John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
This passage of scripture was given in response to questions from Nicodemus pertaining to salvation and true conversion. Nicodemus was a honest seeker for truth, but did not understand what the process of thorough conversion required, and therefore in his sincerity he was applying only external remedies which only address symptoms, but do no touch the root cause of sin in our lives. The scribes and pharisees prided themselves on a strict observance of the letter of the law, but the change of heart that only God can give was noticeably absent.
In response Jesus told him that he must be born again, and then Christ went on to explain the various necessary steps in the process. The first two steps include being born of the Spirit and of water, the means whereby the new life in Christ is begun. The Holy Spirit begins His work by impressing upon our minds the fact that we have sinned, and that the only remedy for our maladies, is to have Christ take control of our lives. However the process needs to continue, and this is where Jesus referred Nicodemus to a well known incident that is recorded in the scriptures, where many of the Jews were bitten by poisonous serpents. In response to their fatal wounds, God commanded Moses to make a brazen serpent mounted upon a rod for all to see, and thus, whosoever was bitten, and looked to the uplifted serpent would be receive healing. Let's read:
Numbers 21:8 And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
The serpent was a figure of Christ who was made to be our sin bearer, and thus the only way that any person can truly be healed is by looking to Jesus constantly. This part of the process of salvation is where many people stumble, for after receiving the initial change of heart through the baptism of water and of the Spirit, many fail to continue looking unto Jesus who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. But the Bible tells us that if we desire to run the Christian race to a finish, we will need to look to Jesus, not only at the beginning of the Christian journey, but also throughout our life experience, for the process is not a one-time occurrence, but rather a daily dying to self by asking Christ to live His life within us. Let's read:
Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
In our day there is a growing tendency to trust to good works and deeds, instead of looking to Christ for internal cleansing from all unrighteousness. A person can do good externally, while at the same time harboring evil thoughts and desires internally, and that's why in the lives of many prominent preachers and priests who have fallen into very grave sins, there exists an obvious disconnect between their "Good deeds" and the the sins that are cherished and actively practiced.
Every one of us have been bitten by the serpent in some way or another, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Some of us have been bitten with drugs or alcoholic addictions, others have been bitten with gambling and sexual addictions, others have been bitten by pornography, and many others have been bitten by practicing gossip and slander. It matters not what kind of bite we incurred, one thing is certain, we all need to look and live, for there is no other way to be permanently healed from the venomous sting of the serpent.
We therefore end with a passage of scripture that encourages us to do just that, and the promise of victorious living, and eternal life will be ours forever. Let's read:
2nd Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
We sincerely hope and pray that the process of salvation will begin and continue, in the lives of all who see their need of the uplifted Savior. "Good night" and God bless!