Disciples Come In All Shapes and Sizes, Part 5 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #40)

The Bible says in John 3:14-15: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

Today’s God’s Great Salvation quote is from B.B. Warfield. He said: “It is never on account of its formal nature as a mental act that faith is conceived in Scripture to be saving. It is not, strictly speaking, even faith in Christ that saves, but Christ that saves through faith. The saving power resides exclusively, not in the act of faith or the attitude of faith or nature of faith, but in the object of faith.”

Our topic today is titled Disciples Come In All Shapes and Sizes (Part 5) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

The illustration from the Old Testament in John 3:14 does not support the lordship/discipleship/mastery position. The mastery issue was not involved when the Israelites were told to look at the serpent on the pole in order to be healed of otherwise fatal snakebites. They only had to look to live. They did not have to commit to be willing to follow God through the rest of their wilderness experiences. And indeed they did not follow Him thereafter. They may not have complained again about the food they had to eat, but they did sin again very grievously when they worshiped Baal of Peor.

Look and live! Some who looked must have just been bitten. But they saw around them those dead from the bites. Others must have themselves been near death. How long a look? A glance or a minute? How close to the pole? Just within sight or near enough to touch? With sickened, glazed eyes or clear eyes? Those things made no difference. To look was all that was required for healing.

The Hebrew word for “look” used in Numbers 21:8 “calls for no special comment, for it is the common word for seeing with the eyes.” A different root for “look” in Numbers 21:9 “represents that which one does with the eye, embracing everything from a mere glance to a careful, sustained, and favorable contemplation.” So the particular words used in this passage convey no special significance to the kind of look an Israelite had to give.

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