Choosing to Live by Faith
May 29, 2022
In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz tells of a trip to his local moderately sized grocery store. He found 285 varieties of cookies, 13 sports drinks, 65 box drinks, 85 kids’ juices, 75 iced teas, 95 types of chips and pretzels, 15 kinds of bottled water, 80 different pain relievers, 40 options for toothpaste, 150 lipsticks, 360 types of shampoo, 90 different cold remedies, 230 soups, 75 instant gravies, 275 varieties of cereal, 64 types of barbeque sauce, and 22 types of frozen waffles.…[That’s] why my wife sends me with a very detailed list in the unfortunate event that I am responsible for the grocery shopping during the week. If she tells me to get baby food, with no further instructions, I could come back with anything from liquid peas to dissolvable, cherry-flavored wagon wheels. I need specifics because there are just too many ways I can [mess] things up. [DeYoung, Just Do Something, 32.]
Oh, the choices we face — and not just at the grocery store. We are inundated with choices every day. And not all the choices we are given are innocent. There are dire consequences for some of our choices.
We have seen repeatedly in Hebrews 11 that living by faith means trusting God — believing that He will accomplish His final purposes for His people; we can trust Him for that (10:36). It also means, as the life of Moses demonstrates, that we must make wise choices. We must choose to live against other things that purport to be worthwhile and trustworthy — against the temptations that say there is a better way to accomplish God’s plan than by trusting God. Moses illustrates how to live against the temptations that entice us to find a pathway to peace, comfort, and joy apart from God and Christ.
This section about Moses is the longest section about any one person in this chapter, except Abraham. And the writer of Hebrews thinks much about Moses; he mentions him more than any NT book except John and Acts. It’s fitting that Moses plays such a prominent role in the book since the readers were being tempted to go back under the Mosaic Law (and rejecting Christ); the writer acknowledges the significance of Moses (3:5), even while pointing out the superiority of Christ (3:6).
In this section (vv. 23-26), he argues that while the readers are tempted to go back to Moses and the Law, Moses rejected that temptation in order to follow Christ. He believed (had faith) that what Christ would offer was better than the temptations that were enticing him away from Christ. These verses exhort us —
To live by faith, purposefully choose Christ over every temptation.
What kinds of temptations might draw us away from Christ? Moses’ life illustrates the two particular circumstances in which we must be intentional to choose and follow Christ…
- Choose to Believe Christ When External Pressures Tempt You to Disobey (v. 23)
- Remember what God has revealed
- Remember the fear of God
- Choose to Believe Christ When Internal Desires Tempt You to Disobey (v. 24-26)
- Remember your spiritual affiliation (vv. 24-25a)
- Remember that sin’s pleasures are passing (v. 25b)
- Remember that the world’s rewards are passing (v. 26a)
- Remember the riches of Christ’s rewards (v. 26b)
Download the rest of this sermon on Hebrews 11:23-26.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.