Discerning Truth from Lies

John 8:31-38 ESV

“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.’ 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”?’

“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. 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.’”

As we read on further in this discussion between Jesus and the Jews who had “believed” him we soon realize that their belief in what Jesus said was not saving faith. It was a surface level belief to what Jesus was saying, but it was not trusting Jesus to be Lord and Savior of their lives. It was not accepting him as the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Messiah who was to come who they had been waiting for. And Jesus knew this, which is why he said what he said to them.

“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

To abide in Jesus and in his word is to remain, to continue, to stay, and to hold to him and to what his word teaches us we must do. But this is not an intellectual exercise. This is accepting and it is adopting Christ and his word into our lives and it is putting his word into practice, and it is keeping on in him and in his word in walks of obedience. It is to not be hearers only but to be doers of the word. His word must become a living reality in our lives. Then we are truly his disciples (his followers).

And the truth will set us free. How? So many people today are believing lies that are telling them that they don’t have to repent of their sins, and they don’t have to obey the Lord, and they don’t have to submit to Christ as Lord. They are being told that a mere profession of faith in Jesus is enough to ensure them salvation from sin and to secure them heaven when they die, regardless of how they live on this earth. But when we know the truth we will understand that we must die with Christ to sin and live to him and to his righteousness for us to be truly free from sin, and we must continue in this.

But the problem was that these Jews didn’t really see that they were slaves needing to be freed. And this is where many people are today, too. And this is where Jesus spoke plainly to them that whoever makes sin his practice is a slave to sin. So, even if you have professed faith in Jesus Christ, if you are still addicted to sin, still deliberately and habitually sinning against the Lord, you are not free. So you must die with Christ to sin, but not just once, but daily and continuously in obedience to the Lord until the very end of time.

For Jesus died on that cross to free us from our slavery (addiction) to sin so we will now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. He died 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 shed his blood for us to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we will now honor God with our bodies.

[Jas 1:21-25; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15,21; Lu 9:23-26; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 12:1-2]

John 8:39-47 ESV

“They answered him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did.’ They said to him, ‘We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.’ 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.’”

If we are truly the Lord’s followers it will be evidenced by what we do in submission and in surrender to him. Now, there are people who fake it, who make a pretense of righteousness, and who go through the motions of religious practice and who know how to talk the walk but they are not walking the walk. What they speak of is not a reality in their lives. So, we must not be too quick to accept someone as a true follower of Jesus without time for their faith to be tested to see if it is genuine faith. And this is not being judgmental. This is testing the spirits to see if they are of God.

Some people fake their Christianity in order to deceive others, and they are not really children of God but they are children of the devil doing the will of the devil and not God. So, again, we must be careful that we don’t easily believe someone who professes faith in Jesus Christ because we may end up believing lies instead of the truth. For we must realize that Satan’s servants masquerade as servants of righteousness and many people follow them blindly thinking they are following someone who tells the truth. They have the appearance of serving Christ while they are really serving the devil.

So, we must be careful who we listen to and we must test everything we hear or read against the truth of the Scriptures, in context, for not everyone is who he says he is. Liars and deceivers abound and they know how to twist the Scriptures to make them say what they do not say in order to lead many people astray. Also, don’t read things too quickly, for lies are usually disguised as truth and are a mixture of truth and lies blended together, so we can miss the lies if we read or listen too quickly and then accept what is said because it sounds good. So, be discerners of truth.

Under His Wings

By William Orcutt Cushing and Ira David Sankey

Under His wings I am safely abiding;
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him, I know He will keep me;
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.

Under His wings—what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blest.

Under His wings—oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me;
Resting in Jesus I’m safe evermore.

Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.

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