1998-08-24 - Character
"In every character of the Old Testament you need to see: Jesus is like this person in this way: Jesus is unlike this person in this sinful way."
Romans 5:8 God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ atoned for us.
"In every character", seems a little all-inclusive. I am suspect of any statement that says "every" or "all", or "with the exception of none". So I naturally reacted when I heard this statement. Could this be true, can I relate every character in the Old Testament, (there are a bunch of them), in this manner? I have had my doubts.
However, I think this statement is true. In every character in God's Holy Word we need to see, this person is like Christ in this way an unlike Christ in this way. In fact we ought to size people we meet up this way also. "This person I know is Christlike in these ways and unchristlike in these ways," is not a fruitless observation.
I have done a few funerals over the years. Every time I have done a funeral I have had a very simple approach. I have tried to learn as much as I could about the person who had died and show how their life had elements of christlikeness. Once that link was established I could now talk about Christ and that naturally leads to talking about the gospel--How convenient.
I am not sure what else to talk about at a funeral. Here is a dead person, eternity is set with them, they are with Christ or apart from Christ and nothing can change things for them. But all those folks out there who came to the funeral (Many of whom you will never get into a church), eternity is still, from a human perspective, unsettled. Preaching Christ and Christ crucified seems to make sense. In front of you is the most dynamic illustration you could imagine, (someone is dead), the gospel is the only thing in the room that has life.
So I think the statement is true. In every character of the Old Testament and, going further, every character we meet, we need to see that this person is like Christ in these ways and unlike Christ in these ways. Even more we need to turn these characters into living, or having lived witnesses of the gospel Jesus Christ.
As we live the Christian life we learn more and more that everything centers at the core on the gospel.
"As the Lord lives, I durst promise it in His name, if we would seek Him we should see the salvation of the Lord." Samuel Rutherford
Soli Deo Gloria,