Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 ESV
Do you ever feel like I keep saying the same stuff over and over again? Well, that is because I am teaching (sharing) the scriptures, and they keep repeating themselves over and over again, too. And, the message is the same whether you are reading the Old Testament or the New Testament, for God has not changed! He is the same yesterday, today and forever. His Word does not change, either. And, his will for our lives has not changed.
If we follow (walk in obedience to) Jesus Christ with our lives, then we are not going to walk (in practice) in darkness (sin, wickedness, immorality). But, we will have eternal life with God, which is a life which is given over, not to the flesh, but to following our Lord and to walking (in practice) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:1-17).
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.” John 8:31-32 ESV
There is “belief” and then there is “belief.” James said that even the demons believe in Jesus Christ, and they shudder, but they are not saved from their sins. They do not have eternal life with God. So, we can believe intellectually or even emotionally in Jesus, in who he was and is, but still not have the faith that leads to salvation from sin and eternal life with God.
So, Jesus went on here to explain what it means to believe in him. We must abide in His Word. And, abiding isn’t just reading the scriptures. It isn’t just memorization of the Bible or even teaching the scriptures. It is living the Word of God in all practicality in our daily lives. It is having the Word of God alive and active in our lives. And, it is walking in obedience to what the Word teaches us, and then continuing in that until the end of time.
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’?” John 8:33 ESV
We who were, perhaps, brought up attending church gatherings may not relate to the Jews and their history, but we can certainly find application of these Biblical truths to our lives today. For, having ancestors who called themselves Christians, or attending church services, or living in a country called a “Christian nation” does not make any of us Christians.
Being religious, or holding to a particular faith and doctrine (creed), or regularly attending worship services, or doing Christian service, or being involved in Christian ministry, or following certain rituals and ceremonies does also not make any of us Christians. None of these things will ever set us free from slavery to sin. For they have no power to free us.
Also, praying a prayer to “receive Jesus into your heart,” or making an intellectual assent to who Jesus is and was, or having some emotional experience at an altar also does not insure you are a Christian, or that you have truly been set free from your sin, or that you are bound for heaven.
But, some people assume that they are free from their sin because they said some words after someone, or they went through some ritual, or because they were raised in the church, or because they were baptized. But, none of these, in and of themselves, ensure that you are truly free from sin.
So, the crux of the matter here is found in Jesus’ words:
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. John 8:34-36 ESV
And, the Apostle Paul repeated this same message in his writings. He said that if we walk (in habit, in lifestyle) in sin, that we don’t have eternal life with God. But, if we walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit, then we have forgiveness of sins and we have eternal life with God (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 4:17-24; Eph. 5:3-6).
And, “according to the Spirit” is not behavioral modification done in our own flesh. It means we live in agreement with the Spirit of God as empowered by God’s Spirit living within us. It means we have died with Christ to sin and that we are living to him and to his righteousness. It means we are surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ and that we are following him wherever he leads us (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14).
For, the Son setting us free is different from behavioral modification. It is different from the cheap grace gospel which doesn’t set anyone free from slavery to sin, but which coddles them in their sin and even tells them they don’t have to repent of sin or obey Jesus Christ. Or, it tells them that some obscure faith in Christ is enough to ensure them heaven.
The only way that any of us are going to be free from slavery to sin is first and foremost through the blood of Jesus shed on a cross for our sins, by God’s grace, and then through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, which submits to his Lordship, and which follows him in obedience. For, it is only as we follow Jesus in obedience that we will not walk in darkness (v. 12).
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.” John 8:37-38 ESV
It doesn’t matter to God who we came from, or what heritage we have in this world, or how much prestige or money or clout any of us may have. He is not interested in how much knowledge we have about the Bible, either, or if we attended seminary or Bible college. He is not impressed by church denominations, either, or by baptisms and church membership.
What he is interested in is us giving our lives fully over to him in surrender to him and to his will for our lives. He is interested in us trusting him with our lives and letting him be truly our Lord (owner-master). And, he is interested in us following Him with our lives and us no longer living to please our sinful flesh.
But, many people who call themselves Christians are trying to put Jesus to death, for they deny his Word in their lives, and they don’t submit to his Lordship, and they think they are still in control and in power over their own lives and their own destiny. And, that is because His Word truly has no place in their hearts, for they are still under the control of the flesh, and they are still following after Satan and his ways.
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.” John 8:42-47 ESV
Again, this is another crux (the heart of the matter, the main point). If we truly believe in Jesus Christ (God), then God the Father would be our Father. And, if he was truly our Father we would love Jesus, and to love Jesus is to obey him, scripture teaches us. For, if we don’t walk in obedience to his commands, then we don’t love him, and we don’t know him, and we are not in him, by genuine faith in him (Jn. 14:23-24; Rom. 6:16; 1 Jn. 2:3-6).
If our will is not to do the will of God, but it is to do our own will, then our father is the devil. If we do not listen to the words of God, and if we do not obey them, in practice, then we are not of God, but of the devil.
So, don’t believe the lies that tell you that you can believe in Jesus Christ and still make sin your practice. Don’t believe the lies which tell you that you don’t have to repent of your sins or that you don’t have to obey Jesus Christ. Don’t believe Satan’s lies that tell you that a one-time experience of “faith” assures you eternal life with God no matter how you live your life, or that your sins no longer matter to God. Instead, believe God! Believe his Word.
An Original Work / August 29, 2018
Your bond is broken
With your Lord and Savior
And, your testimony is
Separate from Him.
Your words not matching
Your actions today.
Repent of your sin and
Bow down and pray.
Live what you testify
In truth always.
Purity’s lacking in
Your life and witness,
For you profess one thing,
But other you do.
Not moral, spiritual.
Still of the flesh.
Not living in truth to
What you confess.
Lying about it
Puts you in a mess.
Living a lie is your practice,
‘tis true of you.
Masquerade righteousness –
None of it true.
Your heart is not given
To your Lord God.
Because of how you live,
You are a fraud.
Turn from your sin and
Give your life to God.