Looking towards Christ with repentance while trusting Him that He forgives us, as we do at the moment of our conversion, is also an attitude that we must maintain throughout our lives. It is the means by which we are restored from the shame of sin and guilt. Our understanding of this aspect of the Christian Message, or the Gospel, if you like, can be enriched if we know the story of the the serpent in the wilderness told in the book of Numbers 21:4-9. For, indeed, Jesus refers to in en John 3:14-16 when He explains how to acquire eternal life to the Jewish elder and leader Nicodemus.
(Photograph of a painting from Cécile Beaulieu, used with permission)
Following is a short testimony in my life that stems from that story as applied by Jesus:
When I do sin and am not proud of myself, it helps me to think of the Old Testament story alluded to just before what Jesus said in John 3:16 : “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him” (John 3:14-15, NIV). Numbers 21:4-9 shows us a people suffering the consequences of their having spoken against Moses, and against God. When they prayed, God told Moses to make a bronze snake. Those who would look at it would live, the remaining would die. They all had sinned in the same manner, yet the way to not die was to believe what God had told Moses and look at the snake.
Then comes John 3:16 : “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (New International Version).
Even when I feel good about my relationship with God, I still do find great comfort in reading the entire sequence of John 3:14-16, bearing in mind the passage from Numbers 21:4-9. It reminds me to look at Christ as the only means to have life, in spite of what I did, no matter how bad I think it is.
The above short testimony is how I shared my understanding of this as part of my involvement in a Christian forum called Christianity Board Christian Forum.
You wish to get involved and discuss further about the above topic, please consider doing so at Christianity Board Christian Forum, under Church is for messy people (like me). Salvation is in the name of Christ full stop, to which the above was my response.
The above mentioned Christianity Board is a huge Christian Forum with many interesting topics and people to interact with. So don’t hesitate to get involved there. But, of course, we also would like you to feel more than welcome to join our nascent (as of this writing) trilingual Community of dialog about the Christian Faith (French, English, Spanish). In addition, you may share your response to this post in the comment box below.
Daniel Garneau, B Th, B Com, MA
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