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.”
The True Bread
Jesus Christ, God the Son, is the giver of life, both physically and spiritually. He is our creator God, the second person of our Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He was with God from the beginning, and he is God. But, he left his throne in heaven, came to earth, was born as a baby, and then grew to be a man. Yet, while he walked this earth, he was fully God and fully man.
He came to this earth to save us from our sins. God’s plan was that Jesus would have to take our place on the cross, that he would have to take our punishment for sin so that we could be delivered from our slavery to sin.
So, Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. His blood was shed for us on that cross to buy us back for God so that we would now be God’s possession, in order that we might now honor God with our lives (Is. 53; Phil. 2:1-11; 1 Co. 6:20; 2 Co. 5:21).
But, that wasn’t all. Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live with him to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. The reason he gave his life up for us on that cross was to deliver us out of our slavery to sin, and to empower us to live to his righteousness, by his grace, in his strength (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
And, this is the bread that he is offering to us to eat from: We must deny self, take up our cross daily (die daily to sin) and follow (obey) him. For, if we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, we will lose them for eternity. But, if we die with Christ to our old lives of sin, and we now live for him in obedience to his commands, then we have salvation from sin and eternal life with God (Jn. 6:35-66; Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Tit. 2:11-14; Jn. 14:23-24; 1 Jn. 2:3-6).
A False Bread
But, Jesus has an enemy, who is also the enemy of all true followers of Jesus Christ, and that is Satan. So, Satan devised a false bread to appear to be the true bread, in order to deceive naïve minds into rejecting Jesus’ true offer of salvation of sin in favor of a cheap grace substitute. And, that is what I believe the Lord wants me to look at today, to show what it looks like so that we aren’t deceived (taken in by the lies), and so we know the truth.
This false bread has the outward appearance of the true bread, but planted inside of it is pure evil, wickedness, immorality and a very cruel trick. For, its goal is not the holiness, righteousness and godliness of the believer, and the forsaking of sin to follow Jesus in obedience. Its goal is to deceive naïve minds into believing that they can continue living in sin (in practice) and yet claim Jesus as Savior and heaven as their eternal destiny.
And, the primary way in which they convince people to follow the lies and to reject the truth is by taking scriptures out of context and building a doctrine around them, while leaving out surrounding and contextual scriptures which give a more complete picture of the intended message being given. So, following is one example of what I mean by this, so you understand.
Intentional Half-Truths = Lies
Ephesians 2:8-9 says: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
This is one of their key scriptures. But, what they focus on is that God’s grace, being a free gift, means nothing is required of us other than some profession of faith in Jesus Christ. If we mention obedience, they call that works-based salvation. If we mention holiness and godliness, now they are calling that legalism/moralism. They give the impression that “faith” is some mere confession of belief, which does not need to be followed by obedience.
But, they leave out verse 10 which says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
So, there you have it! It is not our own works, of our own flesh which saves us. But, as part of us being made into new creatures in Christ Jesus, we are now God’s workmanship, and we are created FOR GOOD WORKS, which God prepared in advance that we should WALK IN THEM.
And, what are those good works which he prepared in advance that we should walk in them?
If we read on into chapter 4 of Ephesians, we find out that we are to “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
And, then it continues on and it tells us what we are to put off, and what we are to put on, such as we are to put off lying, and we are to tell the truth. We are to put off stealing, and we are to work and to share with others.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (See: Eph. 4:17-32).
This is what our salvation is all about! It is not just about having the punishment of sin taken away or being promised eternity with God in heaven. It is about a life transformation of the Spirit of God in our hearts and minds away from living to sin, to living for God and for his righteousness, all in his power and strength within us (Rom. 6:1-23).
Back to where we began
And, this takes me back to Ephesians 2:8-9. We must notice what it says. It says by grace through faith we have been saved, and this is not our own doing – both God’s grace to us and the faith to believe in him is not our own doing. There is nothing we can do in ourselves to produce the faith it takes to believe in Jesus and in what he did for us on that cross.
For, the very meaning of faith is divine persuasion, i.e. to be persuaded of God as to his will and purpose for our lives in saving us from our sins. And, since he is a holy and righteous God, his will for us is that we live godly and holy lives pleasing to him, which is how his grace instructs us (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Rom. 12:1-2; Tit. 2:11-14; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Both the grace to be saved and the faith to believe God for salvation are a gift from God, meaning they come from God, and if from God, they will submit to God, and will surrender to his Lordship and to his divine will and purpose for our lives, which is described in detail for us all throughout the New Testament.
It is not God’s will that we continue living in sin. The scriptures make that perfectly clear. So, he is not going to gift us with something that is going to give us permission to continue walking in the darkness (1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Jesus died on that cross to deliver us out of our slavery to sin, not to leave us still bound in our sin, living for sin and self, to our own glory, instead of to the glory of God. So, please know this. Any teaching which does not agree with the divine character and will of God, and which does not agree with the teachings under the New Covenant in the Bible, is not from God. So, test everything you hear. Don’t just buy into it because it looks biblical.
Is God’s grace to us a free license to continue living in sin without guilt and without punishment? No! His grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Titus 2:11-14).
So, know the truth, believe the truth, and live the truth. Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness, not just to forgive us our sins so we can go to heaven when we die (1 Pet. 2:24).
For one day, when Jesus returns, we are all going to reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction (decay). But, if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (See: Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 2:6-8; Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 5:3-6; Rom. 8:1-17).
He is Able to Deliver Thee
Hymn lyrics and Music by William A. Ogden, 1887
’Tis the grandest theme, let the tidings roll,
To the guilty heart, to the sinful soul;
Look to God in faith, He will make thee whole,
“Our God is able to deliver thee.”
He is able to deliver thee,
He is able to deliver thee;
Though by sin oppressed, go to Him for rest;
“Our God is able to deliver thee.”
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Note: That was only one illustration. So, there will probably be a part 2 and maybe a part 3 to this topic, as the Lord leads.