Wednesday, September 6, 2017

the step of faith

The Word for today: 
Joshua 7
mark this: Joshua 6:2-5
Then the LORD said to Joshua, "See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.
March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days.
Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets.
When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in."
An article we published a couple days ago--"no paper tiger"--has struck a chord. The article concludes with a homemade parable, which pictures a saved-but-starving person sitting in the parking lot of his mega grocery store.
That's right, I said his mega grocery store. He owns it, you see--lock, stock, and barrel. He has the deed and title to prove it. And yet, it does him not one bit of good unless he enters in and takes hold of a bagel (that is already his!) which has already been purchased for him by a benefactor named Jesus Christ (of whom you may have heard.)
I tell my parable with authority, for I'm that guy in the lot! Many of you were with me out there. Why, many of us were reading our Bibles out there in the lot as we starved.
But there comes a point when we must stop reading about God's promises and go in and grab some of them. We've got to grab what Jesus already bought!
Possession by faith, we wrote, is the theme of the book of Joshua. Our readers get the concept, they tell us, but where to start?
Start by taking a step.
The step of faith.
The step of faith is a step into a land already conquered. It is conquered whether you take the step or not. You will not take possession if you don’t step into the land, but the land has been conquered, the blessing procured.
With or without you.
Salvation at the cross of Christ has been achieved. Those who do not step forward to receive it will not possess it, but it has been achieved. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, with or without you.
From faith to faith.
The Christ-likeness in you is revealed one day at a time, one step at a time, from faith to faith:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:16-17)
Q. What does it mean, "revealed from faith to faith?"
A. It means that the righteousness of God--all of it--is imputed to you when Christ became sin and you became the righteousness of God in Him (1). "From faith to faith" means that the revelation is progressive—day by day, step by step, you become more and more like Jesus (2).
Who you already are in Christ is revealed to you. It is no revelation to God--he sees you with the righteousness of Christ already. This accounts for the sense that we are and we are not yet. What is being revealed to us step by step along the way has already arrived in the sight of God.
It is very helpful in this regard to see Joshua 6:2, above.   (In fact, do more than "see" it. Look at it for a very long time--until it becomes part of you.) The delivery of Jericho was past tense to the LORD, Jesus. But in Joshua's sight, the walls were still standing.
But Joshua and the people of Israel started with a step of faith, as the Lord God commanded them. One step led to another until they'd marched around the city seven times. Then they walked in.
(1) 2 Corinthians 5:21; cf. Genesis 15:6;
(2) Cf. 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Peter 1:5. See also 1 John 3:2.

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