Not of Our Own Will

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.”

“The Word” (Logos) is identified for us beginning in verse 29 through verse 34. The Word is Jesus Christ. He is both God and the only begotten Son of God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And he is our creator God. So Jesus Christ is the one who gave us both our physical lives and our spiritual lives (for those who are believing in him).

What is light? It is Jesus Christ, it is God, it is truth, it is the gospel, it is righteousness and holiness and godliness. It is moral purity and honesty and faithfulness and love and all that is of God and of his heavenly kingdom. And it is God persuading us as to his righteousness and holiness, and of our sinfulness, and of our need to repent of (to turn from) our sins to follow him in obedience to his commands (New Covenant).

And this light shines in the darkness and darkness is sin, so it puts its finger on our sin and convicts of sin and convinces of our need of salvation, and of our need of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and of our need to turn from our sins and to obey our Lord so that we can have the light of Christ in our lives, and so that we can have eternal life with God. And sin has not overcome that light – praise God! And spiritual darkness has also not comprehended (understood) the light, for they are opposed to each other.

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.”

Again, this is speaking about Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God who is also God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Although he was God, and he was in heaven with God the Father, he left his throne in heaven, and he emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men to a human mother, conceived of the Holy Spirit. So when he walked this earth he was fully God and fully human. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-11).

Now Jesus had at least 3 years of ministry on the earth prior to his death. In those 3 years he fed the hungry, cast demons out of people, raised the dead, performed all sorts of miracles, healed the sick and afflicted, and preached repentance for forgiveness of sins and salvation and eternal life with God. And many people were offended by his teachings, and many deserted him because his teachings were too hard. But he did have his disciples and some others who were also following him.

Now probably most of the rulers in the temple and the Sadducees and Pharisees, et al, were opposed to Jesus. They found him offensive, and they didn’t like it that he was healing people and that he had crowds of people following him, at least for a time. For they were jealous of him and they were threatened by him and by his temporary popularity among the people, fearing that their own positions of power might be at risk.

But they also didn’t like his teachings and the things he said to them about their hypocrisy, and how he confronted them with their sins. And they especially did not like it that he claimed to be God. Yet, these were very learned people in the Scriptures (Old Testament), and they had studied much about the promised seed of Abraham, the Messiah that was to come. So they should have known it was him, but they were blinded to it, perhaps because of their own hypocrisy and their jealousy. Their sins blinded them.

All Who Receive Him

But not everyone rejected Jesus Christ. There was a small number of followers who did receive him. And to “receive” Jesus is not just words that we say or a mere acknowledgment of who he is and what he did for us. The word means to “actively lay hold of by aggressively (actively) accepting what is available and offered” (source: biblehub.com).

And receiving Jesus Christ is receiving him wholly for who he is and for what he teaches and for his divine character and will for our lives. And he said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self, we will lose them for eternity. But if for the sake of the name of Jesus we are crucified with him in death to sin so that we can now walk in obedience to his commands, we have eternal life (see Luke 9:23-26; cf. Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Eph 4:17-24).

So, to receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord is to die with him to sin, not just once, but daily, and it is to walk in obedience to his commands (New Covenant). For when we receive Jesus Christ, in truth and righteousness, he gives us the right to become spiritual children of God who were born of God not of our own human flesh and not of our own human will, but of God. So, our faith to believe in Jesus is not of ourselves, not of our own doing, so we can’t make up in our own minds what that faith looks like.

Now Jesus Christ is the author and perfecter of that faith, and so that faith is going to align with God’s holy character and with the teachings of the Scriptures (in context), so it is going to involve us dying to sin daily and us walking in obedience to our Lord, and us not making sin our practice. For this faith is of God, not of our own doing. And faith means to be persuaded of God as to his holiness and righteousness, and of our sinfulness, and of our need to turn away from our sins (repent) and to obey our Lord in practice.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

The Kingdoms of Earth Pass Away

Lyrics by Henry R. Trickett, 1887
Music by James H. Fillmore, 1887

The kingdoms of earth pass away one by one,
But the kingdom of heaven remains;
It is built on a rock and the Lord is its King,
And forever and ever He reigns.

The tempest may rage and its anger acclaim,
Yea, the wind and the torrents may roar,
And the strong gates of hell may assail it in vain,
Still the kingdom shall stand ever more.

The kingdom of God is now open to all,
E’en the vilest may now enter in;
There’s a welcome for all who will turn to the Lord,
Full salvation and pardon for sin.

It shall stand, It shall stand,
Forever and ever and ever,
It shall stand, It shall stand,
Forever and ever. Amen and Amen.

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