I really like the way the New Testament depicts Old Testament characters. The book of Hebrews says this about the patriarch Abraham, “And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.” (Hebrews 6:15)
Do you remember the real story of Abraham? In Genesis 17 God has a lengthy interaction with Abraham. When this interaction took place Abraham was already 100 years old and without children. Yet, God promised Abraham land, offspring, and blessings untold. Abraham laughed. He found the idea ludicrous. He thought the best idea would be for the Lord to bless his illegitimate son, Ishmael. God had other ideas.
In spite of Abraham’s reaction, the New Testament paints a very different picture.
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead‑since he was about a hundred years old‑and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised (Romans 4:18‑21).
The difference between the original story and the New Testament version is seeing through the cross. The stain of sin has been eradicated by the cross of Christ. The wavering and doubting has been blotted out.
That’s what we need with one another—to see each other through the cross. Those other folks in your church are not simply selfish, nasty folks. They are holy and righteous in the sight of God. They’re blood-bought sons and daughters of the King.
Which perspective do you think is best for us to view one another?
Adapted from Tom’s book, Reflecting God’s Mercy in an Unmerciful World