Monday, June 13, 2011

Faith Old and New

In my devotional today I read through Isaiah 51:1-16.  In this chapter and the following chapters, Isaiah is clearly looking forward to the coming Messiah and the eternal salvation for God's people, whom he deems as the righteous, or those who know God.  I see his faith unfold, and I cen feel his excitement in what he has recorded as he looks forward to the one that will ransom him from sin.  There is so much good theology in this passage pertaining to salvation; for example, Isaiah refers to those who are righteous as the redeemed and ransomed.  We know that Jesus is the one who made the purchase for the redeemed and ransomed his people from captivity, but Isaiah refers to the redeemed and ransomed in the past tense in verses ten and eleven.  Jesus' act on the cross was in effect eternal; therefore, someone does not need to exist finitely, post historically from this event.  What Isaiah claimed is that he already was ransomed and redeemed based on an event that historically had not even happened yet.  He very tangibly had faith that what God had promised through his Messiah would come to pass.

This got me thinkin: who has greater faith, someone in the Old Testament looking forward in faith someone looking back at Jesus' act?  Now obviously those, who walked and talked with Jesus do not have the same faith as those who did/have not seen Jesus, because Jesus said so in John 20:29.  I tend to think that those who lived pre Jesus had greater faith than those who lived and continue to live post Jesus.

Both groups have the prophets, scripture, archaelogical evidence, evidences of faith from other believers.  However, those who were pre Jesus had to hope and trust that God would follow through on his promise for the Messiah.  I can look back at history and see evidences and proofs that Jesus factually existed.  Archealogically speaking, Christianity is the most dependable of religions.  There is more proof that he existed than the existence of Troy, but history seems to more readily accept the latter than the prior.

Perhaps a better analogy for us to look at in order that we may empathize with the faith of the Old Testament people is our faith in the return of Jesus.  This is interesting because just as in pre-Jesus eras there are always people who believe differently about the Messiah.  Some believed that there were many messiahs, all having there own part in Jewish history.  Others believed that they are still waiting on the Messiah.  There are event some who believed that there was no Messiah but that it was a spiritual idiom for having a mystic, spiritual type relationship with God, or that a special knowledge was revealed to them which was the Messiah.  We as Christians believe the Messiah has come and dwelt amongst mankind and is now seated at the right hand of the Father.  However, much like the B.C. opinions of the Messiah are our opinions of the "End Times." Everyone has a belief whether Jesus will come back, when he will come back, how, or if the church will be raptured or not.  I am confident that one day all of the opinions will come to a hault.

Paul Washer has said it this way, "When Jesus returns we will know everything there is to know about it, but millenia from know when we are in heaven, we will still be pondering the depth of the gospel and salvation through Jesus."

I tend to agree that my questions will be answered, but the truth of this blog is that I began by considering the faith of the Old Testament heroes and that of my own.  I must admit there is no definitive answer to this, but found great joy in musing my soul with such thoughts.  How have meditated on scripture today?
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