John 6:35 ESV (Jesus speaking): “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
As I explained in Part One of this series, Jesus Christ is the true bread of life. He gave us physical life, but he is also the giver of spiritual life, i.e. of new life in Christ Jesus, our Lord, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:17-24; cf. Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
But, Satan, who is Jesus’ enemy, and who is the enemy of the saints of God, does not want people to be like Jesus. He doesn’t want us rescued from our slavery to sin and living to Christ’s righteousness in the power of God’s Spirit living within us. And, he doesn’t want us surrendered to Christ, doing his will, walking in his ways and in his truth, living holy lives, pleasing to God.
So, he devised a plan to come up with a “false bread” that looks like the “true bread,” but that willfully takes scriptures out of context, makes them say what he wants them to say, and while ignoring the bulk of teaching in the New Testament on what constitutes salvation from sin and eternal life with God. But, since he teaches half the truth, it appears like it is truth.
So, the purpose of these writings is to examine a few of the key passages of scripture that this “false bread”, i.e. this false gospel of salvation uses to convince its adherents that they can “believe” in Jesus, have eternal life with God guaranteed, and yet they don’t have to turn away from their sinful lifestyles or walk in obedience to Christ and to his commands.
I Give Them Eternal Life
John 10:28-30 ESV: “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
Now, what this false bread does is it applies this passage of scripture to anyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter if they are living like hell, walking in darkness, living in the lusts of the flesh while ignoring God and his commandments. They promise them eternal life with God based on a profession of faith, which can never be taken away from them no matter how they live their lives until Jesus returns.
But, let’s look at this in context. For context tells us the whole story. Jesus is talking here about people who enter into the gatherings of the sheep by another way, by a way other than through Jesus Christ, i.e. not by the way that he taught. These who enter in by this other way are thieves and robbers whose goal it is to steal, to kill and to destroy the church. They are those who are teaching this “false bread.” And, the goal of this “false bread” is definitely to destroy the church!
But, what does Jesus say about his true sheep? He says his sheep hear his voice, he calls them by name, he leads them out, they know his voice and so they follow (obey) him. He says his own know him, and he knows them.
And, they don’t listen to strangers (to false shepherds and false teachers), for they don’t recognize their voice as being the true voice, i.e. they are discerning regarding what is true and what is false. In fact, he says they will not follow strangers (false shepherds/teachers) but they will flee from them.
So, many of the Jews responded to Jesus’ words by saying that he has a demon or that he is insane, and they asked the question, “Why listen to him?” [Some things never change.] And, a little later on there were Jews who gathered around him asking him to tell them plainly if he was the Christ. But, Jesus responded by telling them that he had told them. The problem wasn’t that they didn’t know, but that they refused to believe.
Then, he said to them, “but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
So, what was he saying to them? He was saying that they were not his true sheep because they didn’t listen to him and they didn’t follow him in obedience, and this is the consistent message of Jesus and of his New Testament Apostles all throughout the New Testament writings.
And, do you know that this is what it says right before the quoted passage from vv. 28-30? It isn’t anyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ who can’t be snatched out of Jesus’ and the Father’s hands.
It is only those who listen to the Lord, but not just with physical ears, but with hearts and minds to receive and to believe and to put into practice what he says. And, it is only those who follow (obey) him, and who walk in his ways and in his truth to whom this scripture applies. And, this, too, is consistently taught all throughout the New Testament.
[Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Rom. 2:6-8; Gal. 6:7-8; Jn. 6:27-68; Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 5:3-6]
Who We Are in Christ
Romans 8:1 ESV: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
This is another one of those passages of scripture that this “false bread” likes to throw out there and generally applies across the board to anyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ, again regardless of whether or not they are living for the Lord, or whether or not they are living for themselves, still bound in sin, living for sinful pleasure and in all manner of evil.
In fact, one of their biggest catch phrases is “Who you are in Christ.” And, what this is is a list of phrases, at least mostly or partially taken from scripture, though not all, which list who we are in Christ. Most if not all of these scriptures, though, are taken out of context, and they are applied, again, across the board to all people who make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, regardless of how they are living their lives, in practice.
In fact, if they are failing miserably, and even if they are owning up to the fact that they are vegging out on pornography, they will sometimes be told to just “claim who you are in Christ,” as though that somehow makes what they are doing ok, or it is to help them alleviate the guilt they are feeling.
And, to add to that, they are told that God can no longer see when they sin, for when he looks on them, all he can see is Jesus, and so he delights in them, even while they are vegging out on porn, as a matter of habit.
So, again, let’s examine the context of Romans 8:1. Who are those who are “in Christ”? What does it teach us?
Romans 8:3-8: “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Do we see what this is saying here? The righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who “walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” We are the ones who are not condemned. We are the ones “in Christ.” For, if we live according to the flesh, it is death for us, not life eternal with God. If we walk according to our flesh, and not according to the Spirit, we will not see God, but we will die in our sins. We are still under condemnation (Rom. 8:9-14; Rom. 6:1-23; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Lu. 9:23-26).
And, to walk according to the Spirit means to live (in practice, in conduct) in agreement with God’s Holy Spirit, which is in agreement with the holiness and righteousness of God. But, to walk according to the flesh is to live (in practice, in conduct) according to what our flesh desires, which results in death, not in eternal life with God (Gal. 6:7-8; Gal. 5:16-21; Rom. 2:6-8).
So, we need to stop pulling scriptures out of context and interpreting them according to our flesh. We need to study the Word of God in context, one verse, one chapter, and one book at a time, seeking God’s face, asking him to lead us into all truth. And, we need to compare scripture with scripture, and we need to test what we hear against scripture in context and against the divine character and will of Almighty God for our lives.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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