What We “Need” to Know
I live in an area of the country with a high concentration of military installations. One of our standing jokes is, “Don’t tell me! Then you’ll have to kill me!” The joke gets old, but the principle doesn’t change. In the military world, information is given on a “need to know” basis. Too much information in the wrong hands could come with a high price tag. I have probably already told you too much.
Certainly God doesn’t withhold knowledge from us as a matter of security, but it is very important to discern what He deems needful. If nothing else, this will help us escape faddish pursuits that distort the nature of Jesus and fail to address matters of eternity.
We will examine a number of topics in our study, but I am going to risk a simple front-loaded answer to the question of “need.” What we need most is “to be made right with God.” The Bible calls this need “righteousness.” The Apostle Paul calls the process by which we are made righteous “reconciliation”, of which he was made a minister (2 Corinthians 5:18).
There are two basic components to righteousness in the Bible: our unwavering trust in
God, and our acceptance of His grace through His Son Jesus. Both of these are expressed by faith. The Hebrews writer provides a long list of Old Testament personalities who trusted God with their lives and their souls and were deemed righteous (Hebrews 11). These men and women lived by faith without ever seeing the full revelation of God’s promise. They trusted from a distance and were rewarded.
When Jesus came into the world He called His followers to a righteousness that fulfilled God’s promise. This righteousness was a matter of the heart, not an empty religious practice. Jesus wanted us to be made right with His Father, and He gave His life on the cross to make it possible.
The biblical Jesus can be viewed through many lenses, but if we miss the topics found in the shadow of the cross we miss everything. If, however, we start with the cross and everything related to it, we can overlook some of the outlying portraits of Jesus and still be made right.