Monday, 25 December 2017
Believed on in the world, 1 Timothy 3:16f
The fact that Christianity is believed at all is almost incomprehensible. A man, believed to be God, is said to have entered the stream of humanity, been born of a virgin, never held any high position, was supported by women as he taught, stayed within a very confined geographic area, was eventually rejected by His own people, and was then nailed to a cross where He died… and then He came back to life. The entire account seems almost too incredible to imagine. And yet, it is exactly this message which is understood to be the only cure of the fallen human condition.
The message of Christ has been “believed on in the world” because it makes sense. Humanity understands its disconnect from God. It understands the concept of sin. It understands the idea of substitution, atonement, and justification. These things don’t take a rocket scientist to understand. They also don’t take a certain culture to grasp. The child, barely old enough to leave mommy’s watchful presence for a few minutes will get the simple gospel. The lost soul in Asia, the Americas, in Europe, or in Africa – or even in the remotest island in the ocean – all hear the message and respond.
Different cultures, languages, and traditions all seem to have hints tucked away in them which point directly to what God has done in Christ, being realized after the message is revealed. It is as if God has woven the tapestry of humanity together so that when the message is heard, people say, “I get this; I need this.” The message is truly “believed on in the world.”
And the message is believed on by those who have offended God in a very small way, as well as by those who have done so with the greatest of offenses. In fact, it is often the case that the greatest offender becomes the most ardent believer. The more depraved a person felt they were, the more resolutely they hold onto the message as the cure to their illness.
The simple message of grace through faith in the finished work of Christ is a message that heals the human soul, repairs the infinite rift, and it brings gladness to both sinner and angel. It is the message of God which is found in the giving of His Son, Jesus Christ for the sin of the world. And this message is “believed on in the world.”
Life application: The wisdom of God is revealed in the belief by humanity in the gospel. Surely, the mystery of godliness is great.
Most glorious, gracious, and exalted heavenly Father – what an incredible thing to believe! The gospel seems like the least likely thing to change hearts at first, but when it is spoken and believed, it has cured the deepest wounds, reconciled the greatest sinner, and changed the course of nations and peoples. Thank You for the wisdom of the simple gospel message – we are saved by grace through faith in the work of another; in the work of Jesus Christ our Lord. Hallelujah and Amen.