our heavenly High Priest (as we said yesterday) understands our struggles with sin. There is no category of temptation that He did not conquer when He lived on earth. In Matthew and Luke chapter four, we see that He overcame the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life by submitting Himself fully to honor His Father by living according to every precept of Scripture. He truly hid the Word in His heart so He would not sin against the Father. As a result of His incredible submission to God, victory over sin, and empathy to our plight, we are able to live up to our profession. We are able to accept His gift of forgiveness, cleansing, and power to live holy lives if (this is the key) we exchange unbelief for miraculous belief in all He has done for us. Let me break this down simply. To have biblical belief in God is not merely agreeing that God is good or that He’s able to save people. Those who have biblical belief in God have a true confession along with submission to God’s Spirit to convert our lives into the image of Christ. This makes all the difference in the world.
So thank God today for His willingness to give us a moment in time when we can accept His blessed gift. That moment in time is now. If you sense that He is calling you to fully believe in Him, do not harden your heart. Time waits for nobody and nobody knows how much of it we have. Make good use of yours.