“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 is a well-known verse. What isn’t so well-known is the sentence right before it: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life”
Whenever I read the Genesis account of Abraham, I’m more impressed that he’s often a clumsy, mess of a man than that it’s “faith that’s accounted to him as righteousness.” Abraham is godless when God comes to him. Terah, Abraham, and their whole family live right down the road from Babel. They worship the goddess Nana.
In Genesis, there is a picture of a father walking with his son up a hill. The son does not know what awaits at the top. He, of course, knows there will be a rope, a knife, and an altar. He knows there will be death, but he does not foresee that the death would be his own.
This text contains the teaching we hold and boast of as our chief doctrine, which is called the true Christian teaching, namely, the doctrine of grace and forgiveness of sins, and Christian liberty from the law. It is a very loving and friendly admonition to repentance and the knowledge of Christ.
Some have built an entire theology on the false assumption that when God commands us to obey or believe, we have the ability to obey or believe. So then, what's the point of all God's commands? They show us what the power of sin has done to us...
As sinful humans, we are adept at taking what God gives as gift and making it into a work. Nowhere is this made more evident than in the universally misunderstood doctrine of sanctification. Scripture teaches that faith is not something we do but something that is created within us as the promise of Christ is heard.
Taste buds sprang to life as the sweetness of the fruit danced around in their mouths. Maybe the serpent was onto something. Of all the trees in the garden, why this one? What was so special about this tree that they must refrain from eating its fruit? Maybe the serpent was right.