Yet again, I find that a simple statement from my pastor is what stood out to me in church yesterday morning. Our pastor was walking us through a few of the Old Testament prophecies regarding the birth of the Jewish Messiah, Jesus, and referred to them not only as prophecies, but promises of God.
We live in an age where those particular prophecies, about the advent of Jesus – God putting on flesh, and being born as a baby boy – have been fulfilled. However, when these prophecies were given, those who received it had to accept on faith alone that God would keep his promise to redeem mankind. There was no evidence anywhere that what He had promised would come to pass. Yet, they believed God, and took Him at His word. Since the promise given to Eve, in Genesis 3 -that one descended from her would crush the head of the serpent – mankind has looked forward, expectantly, for the One who would heal the breach between God and man.
That promise was kept and fulfilled in one man, Jesus Christ, born about 2000 or so years ago, and man’s redemption began with the birth of that precious baby boy, and ended with his death, burial, and resurrection. That redemption came at a dear price, but is free to all for the asking! (Romans 10:5-10; John 3:16-17)
To this day, we still look forward to God fulfilling the promise/prophecy that Jesus will return to this earth – bodily, in might and power – to put the final stamp of destruction on Death itself, the ultimate penalty for sin.
Until that day arrives in glory and triumph, we are asked to do just what the Old Testament prophets and people were expected to do: Stand firm in our faith. Pastor Jim said yesterday that “If we don’t stand firm in our faith, we won’t stand at all.”
That struck me.
If we are not standing firm in our reasonable faith, then what are we doing? It’s a question I am asking myself today, and using to examine my heart and my faith.
“Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” ~James 5:7-8 (NIV)
I choose to stand firm in the promise of Christ’s coming. If God has always kept His past promises, who am I to doubt that He will keep those yet unfulfilled?