Abiding in Christ and Following Him

Whoever Follows Him
John 8:12 ESV

“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.’”

Jesus Christ is God and he is the only begotten Son of God. He left his throne in heaven, came to the earth, was born as a baby to a human mother, conceived of the Holy Spirit, and he lived on this earth as fully God and fully man, only without sin. While on the earth he fed the hungry, healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, gave sight to the blind, and he preached repentance (the forsaking of our sins) and love and obedience to our Lord as necessary components of believing faith which saves.

Jesus Christ did not teach that we could just acknowledge faith in him and thus we are now saved, done deal, and heaven is guaranteed us when we die regardless of how we live on this earth. He taught progressive salvation. He taught that we must walk in the light as he is in the light and that we must not walk in darkness or we don’t have eternal life in him. And he taught that we must die with him to sin daily and walk with him in obedience, for if we hold on to our lives of living in sin and for self we will lose them for eternity. But if we die with him to our old lives we will live.

For when Jesus said that he is the light of the world he was speaking of truth, righteousness, holiness, uprightness, moral purity, and the like. For he was absolutely perfect, without sin, and thus he could be the sacrifice for our sins once and for all. But the light is also a guide to lead us in the way that we should go, and so he was saying here that if we follow him in walking with him in the light (holiness and righteousness) and in obedience to him and to his ways, we will not walk in darkness (see Gal 5:16-21; 1 Jn 1:5-10), and darkness is sin. So, if we obey our Lord we won’t walk in sin.

And then we will have the light of life, which is life in Christ, which is eternal life in him, which is salvation from sin. For, you see, Jesus Christ and his New Testament apostles did not teach a one-time decision to believe in Jesus Christ, that it would save us from our sins for eternity regardless of how we live on this earth. Now they did not teach that we have to live in sinless perfection or we are not saved, but they all taught that we must walk (in conduct, in practice) in obedience to our Lord, in holiness and in righteousness, and not in sin, or we do not have eternal life with God.

[Isaiah 53:1-12; Matt 4:17; Matt 7:21-23; Matt 11:20-21; Matt 12:41; Matt 21:28-31; Matt 26:26-29; Mk 1:14-15; Lu 5:32; Lu 9:23-26; Lu 13:1-5; Lu 15:2-7; Lu 17:25; Lu 24:45-47; Jn 1:1-36; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 8:24-58; Jn 10:27-33; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:1-11; Jn 20:28-29; Rom 5:8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Rom 9:5; 1 Co 6:19-20; 1 Co 11:23-32; 1 Co 15:1-8; 2 Co 5:15,21; Eph 4:17-24; Php 2:5-11; Col 2:9; Tit 2:11-14; Heb 1:8-9; Heb 2:14-15; Heb 4:15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Pet 1:1]

Whoever Abides in Him
John 8:31-32 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.’”

Now, to abide in Christ is to live in him, and it is to continue in him, to walk in his ways and in his truth, to do what he says, to comply with him and to follow him and to keep (obey) his commandments (New Covenant). And it is to continue in this obeying and following him and sticking to the truths of his word and agreeing with him and accepting what he says we are to do and how we are to live and doing it. And the Scriptures teach that we must continue in this way until the very end in order to have eternal life with God.

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:31-32; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 8:24; Rom 11:17-24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; Gal 5:16-21; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 2 Tim 1:8-9; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6;24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10]

And Jesus said here that we must abide in his word if we are to be his disciples. And there is no division between believer and disciple. For if we truly believe in Jesus with God-given faith, as the Scriptures define belief, then we are his disciples. For belief in Jesus is not just an acknowledgement of what he did for us on that cross or a mere acceptance mentally or emotionally of the salvation he provided for us. Biblical faith in Jesus Christ is obedience and it involves daily dying with Christ to sin. And that is what it means to be a disciple. It means we follow him in obedience.

But as we read further on down in this passage we see that the Jews belief in Jesus was not genuine belief, for he ended up telling them that their father was not God the Father but their father was the devil. For if God was their Father they would love Jesus and to love Jesus is to obey him. For if we say that we love him but we don’t obey him, then we don’t love him and we don’t know him and one day we will hear him say, “I never knew you! Depart from me you workers of lawlessness!” (Matt 7:21-23)

So, don’t get caught up in the false gospel that many are teaching today which says you can “believe” (not defined) in Jesus, have your sins forgiven, and have heaven guaranteed you when you die regardless of how you live your lives on this earth. Yes, Jesus does not demand sinless perfection. But he does “draw a line in the sand” which says that if we walk (in conduct, in practice) according to our flesh, in sin, and if sin is our habit, and if righteousness, holiness, and obedience to our Lord are not our practice, we will not inherit eternal life with God regardless of what our lips profess.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:10; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Rom 12:1-2; Tit 2:11-14; Heb 5:9; 1 Pet 1:1-2; Jas 1:21-25; 1 Co 10:1-22; 2 Co 5:10; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 10:23-31; Php 2:12-13; Jn 10:27-30; Acts 5:32; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-11]

Make Me a Blessing

Ira Bishop Wilson / George Schuler

Out in the highways and byways of life,
Many are weary and sad;
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife,
Making the sorrowing glad.

Tell the sweet story of Christ and His love,
Tell of His pow’r to forgive;
Others will trust Him if only you prove
True, every moment you live.

Give as ’twas given to you in your need,
Love as the Master loved you;
Be to the helpless a helper indeed,
Unto your mission be true.

Make me a blessing, make me a blessing,
Out of my life may Jesus shine;
Make me a blessing, O Savior, I pray,
Make me a blessing to someone today.

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