Saturday, December 13, 2008

Gospel Pipeline--Stage 4--I Hate Snakes

I just returned from St Petersburg, Russia. In the Russian Museum there is a painting of Numbers 21...snakes everywhere, people bitten, dying. In the background is the Bronze Serpent on a which people could look, and according to the promise of God, be saved. According to Numbers 21 and the picture we get, there was real, liquid venom coursing through the peoples' veins, but the look of faith released real, supernatural power from God, and the power neutralized the poison. Jesus talks about Numbers 21 in John 3 and says that just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up and whoever believes in Him (looks to Him in faith), will be saved. The look of faith to Christ, hoping in the promise of God's grace and forgiveness, frees us from the fatal venom of sin coursing through our "veins." That is the great doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone. But there is more to Numbers 21 than the doctrine of justification. In Galatians 3:5 we learn that the same faith that leads to justification also leads to, the look of faith releases supernatural transforming power in our daily lives. Say, for instance, we struggle with anger...we blow use Numbers 21, we've been "bitten afresh" by the venom of sin. We need to be cleansed from the power of sin afresh...what do we do? Trying to suck the poison out through some kit won't work! We look again to Christ, this time trusting the power of the blood to cleanse and transform us! Look to the cross again and again and trust in the release of supernatural, transforming power...the look of faith released power to neutralize snake venom...and the same look of faith can progressively neutralize the power of sin in our daily lives as well!


Lee said...

I posted a detail of the painting to the following link:

(I can't find the whole picture, though. I don't know what I did with it.)

I really love how the man is holding his wife up off the ground. Now, I'm not sure whether that's faithlessness or not. If she really believed and looked at the snake, as God had commanded, she wouldn't need him to hold her out of harm's way. Could he really protect her anyway? Still, though, I would have picked my wife up.

Lee said...

Hmmm... i checked the link I just sent, and sometimes it doesn't look like it's posting right. The following one should work better: