A Voice from the Past: Life Received -- By: James H. Brookes
JOTGES 12:2 (Autumn 99) p. 53
A Voice from the Past:
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:14–18).
Truly these are great and precious words, surpassing far in value all the words of all the philosophers and poets and statesmen who have ever lived. They assure the troubled sinner, if like Nicodemus he is perplexed by the doctrine of the new birth, that his difficulties may come to a speedy end. He that hath everlasting life enters of course into the kingdom of God; but he that believeth hath everlasting life; therefore he that believeth enters into the kingdom of God, and hence he that believeth is born again, or born from above. The inquirer, then, need not harass his mind with questions about regeneration, but turn his thoughts singly and entirely to the Lord Jesus Christ. When Moses at God’s command lifted up the serpent of brass in the wilderness,
JOTGES 12:2 (Autumn 99) p. 54
God’s promise was, “that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live” (Num 21:8). The bitten Israelites were not told to look upon the wounds made by the fiery serpents, nor to look upon Moses, the representative of the law, nor to reason about the connection between looking and living, but to look upon the uplifted serpent, made in the likeness of that which had inflicted the deadly stroke, even as God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. If they looked, they showed that they believed God’s word and trusted God’s promise.
“Even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” Jesus had just exclaimed, “You must be born again,” and now He adds, “Even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” The one must makes the other must a necessity, and both are necessary to regeneration, or the reception of eternal life. But, blessed be His name forever and ever, although He purchased salvation at such an immense cost to Himself, to us it is absolutely free, “without money and without price” (
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