2000-05-15 - He Was Not Believed
The Prophecy Fulfilled Series: Part 14
Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
John 12:37 But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him; that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, "Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"
We probably all know the Gospels well enough to nod our heads at the statement that, even though Jesus did many miracles and wondrous deeds, for some reason there were some, even many who were unconvinced. There were many who simply did not believe in Him, His message, or even His wondrous deeds.
This fact can be seen clearly in John 7:5, where we read, "For not even His brothers were believing in Him." And again, even the spiritual leaders did not believe Him. They accused Him of doing His healing by the power of Satan. Matthew 12:24, "But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, 'This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.'" So we see this prophecy fulfilled clearly throughout the ministry of Christ.
But sadly it is no less true today. This semester I had the honor of teaching a class called, "Theology of Salvation," at a local University. Since this was my course, we went over the Gospel every week. We spent the first five weeks on the Atonement of Christ and the accomplished work of salvation and then the next eight weeks on Effectual Calling, Regeneration, Faith and Repentance, Justification, Adoption, Sanctification, Perseverance, Union with Christ, and Glorification.
I can say with certainty that the students went away knowing the Gospel of salvation. I can also say that, in my best judgment, some of them went away not believing the Gospel. And this is what it all boils down too. It is faith, or trust, in the work of Christ that saves. It is believing and resting in the Sacrifice of Christ for each of us, personally, that saves. Knowing what the Gospel is, believing that Jesus lived and was a good man, does not save. Everyone of my students, even the Buddhist student believes these things, but he is not trusting in Christ. Christ to him is a good example, and not the savior of sinners.
James 2:19 is one of those scary verses in the Bible, "You believe that God is one, you do well; the demons also believe, and shudder." Even the demons know true things about God, and yet, they are not saved. Salvation comes from resting in the work of Christ and believing that His atonement is for you -- personally. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," 1 John 1:9.
So we have this prophecy, and the fulfillment that He was not believed. And it is still being fulfilled today, all around us. What shall we do? There is much we can do. We can pray. Is that a cliche Christian response? Let us hope not, for in prayer there is power. We can live faithful lives. Another loose, over-used application? No, not if you have tried it. Faithfulness to Christ is the hardest calling you will ever have. And, we can rest in the providence and loving mercy of Christ, who has given us a Gospel that is for "whosoever," John 3:16.
Soli Deo Gloria,