John 8:31-32 ESV
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Not everyone who says he believes in Jesus truly believes in him. Even the demons believe, and they shudder, James said. So, saying we believe in him, and living as though we truly are believing in him are two different things, which Jesus makes perfectly clear here.
There are all kinds of “IF” verses in the Bible which qualify true belief for us. And, this is just one of them. For, to believe in Jesus means to be one of his followers, which is a disciple of his. And, believing in Jesus means he is not only our Savior, but he is our Lord (owner-master) and we are his servants.
So, if we are truly believing in him, and we are truly one of his followers, then we will abide in his Word. And, this word “abide” means to remain (live, continue, persist, keep on). And, this is not on an intellectual level, but on a heart level; on an obedience level. This means we live what we say we believe and we continue and persist in doing what the Word teaches us.
John 8:33-38 ESV
They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
Another important (critical) element of true believing faith is that we realize our own sinfulness (our sinful condition) and our slavery to sin, and we recognize the need we have of the Savior to deliver us out of our depravity and to set us free to now walk in the Lord’s holiness and righteousness. If we don’t see that we are bound in slavery to sin and that we need deliverance, then we can’t ever be set free, for we don’t believe we need to be set free from anything.
And, going along with that, if we are relying upon some religious heritage to get us into heaven apart from genuine faith in Jesus Christ, we can forget it. Just because these people were natural descendants of Abraham didn’t mean at all that they were the children of promise.
And, just because we are brought up Christian, as our religion, doesn’t mean we are Christians by God’s standards of what qualifies as someone who is a Christian. For, we can go to worship services every Sunday faithfully and serve in areas of ministry and tithe, etc. and still die and go to hell.
So, what makes the difference? Well, what the Bible teaches is that it all comes down to what we practice, not speaking here of works-based salvation, but that true faith practices righteousness while those who do not have true faith practice sin (unrighteousness).
If we make sin our practice, our lifestyle, then we are still slaves to sin, and we have not been reborn of the Spirit of God, and we don’t have eternal life with God. It is only those who walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh who have the hope of eternal life with God (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).
If Jesus’ Word finds no place in our lives, because we want to live how we want, and so we deny him by our lifestyles and by our attitudes, and thus we quench the Holy Spirit, we are essentially putting Jesus to death in our lives just like the Jews killed him because they wanted no part of him. For, Jesus said that his sheep listen to him, he knows them, and they follow (obey) him, and they are the ones who can’t be snatched out of God’s hands (See: Jn. 10:27-30).
John 8:39-47 ESV
They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
It doesn’t matter to God who is on the “Who’s Who” list. He is not impressed by human credentials or by claims to religious heritage. He is also not impressed by how much Bible knowledge we have or what universities we attended or what families we married into or were born into.
So, we can make all the claims we want to something that we feel makes us somehow better or that we feel should impress God or other people, such as being members of First Baptist or First Presbyterian Church, but what God looks at is not the outward appearance but what is in our hearts. And, he knows what is in our hearts, even if we can fool other people.
So, God’s message to us is that if we make claims to him as our Father, for example, then that should be evidenced by how we live our lives. If we truly believe in Jesus, then we should follow him to the cross in death to sin and in living to righteousness, for this is why he died. And, we should follow his model for godly living and faithfulness and purity and holiness. For, this is what it means to be a follower of someone, to follow their example.
So, if God is truly our Father, we would love Jesus. And, Jesus said the way in which we show love to him is that we obey him. And, to love means to prefer what he prefers, which is what is holy, pure, righteous, upright, moral, and faithful, etc. So, if our faith in Jesus is genuine, we will follow him in obedience, not necessarily in absolute sinless perfection, but in daily dying to sin and self and daily living to him and to his righteousness.
But, Jesus took this one step further. He told these people that, not only was God not their Father, but that the devil was their father, because they obeyed the devil, not God. And, we need to get this. If our lifestyles are such that we live for our own selfish pleasure and we ignore God’s commandments, and we make sin our practice, and we live immoral and impure lives, then not only is God not our Father, but the devil is, for we do what the devil desires, not what God desires.
And, this really is the clincher. And, that is that so many people are trapped in sin, even many who profess faith in Jesus Christ, because they believe the lies of Satan and not the truth of God’s Word. And, when someone tries to tell them the truth, they won’t listen, because they really want to hold on to the lies so that they can hold on to their sinful practices without guilt, too.
But, what Jesus is saying here is that if we will not hear the Words of God, and we shut our ears to the truth, because we prefer the lies, because the lies make no demands of us with regard to change in lifestyle, then we are not of God, but we are of the devil.
So, just because we prayed a prayer to accept Jesus’ salvation for our sins, or just because we made some public declaration of him as Savior of our lives, it does not mean anything if it is not accompanied with genuine repentance and a walk of obedience to our Lord and to his Word. For, if we live to sin, we will die in our sins. But, we live to righteousness, in the power of God’s Spirit at work within our lives, then we have eternal life with God.
So, know the truth, and live the truth, for the truth will set you free!
He Gives Purpose
An Original Work / June 9, 2012
“Listen to Me when I’m calling to you.
Obey freely My word.
Follow Me in all of My ways.
Do all that I say.
Hear Me gently whisper to you
My will for your life and future.
Give all of your life and heart to
Follow Me always.”
Repent of your sins and worship Jesus.
He’s your Lord and Master.
He died for your sins so you could
Live with Him today.
He has a plan for your life and
He gives purpose and direction.
He gives meaning to your life,
So follow Him today.
“I love you so much I gave My life for
You to walk in My ways,
Living for Me each day as you
Bow to Me and pray.
Witness for Me of your love for Me and
Of My grace and mercy,
How I died to save you of your
Sins now and always.”
Tuesday, January 15, 2019