A Hard Saying

John 6:25-29 ESV

When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

So many people seek Jesus just for what they can get out of him, but not because they want to surrender their lives to him. They hear that he has a plan of salvation for them that will mean they can be forgiven their sins and go to heaven when they die, and that sounds good to them.

For, they are told that all they have to do is believe in him, which is true, but “believe” is rarely defined as anything more than an intellectual acknowledgment of who he is and what he did for us, or as a choice to go to heaven when they die.

Thus, they want what they can get out of Jesus, i.e. what he can provide for them, but they don’t want it to have to cost them anything. They don’t want to have to change their lifestyles or give up anything that they already have. They don’t want to have to commit to anything or surrender anything, let alone their entire lives.

So, their “belief” in Jesus is shallow, human-based, and usually self-centered. Thus, there is a reason that James (in the book of James) says that even the demons “believe” and they shudder. For, not all belief is the kind that saves us from our sins. James said that faith that is not accompanied by works (of the Spirit) is dead faith, i.e. it is useless.

For, it is quite clear by the context here that there is a correlation between belief and works, but not works of the flesh or the law, but of the Spirit, the kind that God predestined that we should do in his power and strength, and for which we are saved (Eph. 2:10; Phil. 2:12-13; Tit. 2:14; Jas. 2:14-26).

John 6:53-59 ESV

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.

To eat or to drink something is to partake of it or to participate in it; to take part in it and to experience it along with others. It is to join in, to involve yourself in it, and to enter into it.

And, Jesus’ flesh and his blood both represent the death he was about to die on a cross for our sins. For, in his death, he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. In his death he put sin to death on our behalf in order that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness (Rom. 6:1-23; 2 Co. 5:21; Eph. 4:17-24).

So, to eat of Jesus’ flesh and to drink of his blood is to participate with him in his death to sin so that we might be resurrected with him to his righteousness. It is to share with him in his sufferings that we might share with him in his glory (Phil. 3:10; Rom. 8:17; 1 Pet. 4:13; Matt. 20:22-23).

Yet, we don’t do this just once. This is continuous. We have to keep dying to sin and self, and we have to keep walking by faith according to the Spirit of God in the Lord’s righteousness. For, this is a lot like a marriage. For, when we marry someone, we don’t have the wedding day and then go off and keep living like we are single. For, when we marry, the two now become one, and we now work to become united with our spouse as one.

And, like a marriage, we are also entering into an intimate relationship with our God and Lord. Thus, this eating of Jesus’ flesh and this drinking of his blood, i.e. this participation with him in his death to sin, and living with him to his righteousness, is also us abiding in him, and him in us. And, this feeding on him is us feeding on His Word and spending time with him in prayer and fellowship, and it is us seeking his will and then doing it, too.

John 6:60-65 ESV

When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

Many people today, as well, are rejecting the message of the true gospel of our salvation, because it teaches us that we must die with Christ to sin and live with him to righteousness. It teaches that we must suffer with Christ in the way in which he suffered if we want to live with him for eternity. And, it teaches that we must walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit of God if we want to have eternal life with God. And, so many people today are saying this is too hard. And, so they are rejecting it in favor of something easier.

They are offended, too, at this teaching of death to sin and living to righteousness, and so they opt out for something less offensive and more appealing and appeasing to their flesh. Thus, many people are buying into a cheap grace gospel which requires nothing of them at all – no repentance, no obedience and no submission to Christ as Lord of their lives.

And, this is because their “belief” in Jesus is human-based and not God-given or God-persuaded faith. Their “belief” in Jesus is not based in the whole counsel of God, either, but in a diluted half-truth gospel message that is friendlier to the flesh, for it does not require it to be put to death at all. It coddles it, instead, and makes room for it to still flourish and to thrive.

But, the flesh is no help at all to us if we want to have true faith in our Lord Jesus and to have eternal life with God. We can’t make up our own plan of salvation, in other words, which fits with our lifestyles, and then put God’s stamp of approval on it.

For, it is the Spirit of God who gives life, and we can only come to faith in Jesus Christ if the Father draws us to Jesus, and if he grants us the faith to believe. And, that faith, thus, because it is of the Spirit, and not of the flesh of humans, will submit to Christ as Lord, will turn away from lifestyles of sin, and will turn to follow our Lord in obedience. It will not make provision for the flesh, but it will lead us in the way of the Spirit of God.

I Will Lift My Eyes

An Original Work / December 12, 2012
Based off Psalms 121-125

I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
He will not let your foot slip, and He who watches will not sleep.
Our Lord watches over you, and your life He will keep.
I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
I give thanks to Him.

I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n.
Because of His great love for us, He made us alive with Christ.
Through the kindness of our Savior, He gave us new life.
I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n;
My home, now in heav’n.

Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
Those who trust will ne’er be shaken. God will supply all we need.
Our Lord has done great things for us. He’s our friend, indeed!
Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
I can count on Him.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

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