His Goodness to Us

The Lord Jesus led me to read John 17 (vv. 1-19 ESV).

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, when he walked this earth, was fully God yet fully man. He suffered just like we suffer, and he was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. Although, when on the earth, he healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, cast out demons, fed the hungry, comforted the sorrowful, and performed all sorts of miracles, still many hated him and rejected him. They hated him because he told them the truth about their sins. He told them that they must come to him in faith, and that they must leave their lives of sin behind them. And, they didn’t like that. So, they plotted his death, which they then carried out.

Yet, before his death on the cross, Jesus spent some time with his disciples, talking with them about what was coming, and preparing them for his departure. He comforted them with the knowledge that, after he left the earth, he would send the Holy Spirit to live within them. He told them that they must remain in him and that his words must remain in them. He predicted Peter’s denial and Judas’ betrayal, and that all of them would desert him. And, he told them that, if they loved him, they would obey him. But, he also told them that they would be hated just like he was hated. And, when he had finished talking with them, then he prayed to the Father in heaven.

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

The hour had now come for Jesus Christ to be crucified on a cross for our sins, and then to be resurrected from the dead in order to give us new life in him. So, he prayed that God the Father would honor him, that he would exalt him, and that he would show the world who he truly was, revealing his divine character, as Jesus also did and would do for the Father. And, Jesus did this, i.e. he gave glory to the Father through the ministry he had while he was on this earth. He, at one time, said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” For, Jesus was the exact representation of his being.

The whole purpose for Jesus leaving his throne in heaven, humbling himself, coming to earth, and taking on human flesh, was that he might die for us and be resurrected back to life, that we might die with him to sin and be given new lives in him to be lived to his righteousness. Our eternal life in him is not just about us escaping hell and going to heaven when we die. The life he gives us, he gives us now, to be lived for him. This eternal life which he gives us, too, is Christ Jesus living in us, and living his life out through us. It is us getting to know God intimately, so that we can walk in his ways and in his truth, and so that we can know his power in our lives, too.

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.

Jesus was describing his followers, those whom the Father had given him out of the world. Those of us who are his followers, he has called to come out of the world and to be separate (unlike, different), because we are being made into his likeness. This does not mean we don’t associate with the people of the world, for God has sent us into the world, to love the people of this world, and to be a light to them, showing them the way to Christ and to his salvation from sin. But, we aren’t supposed to be like the world in thought, behavior, attitudes, values or speech. We are not supposed to join in with the world in their sinful addictions nor adopt their morals and values.

He also described his followers as those who keep (obey) his word. They were not perfect people, though, so it isn’t as though they always obeyed. If we could keep the whole law perfectly, Jesus would not have had to die for our sins, but we couldn’t, because we still live in these flesh bodies. This, nonetheless, is never to be used as an excuse for continued willful sin. For, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. The righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk (in lifestyle) no longer according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For, if we walk according to 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, he described his followers as those who have received (accepted) his words, which the Father had given him, and that they had come to know, in truth, that Jesus Christ did, indeed, come from the Father. Yet, this was not mere intellectual assent to who Jesus was, nor is it now, nor is it mere belief that he died on a cross to save us from our sins. To receive Jesus Christ, and to receive his words, is to apply what he did on that cross to our lives by dying with him to sin, and by living with him to righteousness. And, it is to apply his teachings to our daily lives, to do what they say, and to put them into our daily practice, and it is not to ignore the ones we don’t like, either.

“I am praying for them… (not quoting vv. 9b-13)

“I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.”

When we follow Jesus Christ with our lives, in truth and not in name only, and we walk in obedience to his Word, and we are not of this world, in the sense in which we don’t participate with the world in its sinful practices, the world will hate us, and they will not love us as its own. But, the sad reality of this is all is that the worldly church will also hate us. The more that we are not of this sinful world in thought, values, behaviors and speech, and the closer we get to Christ and to following in his ways and in his truth, the more we will be hated and rejected, even by the worldly church, which has adopted many of the ways, values, morals and philosophies of this world.

If the world hates and rejects us, though, I think it is a whole lot easier to accept. But, when those who claim to be our brothers and sisters in Christ hate and reject us, because we are following Jesus Christ in obedience, and because we are standing on the Word of truth, and we don’t compromise with the world, then that is a whole lot harder to take. Then, it cuts to the heart. It wounds our spirits, for they, the family of God, are supposed to love, support, protect, build up, encourage and strengthen us in our faith, not shoot us down and kick us to the curb because we dare to stand on God’s Word and to walk in the ways of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

So, we need our Lord God to protect us from the evil one, not that we will never be tempted by evil nor attacked by Satan and his hordes, but we need him to carry us through it all, and we need to know his love and grace to help us in our time of need. We also need for him to continue to sanctify (purify, make us holy) in truth (in his Word, his righteousness). What this means is that we continue to grow in him, in his salvation, and in holiness, despite being hated, attacked, and persecuted even by those who are supposed to love and encourage us in our walks of faith. Our trust has to be solely in God, and not in man, for humans will fail us, but God is ever faithful to do all that he has said he would do. So, we can trust in his goodness to us, that he has our best interest at heart, and his purposes will be fulfilled.

Have Thine Own Way, Lord
Adelaide A. Pollard / George C. Stebbins

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

Saturday, November 18, 2017, 12:45 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for putting this song in my mind this morning as I awoke, and thank you, too, for speaking your words to my heart. I praise you, and I thank you.

2 thoughts on “His Goodness to Us

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