We love our Bible heroes don’t we? David the “giant slayer”, Moses the great deliverer, Nehemiah the courageous leader, Paul the outrageously bold church planter, the list could go on. While these men did live exemplary lives we have to be extremely careful not to get caught in the Bible hero worship trap. Goal is NOT to “be like David or whoever”, but rather to “be like Christ”.
When we see different people in the Bible, the goal is to see how God has worked in their sinful life and brought redemption. We do not want our Bible study to degenerate into mere human hero worship. God remains the hero of every text. This does not mean that Biblical characters have no exemplary qualities for us to emulate (e.g., Rom. 15:4; Phil. 3:17).
We must understand, though, that when these positive qualities appear, grace is the cause (Rom. 11:36). The ancient saints are presented to us as God intended – hopelessly fallen creatures whose faith and favor are entirely the product of God’s mercy and deliverance.
The following is a quote from Ian Duguid in his book, Living in the Gap Between Promise and Reality…speaking of Abraham,
“Yet if Abraham is only an example for us to follow, we are of all men most to be pitied. Who among us can live up to the standard of even a flawed hero such as Abraham? Thankfully, our salvation as Christians rests not on our trying to do what Abraham did, but on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross in our place, whereby our sins were atoned for, the wrath of God was turned away from us, and we were reconciled to him. To put it another way, the gospel is not “What would Abraham do?” but “What has Jesus done?”
Our greatest need, in order to live by faith in the midst of the reality gap, is not to have a good example to follow. Rather, we need a growing understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ, of his sufferings and the glory that followed, as the context for our present sufferings and certain hope for the glory to come.”
So, when you are reading and studying your Bible (which I encourage you to do daily), make sure that you see the redemptive purpose in each passage. The message of the gospel is that Jesus has come to be our savior and we need to repent and believe in faith that he can change us.
All for Jesus,