In the Beginning
John 1:1-5 ESV
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
If you read the whole 1st chapter of John, further on down in the chapter it is revealed for us that “the Word” is Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is the Living Word. And even though he died on a cross for our sins, he didn’t remain dead. He was resurrected by God from the grave, and then he ascended back to heaven, so he is still the Living Word of God.
Jesus Christ is our creator God. If you read the book of Genesis and the story of creation, you will notice that God sometimes referred to himself as “we” or “our”. So, from the very beginning we are told that God, although he is One God, is more than one person. And as you read the Scriptures in context, and you begin to learn what they teach, you will see how many times Jesus is referred to as God, and as our creator God.
Jesus Christ is not only the giver of natural life, but he is the giver of supernatural life, which is life in him, and it is life in the Spirit of God. For, he died for us on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. And he died so that we might be delivered from our slavery to sin and become slaves of his righteousness.
[1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15,21; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24]
The True Light
John 1:9-13 ESV
“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.”
What is Light?
Light helps us to see things clearly. Light illuminates. Light reveals. Light is also opposite of darkness, and darkness isn’t just physical but it is spiritual, i.e. it is evil, wickedness, dishonesty, and immorality, etc. So, since light is the opposite of darkness, light is righteousness, it is moral purity, it is truth, it is holiness, it is godliness, and it comes from God for God is Light. So, light helps us to see with Spiritual eyes what God sees.
The Jews were taught about the Messiah, the Christ who was to come, so they were waiting for and they were anticipating that one day he would arrive. But when he did arrive, and he was Jesus, many (or most) did not recognize him as such. Thus, they also did not receive him as their Messiah. They did not embrace him and follow and give their allegiance to him as their Messiah who was to come to be their Savior. Most rejected him.
Now, to “receive” Christ is not just words we repeat after someone else in a prayer after which we are congratulated that we are now part of God’s family and that heaven is secured for us when we die, and that nothing can take that away from us. First off, we are not God, so we can’t say for certain if another person actually received Christ as Savior or not. That is the job of the Holy Spirit to reveal that to that person and for him to say so, if true.
Secondly, words spoken, or confessions made are not enough for us to be saved from our sins, to be in relationship with God, and for us to have the hope of heaven when we die. For receiving Jesus is more than words. It is taking hold of him as our own, and it is accepting him into our lives, not just as one who died to free us from the punishment of sin, but as one who died to free us from our slavery to sin and to empower us to live holy lives.
If someone gives you a gift of a new car, and they hand you the keys to the car, and you take possession of it, the whole car is yours – the body, the engine, the interior, the steering wheel, and the brakes, etc. And you accept responsibility for it, too, for the maintenance of it, for the upkeep of it, so that it remains in good shape, and so that it lasts you a lifetime. And if you fail to maintain it, it will eventually die on you and it will be no good.
So, it is with receiving Jesus and his free gift of salvation from sin. We don’t get to pick and choose which parts to receive. He is one package, and we either accept the whole package or we don’t really receive him. Now, we don’t maintain him, but we must maintain our relationship with him. There is upkeep involved. And we must use the vehicle we have been given and not just let it sit in the driveway unused, for then what good is it to us?
Now, this may not be a perfect illustration, but so many people think that receiving Jesus is just inviting him into their hearts so that one day when they die that they can get to go to heaven. And if that is the way you treat your vehicle, and you let it sit in the driveway for many years unattended to, and you are trusting that in 20 to 50 years that it is going to take you where you want to go, chances are pretty good that it will be inoperable by then.
So, receiving Jesus is not just motions we go through or words we say or some religious performance. Receiving him is all of him – all that he is and is about and all that he taught, and all that the Spirit teaches us, and all his commands and demands, and his holiness and righteousness, etc. And it is putting all that he is and all that he taught and all that he commands of us in practice in our daily lives, but in his power, not in our own strength.
For, when we believe in Jesus, we are born of God of the will of God, not of the will of man. So, don’t let men (or women) tell you what that should look like. Let God tell you what that should look like, and he did tell us. It is written down for us all throughout the Scriptures, but we have to read them, and we have to read them in context so that we know what they say. It is a lot like reading the owner’s manual of an automobile, though not exactly.
So, in a nutshell, if our receiving of Jesus is of God, and of the will of God, and not of the will of man, then we will die with Christ to sin, and we will live with Christ to his righteousness. We will put away all filth, and all sin, and all immorality and lies and hate, etc. and we will humbly accept all that is taught us under the New Covenant so that it may save our souls (James 1:21). And we will walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit, and we will no longer walk (in practice) according to the flesh (Romans 8).
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]
Give Me Jesus
Oh, What Gladness!
An Original Work / December 2, 2013
Give me Jesus. He’s my Savior.
I’ll walk with Him in His favor.
I’ll abide in His love always;
Follow His ways to the end.
Jesus is the Son of God.
He died upon a cruel cross.
He’s forgiven all my failures
By His mercy and His love.
Give me Jesus – His compassion,
And His mercy; loving kindness.
Let Him teach me how to love Him,
And to please Him. He’s my friend.
Jesus died for all our sin
So we could have eternal life.
He will free you from your bondage
If you trust Him with your life.
Give me Jesus. Let me trust Him.
May I listen to His teachings.
May I follow where He leads me
In His service. He’s my Lord.
Jesus Christ will come again
To take His bride to be with Him.
Oh, what gladness; free from sadness
When I meet Him in the air.