Where does this put us, those made in God’s image but fallen from grace, those saved not by works but by grace through God’s gift of faith? It puts us in a position not of self-exalting glory but of God-glorifying praise. As the Shorter Catechism beautifully states, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever” (Q. 1). Yes, for this we were created in God’s image, and for this reason we were redeemed, to glorify him. So, let us rejoice in this: Though we all fall short of God’s glory, we are saved by his grace to glorify him forever!
We need it for salvation. We need it for forgiveness. We need it to live out this faith we have been given. We need it every day. Our flesh will point us back to law, remind us our failures, relish in our disobedience, shackle us to our efforts. The gospel of God’s grace points us to Christ, reminds us of his sufferings, shows us his perfect obedience, and empowers us to live for him. Our flesh may lie that we are condemned by the law, but the gospel truth is: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
Indeed, salvation belongs to the Lord, for our Lord said, “just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:40). Yet, unlike Jonah, the Lord Jesus regarded the Scriptures as the very breath of God, down to the iota and dot.
Israel was saved in the wilderness through the flowing, life-saving water from the rock. So, we are saved unto eternal life through the substitutionary, stricken, saving rock, our Lord Jesus Christ, the rock of our salvation.
While the pragmatist may think this redundant and unnecessary, this is a beautiful picture of victorious praise: Our victorious praise may vary in mode but never in substance. May we never tire of singing of our redemption in Christ. May we never grow weary of celebrating the glorious triumph of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Just as the Lord redeemed Israel from slavery and allowed them to witness the devastation of their enemy, so we have been redeemed in Christ from slavery to sin, and we witness the visible representation of our enemy of sin and death destroyed in the perfect life, sacrificial death, and victorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are reminded that He fought the battle for us. We need only be silent.
Therefore, let us look not to the world’s enticements nor listen to the lies of those who live for them. Our Lord’s return is certain and imminent and is to serve as an encouragement to living faithfully for him. Until then, some will still obsess on when he will return, while others will live as if he never will.
We cannot, indeed we will not, find the spiritual food we need. In our fallen depravity, we are utterly dependent upon the Lord’s provision.
Therefore, the purpose of Jesus’ parables is less in the story told but of whom the story tells. He is the central theme of every parable, a truth understood only by receiving the gift of saving knowledge in Him.
As much as the demons love the lie of self-help salvation, they hate the gospel truth that “by grace you have been saved through faith.