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.’”
You can believe Jesus in your flesh, but that is not the kind of faith which saves. You can acknowledge that he died on a cross for our sins and that God the Father raised him from the dead, and you can verbally confess him as Lord, but that doesn’t mean you truly believe in him with God-given faith or that you have salvation from sin and eternal life with God. For he is not Lord of your life unless he is Owner-Master of your life and you are now living in submission to him and to his will for your life, in practice.
For Jesus said that we must abide in (remain in, obey) his word (his teachings, his commands) for us truly to be his disciples (his followers). And we will know the truth that Jesus taught, and that his New Testament apostles taught. And that truth, if we obey it, it will set us free.
And Jesus summarized that truth in these words, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (see Luke 9:23-26). So, 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 Jesus we die with him to sin and we live to him and to his righteousness, then we will have eternal life in him (Romans 6:1-23; 1 Peter 2:24).
Some people are teaching today that all we have to do is make a one-time profession of faith in Jesus Christ and now all our sins are forgiven (past, present, and future), and heaven is guaranteed us as our eternal home when we die, regardless of how we live. But they have removed all of our Lord’s restraints and controls (the narrow way) and they have turned the gospel into the broad way that many follow to their destruction. And so we have to resist them and that teaching, and we have to follow Jesus.
For Jesus said that everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. And Jesus died to set us free from our slavery to sin. But if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin, then we do not have the promise or the hope of eternal life with God. So we cannot just make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and assume we are now good to go for eternity. We must die with Christ to sin daily (in practice) and walk in obedience to his commands and in walks of holiness and righteousness, or we do not have eternal life in him.
[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:23-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
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.’”
A lot of people will claim their church heritage or their baptisms or their church memberships or a mere profession of faith in Christ, which did not result in the crucified life, as the reason that God is going to let them into his heaven. But Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven. And many who professed his name are going to hear him say one day, “I never knew you. Depart from me you workers of lawlessness,” because they did not obey the Lord (Matthew 7:21-23).
But if we are genuinely saved from our sins, and if we are truly on our way to heaven, then we would be obeying our Lord in practice. We would be doing the works he prepared in advance that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10; cf. Titus 2:11-14). But if we are continuing in sin, making sin our practice, and if righteousness, holiness, and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, then we don’t know the Lord, and we are of the devil, not of God, and we are not born of God, and we do not have eternal life in him (1 John 1:5-10; 1 John 2:3-6; 1 John 3:4-10, etc.).
Now, we need to learn to discern truth from lies, for there are many liars out there disguising themselves as truth tellers who will try to convince you that the truth is the lie and that the lie is the truth, and so they will teach the opposite of what Jesus taught. They will tell you that you can just make a one-time profession of faith in Christ and now all your sins are forgiven and heaven is your eternal destiny, regardless of how you live. But the Scriptures teach death to sin and living to God and to his righteousness if we want salvation from sin and eternal life in him.
So, please be students of the Scriptures who read them in their context prayerfully and carefully, seeking God’s face for truth. And then be those who stand on and who live the truth and who do not give lip service only to God, which does not save. Be those who are dying daily to sin and to self and who are walking daily according to our Lord’s commands in holiness and in righteousness, in the power of God.
[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]
An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.