The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:9-13 ESV
This true light is Jesus Christ, God the Son, who came into the world as a baby, born of God and of woman. While he lived on this earth he was fully God yet fully man. He is not only the Son of God, but he is God, and he is our creator God, so he made us. We were physically birthed by him. He is the one who gave us life and breath (see John 1 – the whole chapter).
Yet, even though he is our God, who made us, many people reject him. Even many who profess to believe in the one true God reject him. Even many who profess to believe in Jesus Christ reject him, too, by their lifestyles, and in their hearts. For, their hearts are not truly given over to the Lord but are still given over to the flesh, and their lifestyles reveal where their true loyalties are. With their lips they confess him, but their hearts are far from him.
For, they reject him when they reject the light (truth, righteousness) that he gave to everyone. And, the light that he gave was that we must deny self and take up our cross daily and follow (obey) him if we want to have eternal life with him. We must forsake our former lives of living for sin and self, and turn to follow him in obedience to his will. For, if we do not let go of our sinful lifestyles, but we hold on to them, then we will lose our lives for eternity (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; Gal. 5:16-21).
So, to receive Christ is not a formula we follow or words we say with our mouths. To receive Christ is to believe in what he taught us, not just with our intellect, but in our hearts, which is then revealed by what we do. If we truly receive him (come after him), then we will leave our sinful lifestyles behind us, and we will follow him in obedience, and we will tell others about him, too, so that they can know him and can grow in their walks of faith.
So, according to scripture, if we are still living under the control of the flesh, and not under the control of the Spirit of God, and if we are intoxicated with the things of this world, which are immorality, lying and wickedness, and not with the things of the Spirit, which are purity, morality, and decency, then we are not true children of God born of the Spirit of God, but we are still of the flesh of man.
For, true followers of Jesus Christ, who are of the Light, are separate (unlike, different) from the world of sin, so they stand out as odd, peculiar. And, in like manner, the true church of Jesus Christ is of the Spirit and not of the flesh of man, too. The true church is not a building or organization or denomination or corporation under the government. The true church is of the Spirit of God, and it is a living organism, not an institution of man.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. John 1:14-18 ESV
Many people misunderstand this whole thing of law and grace. They think that grace removes the law from our lives and that we don’t have to follow our Lord’s commandments any longer. And, so they see God’s grace as freedom (liberty) to keep on in their sinful practices without guilt and without remorse.
But, this is not what God’s Word teaches us. Yes, we don’t have to follow all those Old Covenant regulations and ceremonies, but we are not free from having to follow God’s moral laws, for they are repeated for us under the New Covenant. Whatever is repeated for us under the New Covenant we do have to follow. And, if we don’t walk (in practice) in the Light we are given under the New Covenant, then we don’t have eternal life with God.
For, God’s grace to us is to deliver us out of our slavery (addiction) to sin, not just to free us from the punishment of sin. And, his grace to us is to empower us to live by the Spirit of God and no longer by our flesh. His grace, in fact, instructs us to say “No” to the flesh and to say “Yes” to the Spirit; to say “No” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts (desires) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return.
But, so many people today, the immature, the childish, are trying to go behind God and to undo what he did when he gave us his grace. And, they are trying to alter it to become something else. They are cutting his gospel message short, and they are replacing it with a cheap grace gospel which requires no repentance, no submission to God, and no obedience to his Word. And, they are raising this cheap grace gospel above Christ and his gospel, i.e. they are exalting it instead of exalting Christ.
They are also teaching a salvation that is a one-time deal that assures the “believer” of heaven as his eternal destiny, but which does not require a daily walk of obedience to the Lord. But, the scriptures teach that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who WALK not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit; who WALK in the light as Jesus is in the light. Only those who walk in holiness and righteousness and who don’t walk in idolatry and wickedness have eternal life with God.
[Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 2:6-8; Eph. 4:17-24; Eph. 5:3-6; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Co. 6:20; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Jn. 14:23-24; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; Jn. 8:31-32]
And this is the testimony of John… He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” John 1:19-23 ESV
As followers of Jesus Christ, this is truly our calling. We are to proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth in sharing Christ’s love and his grace with a world lost in sin. We are to go throughout the world and make disciples of Christ of all people… teaching them to obey the commandments of the Lord. And, because we are empowered with the Holy Spirit of God we are Christ’s witnesses throughout the world.
But, we are not to be bearers of a cheap grace gospel. We are to teach the whole counsel of God, and that it is as we walk in the light as Christ is in the light that we have fellowship with God and the blood of Christ cleanses us from every sin. Jesus taught this truth to his disciples when he wrapped a towel around himself and humbled himself and washed their feet. For, he told Peter that if he could not wash his feet (cleanse his walk) that he had no share in Christ, no fellowship with him, no part in him (see John 13).
But, when we share the whole counsel of God and we don’t preach the diluted cheap grace gospel, we are going to have social Christianity of a social gospel come after us and attack us and call us names. And, they will try to persuade us to tamper it down, to soften the message, so that we don’t offend people with the truth of the gospel. For the truth does offend, and if the gospel you are preaching does not offend people, then perhaps it is not the true gospel. But, Jesus taught the truth, and he offended people BIG TIME, and that is why they put him to death.
But, please understand this: Jesus’ persecutors were the people of his own faith, his own religion, of his own family, and of his own community, and they were the religious rulers and leaders in the temple of God.
So, don’t be surprised, if you are teaching the whole counsel of God, that your greatest persecutors might come from within the church, and especially from within the institutional market-driven and flesh-driven church which has altered the gospel of Jesus Christ to make it more appealing and acceptable to flesh.
But, we are to be lifting up high the name of Jesus, but in truth, and about the real Jesus, not this man-created Jesus who just went around loving on everyone and never had any enemies and never offended anyone, but stayed in “his own lane.” And, we are to lift up the truth of the gospel, not this cheap grace gospel which offends no one because it coddles them in their sin rather than calls for death to sin and living to righteousness.
He is Exalted
By Twila Paris
He is exalted, the King is exalted on High
I will praise Him…
He is the Lord
Forever His truth shall reign
Heaven and earth
Rejoice in His holy name