One of the big lessons Christians grow to learn is the difference between trusting in their performance for God’s approval and resting in the performance of Christ on their behalf for God’s approval. Essentially, it is learning what to put our confidence in.
To help bring the power of this lesson home, D.A. Carson offers an unforgettable illustration.
Picture two Jews with the remarkable names of Smith and Jones. They live in the land of Goshen almost a millennium and a half before Christ. It is early evening, and they are talking to each other near the end of the ten plagues. Mr. Smith says to Mr. Jones, “Mr. Jones, have you daubed the two doorposts and the lintel with the blood of the lamb tonight?”
Mr. Jones replies, “Oh yes, I certainly have. You heard what Moses said. The angel of death is passing through the land. Some of the plagues have afflicting just the Egyptians, but some of the them have been over the whole land. Moses insisted that this plague was going to run throughout the entire land of Goshen where we live, as well as the rest of Egypt. The firstborn of people and of cattle are going to be killed. The only exceptions are in those homes that have been daubed with lamb’s blood, the way that Moses prescribed.” He pauses and then adds, “I’m really excited about this because this means that our redemption is drawing near. Of course, I’ve slaughtered the lamb. My friends and relatives are all here, and we’re ready to go. I’ve daubed the blood of the lamb on the two doorposts and on the lintel. How about you, Mr. Smith?”
Mr. Smith replies, “Well, of course, I’ve done the same thing. But boy, am I worried. Have you seen the things that have gone on around here the last few months? Frogs, lice, hail, death. Now Moses is talking about every firstborn. Look, I’ve got only one son; you’ve got three. I love my Charlie, and I don’t want to lose him. I am scared witless. There is not going to be any sleep for me tonight.”
Rather surprised, Mr. Jones replies, “What are you worried about? God himself has promised through His servant Moses that if you have daubed the blood on the two doorposts and on the lintel, you are saved. Your child will be saved. Charlie will be here tomorrow morning. You’ve already put the blood on the two doorposts and on the lintel.” Mr Smith replies, “Well, you’ve got that last bit right. I’ve certainly done that, but I am scared witless just the same.”
That night the angel of death passes through the land. Who loses his son? Mr. Smith of Mr. Jones? The answer, of course, is neither – because the promise was based not on the intensity of their faith nor on the joy of their obedience but on whether they hid under the blood of the lamb. (Taken from Scandalous, p. 100-101).
You see? Our salvation is not based on the strength of our faith or the joy we demonstrate, but on whether or not we have faith in Christ as our sacrifice. God does not judge us by our maturity or strength or courage, but by whether or not we have covered ourselves in the blood of the lamb (Rev. 12:11). God will make good on His promise to save all those who trust in Jesus – even if they do so shaking in their boots. Our salvation is not based upon our subjective feelings of being saved, but on the objective work of Christ in saving us.
As the old song says…
I need no other argument.
I need no other plea.
It is enough that Jesus died
And that he died for me.