Monday, May 1, 2017, 7:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Amazing Grace.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 9:1-11 (NIV).
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was.
Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”
But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”
“How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.
He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”
But This Happened
In the providence of God, a man was born blind, though not due to his parents’ sins, but that the works of God might be displayed in his life.
In the providence of God, we all are born into this world spiritually blind, with sin natures, not due to our parents’ sins, yet due to the sin of Adam, the first man. Yet, also, I believe, that the works of God might be displayed in our lives when Jesus Christ heals us spiritually from our blindness, and we are born anew of the Spirit of God via the “washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5-7).
How, you say, can this be so? Well, God is all knowing and all powerful. He is completely sovereign and absolutely in control over all he has made. He created Lucifer (Satan, the devil) as one of his angels, fully knowing that he would rebel against God, along with a third of the angels, I believe, and yet he did not destroy him and his followers when they rebelled against him. He allowed Satan to exist, knowing full well that he would tempt Eve and thus Adam to sin against God, and that God would then curse all humankind, and that we would be born in the image of Adam (Ro. 5:12-19; 1 Co. 15:21-22, 42-49). Yet, when he cursed the serpent (Satan, the devil), he already had a plan for our salvation from sin through Jesus Christ, our Lord (Gen. 3:15).
Go and Wash
Since it was in the providence of God that the man should be born blind, in order that the works of God might be displayed in his life, then it was also in the providence of God that Jesus Christ should heal (deliver) this man from his blindness, and that he should do it in the manner in which he did, too.
It was also in God’s providential care, even from the beginning, that Jesus Christ would be our sin offering so that we might be delivered from our spiritual blindness. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus died on that cross that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might walk in the Spirit, and not according to the flesh; and that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet. 2:24; Ro. 8:1-14; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).
Notice with me that Jesus did not just touch the man and heal him, although he could have. He put mud on his eyes, and then he instructed the man to go to a specific pool and to wash. Thus, the man came home seeing. The man was obviously healed, not in his own power and strength, but as a miracle of God’s grace to him, and yet the man had to do what he was told to do, as this was part of his faith which then resulted in his healing, so that he came home seeing.
So it is with our salvation. It is by God’s grace that we are saved, through faith, and this not of ourselves, of our own flesh. It is the gift of God, not of works lest any of us should boast that we somehow attained our own salvation. Yet, God-given faith is not just a feeling, or an experience, or an intellectual assent to who Jesus is and to what he did for us in dying for our sins. God-given faith convinces (persuades) us of God’s will for our lives, and when convinced, it is our desire to then walk in obedience to our Lord and to do what he tells us. Also, if the faith comes from God, which it does, then it will turn from sin and it will turn to God/Jesus to follow him in surrender and to walk in his ways, for this is what God requires of us (Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
In other words, Jesus doesn’t just choose who he is going to save and then just zap us, and now we are saved, as though we have no part in that process. We do! He said that if we are to come after him, we must deny self, take up our cross daily and follow him. He said if we hold on to our old lives of sin, we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die with him to sin), we will gain eternal life. Paul said the same thing when he said that if we walk in the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity. And, John said that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we are liars (Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14; 1 Jn. 1:6).
I love this man’s testimony, don’t you? Jesus provided the way for the man to be healed of his blindness. Then, he instructed him as to what he needed to do, the man obeyed, and as result, he came home seeing, not because the man washed the mud off his eyes, though, but because he obeyed the Lord and did what he told him to do. Yet, it was still Jesus who healed him!
So many people today think that if you turn from your sins and you turn to obey Jesus, which is what it means to repent of our sin, that this is works-based salvation, and so they convince their adherents that God requires nothing of them at all other than to believe, and yet “believe” is not even defined, in most cases, or it is defined not biblically. Since it is not in accord with God’s word, it is really human belief, not God-given faith, otherwise it would submit to Christ and his cross, turn from sin, and turn to follow Jesus in obedience and in surrender to his will.
When Jesus called Saul (Paul) to the ministry of Christ and his gospel, he told him he was sending him out to the people to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 26:16-18). This is the essence of the gospel of our salvation. And, this is the essence of what it means to believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith. We are turned from our sins, and from the power Satan had over our lives, and we are turned to Christ to now walk in his ways, in the Spirit, and in holiness and righteousness.
So, when he delivers you from your spiritual blindness, and he opens your eyes to the truth, so that you can now see with spiritual eyes, i.e. when he delivers you from slavery to sin, and he sets you free to now become a bond-slave of his righteousness, then give testimony to his saving grace!
Amazing Grace / John Newton
Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see.
‘Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear,
And Grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come.
‘Tis Grace hath brought me safe thus far
And Grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me.
His Word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.
And when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess within the veil
A life of joy and peace.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.