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Devotional Part 9

14 Apr 2021

Mark 14:26-31

 

Oh Peter, as I read your statement here I can’t help wondering what on earth you were thinking. But even as I do I have immediately fallen into precisely the same sin that you did - that of spiritual pride and arrogance.

“Even though they all fall away, I will not.”

Peter is implicitly stating that he believes that his faith is superior to that of the other disciples. That his belief is stronger and his commitment to the Lord greater.

What boastful pride. How arrogant.

Yet here I am saying exactly the same things even as I chide Peter for doing so.

If I were in his shoes I would not make such boastful, pride filled claims. I know better than he does, and because that is true, my faith is superior to his.

How quickly and easily we robe ourselves in the pride and arrogance of the flesh in the guise of genuine faith. In fact, all through chapter 14 we have seen examples of this very sin. The Chief Priests and Scribes no doubt wanted to kill Jesus, believing they were doing so in service to God, out of what they believed to be true faith. Those that gathered in the house of Simon the Leper poured their scorn upon Jesus while the woman with the alabaster jar poured out nard in love, adoration, and worship out of her gratitude to and devotion for Messiah. Judas, no doubt, believed he was doing what he did in service to God out of his faith, which was greater than that of the other disciples because he could see what they could not.

Now Peter falls into the same sin of spiritual pride, and we fall into the same trap as we read.

Paul’s words from 1 Corinthians 10:12 are ringing loudly in my ears

“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”

Peter speaks with such certainty. even though they all fall, I will not, and, as we read, we respond with equal certainty, even as he fell I would not. What is the source of this certainty?

It is faith surely, misplaced faith, but faith nonetheless.

I remember some years ago as I was walking the Pineapple Track, asking myself what the source of my certainty of salvation was. How could I be sure I was saved?

When confronted with this question it is tempting to respond with the answer “because of my faith in Christ”, but what does that mean?

More often than not we use the words faith to mean ‘my belief’ or ‘my intellectual ascent to the Gospel’. We may even go so far as to include my commitment to Christ.

But don’t you see? This is to trust in ourselves, in my belief, in my faith, my commitment. It is precisely the sin of the Chief Priests and Scribes in chapter 14, of those gathered at Simons house. It is the very sin that Peter fell into and it is all too often passed off as faith in our churches and indeed in our own lives.

It is nothing short of clothing ourselves in the flesh rather than being clothed by God in the robes of His righteousness.

Our salvation is not earned by us in any way, shape, or form. It is not granted to us on the basis of our faith, but on the basis of Christ’s faithfulness to the Father on our behalf.

In Christ alone my hope is found. I contribute nothing to my salvation, absolutely nothing - not even my faith. He is all sufficient and nothing can be added to the all sufficiency of Christ.

This fact is the basis of my certainty of salvation, of my eternal security. If I was required to contribute the merest, the slightest thing to secure my salvation, I could never have any security, worse, I could never have been saved in the first place because whatever that merest element was that I was required to contribute, in my fallenness I would never be able to perfectly provide it, and so never be saved.

Salvation is all of Christ or not at all.

What then is faith spoken as of in Scripture? It is trust in the faithfulness of Christ. It is entrusting ourselves to the all sufficient finished work of Christ.

Do we not then contribute this trust? Is not this trust then the basis of my salvation?

By no means!

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not the result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Even the trust in Christ that we have, and by which we live is a gift we receive from God by the Holy Spirit. Anything else is of the flesh and must be put to death.

We are His workmanship, our salvation is a gift of grace granted us on the basis of the faithfulness of Christ and His finished work of redemption at the cross.

Peter had failed to appreciate the significance of the Lord’s Supper recounted for us in 14:22-25.

In eating of the body of Christ he was to become a participant in that body, part of the body corporate certainly, an essential member of that body, most assuredly, but more than this as well.

The obvious symbolism was that the body of Christ was to be food, a source of nutrition to sustain, nourish, and provide health, life, and strength to all who partake of it.

The body of Christ is to be God’s provision for us. It is the mana from heaven that is to nourish us all the days of our sojourning.

We, nor Peter, are to rely on our own means in order to provide for ourselves, in fact, in our sojourning in the wilderness of a broken creation subject to the fall, there is nothing that can nourish us, no food source that can serve to provide us the strength by which we might preserve our lives and save our souls. And we have no resources within ourselves to find it and procure it even if such a food source were to exist.

Why the do we spend our money on that which is not bread and our labour for that which does not satisfy?

We must heed the words of the Lord

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money; come buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without price.”

We must rely on Christ and Christ alone as our provision and our strength. we must incline our ears and come and hear that our souls may live.

He has made with us a new and everlasting covenant by His blood, and those who drink of it will be eternally nourished and satisfied, not by our flesh, but by His.

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