A Fighting Chance

Esther’s revelation  to the king of Haman’s perfidy and Xerxes’ subsequent command to have his former ally executed had addressed the root cause of the problem, but they had yet to address the danger formed by the death warrant still standing against the Jews (Est. 8:1-6). Esther’s plea persuaded the king so much that he allowed Esther and Mordecai to write the new law itself that would counteract the threat posed by Haman’s decree (Est. 8:7-10). However, due to the nature of Persian law, revoking the previous command lay outside the realm of possibility; therefore, the new legislation gave them the necessary authority and means to defend themselves from the attacks made possible by Haman’s wickedness (Est. 8:11-14). Thus, Mordecai, rather than experiencing a shameful death, was exalted before the people of the land, and God’s people rejoiced at the opportunity for salvation placed before them in the renewal of hope (Est. 8:15-16). In fact, this reversal of fortune created so much respect that others sought to be counted among their number (Est. 8:17). The grace extended in this latter decree did not remove all responsibility from the people, but it did offer them the opportunity for salvation if they were ready to fight for it. In this, a book containing no reference to God whatsoever provides a beautiful type of spiritual redemption as well.

Jesus addressed the root problem by defeating Satan through His overcoming both sin and death (Heb. 2:14-15; 1 Cor. 15:54-57). However, others remained in danger under the weight of their sin (Rom. 3:23). Therefore, on the basis of His own victory, He had the New Covenant penned to counteract this threat (Heb. 8:8-13). This provided the means necessary to counteract the previous death sentence (Jn. 1:12) and offered a greater hope than ever previously considered (1 Cor. 15:19-20; Tit. 1:2). Jesus thus provided an opportunity for salvation that none deserve and yet that all could embrace (Eph. 2:8-10). This opportunity, though, offered the tools by which we can fight combined with the assurance of victory if we use them properly (Eph. 6:10-17), but they still require us to join the fight (2 Cor. 10:3-5). Jesus accomplished something that none of us could have done, but that does not mean that He expects us to do nothing. He took on Goliath and won, but we still must fight the rest of the army.

God’s grace has provided a beautiful opportunity, but we must take hold of it with faith and obedience (Rom. 5:1; Heb. 5:8-9). This does not mean that we passively accept what God has done for us; it means we actively embrace what God has done AND what the Lord calls on us to do (Mt. 7:21-23). The Lord calls on us to be soldiers in the kingdom—not sitters in the sanctuary. Grace provides the opportunity to fight Satan and his cohorts as well as the means to win, but WE must provide the fight. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11–14).

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