(Article for publication week of 7-17- AD 2014)
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:14-15).
According to the Lord Himself, the brazen serpent that Moses put on a pole was a type of Himself. We read the account in Numbers 21 and the reader is invited to go and read. The Israelites sinned against God by murmuring and complaining. (You need to know that complaining is a grievous sin.) God sent fiery serpents among them to punish them, and many of them died. When they began to confess their sin and cry out for deliverance, God commanded Moses to put a brazen serpent on a pole and all who looked up to that serpent were healed from the deadly poison in their body.
Now here is a picture of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Alone. The Lord Jesus Christ said as much. The bitten Israelites are typical of us in our lost condition. We have the deadly venom of sin in us. It has already wrought death in us, and it is only a matter of time before it will bring us down to eternal death. The brazen serpent is typical of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ says so. You may be wondering , "how can a serpent be typical of the Lovely Son of God?" Well, in this way: Christ was made sin for us (II Corinthians 5:21), and a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). When He was lifted up on the cross it was as a Substitute, and as a sin bearer for His people. Now, Christ says that the Israelites who looked to the brazen serpent and lived are typical of sinners who look to Christ and live.
There is life in a look, and nowhere else! Now you read carefully, and go back and read these two passages the Lord has given you as illustrative of saving faith. As the bitten Israelites were certain to die except they looked to the brazen serpent, so you are condemned to death unless you look to God's only remedy for your condition, His only begotten Son. The bitten Israelites were as good as dead, with poison in their veins, and so you are as good as dead and hell bound. But glory be to God, any Israelite who would look to the serpent was healed of his deadly wounds! So, any sinner feeling the poison of sin in his very soul, the moment he looks to Christ who was made a curse for us, that sinner will be healed and shall have eternal life.
Looking to Christ is a principle act of saving faith, and we see it wonderfully illustrated by the bitten Israelites looking to the brazen serpent. They didn't have to climb the pole, all they did was look to the serpent on the pole. They did not have to see the brazen serpent clearly, all they had to do was look to it. Those furthest from the pole were healed as certainly as those right beside it. Whether they understood how and why they were healed, they were still healed if they would but look. So it is with looking to the Crucified One. He asks you to do no works, just look to Himself. Even if you can't clearly see Christ, you are still saved by looking to Him. Those who are far off by their sins or their station may still look to Christ and be saved. Even if you don't understand how Christ accomplishes all this, just look to Him and live. As the Israelites who looked to the brazen serpent were instantaneously healed, so poor sinner , you will be saved the very moment you look to Christ.
There is life in a look, and nowhere else. I bid you look to Christ and be saved.