Saturday, December 31, 2011

John 8 31 to 40

31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
33 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
37 I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.
38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.

Key Observation:
Freedom is only possible through knowing Jesus as Savior.

If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples indeed. So begins this passage. One of the more difficult things for me to understand is perseverance. I understand the concept nicely: “He that has begun a good work in you will continue it until the day of Jesus Christ.” And: “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and he that comes to me I will in no wise cast out.” Conceptually, doctrinally I have not a problem one with the doctrine.

But it is in the practice, or the experience of what I see that the difficulties arise. For I am mindful also of the verse that says, “they went out from us because they were really not of us.” When does one leave off and the other begin? Of course I cannot look inside the heart and perceive the heart of man, so there are many times when I find myself wondering which is it, and how do I tell? I have personally given the gospel to people, watched them grow, but then also watched them fall away. There is a doctrine out there that says God will always bring them back, but that is frankly more than I can see, either from Scripture or from experience. This is not saying that I have not seen God bring many back, rather it is the few that He hasn’t that I find confusing. There are times when I just do not know.

I am thinking of two verses which seem somewhat oppositional: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. (2 Tim.) I realize that Paul was speaking of two different circumstances here. He was obviously speaking to two different thoughts here. The first I take to be a quote from one of the gospels, the words of the Lord, that if we continue to deny him, he will also deny us before the Father, and thus we would be lost. The second is a bit of a conundrum. Matthew Henry confuses the issue by quoting a verse way out of context, a verse I believe written specifically for Christians about the wrath, or tribulation of God. “The elect are designed to obtain salvation: God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation.”

I can see the interpretation of this verse in two ways: 1) First, Paul seems to be talking about enduring hardships, and perhaps he then means that those of us that fall to the side out of grieving over hardship, will find God faithful, for He cannot deny himself. 2) Second, Paul could be talking about belief unto salvation, and God, remaining faithful to His word, will not deny Himself and will bring judgment.

Of the two, I am inclined to say the first is more likely correct. In our history, there are many saints that have remained faithful to the end, but there are also saints who gave in to pressure or torture, and could not find the strength to endure hardship. With this interpretation, what a comfort to know God expects not perfection from us, and is faithful anyway.

Whosover commits sin is the servant of sin. I understand the depravity of man to mean that I am lost totally from God, unable to even understand righteousness, and have nothing of mine that can stand before Him. Many times I have heard others say that God will weigh their works, and perhaps He will fudge a bit, but somehow they will come out alright and be allowed into heaven. This is absolutely against what the Bible teaches. There are none righteous, no not one, teaches Paul in Romans. All come short of the glory of God. If I am depending on my own works to get into heaven, as the young folks say, “It ain’t happinin”.
But I can depend on the works of God. Jesus was the propitiation for my sins, and not for mine only, but for those of the whole world. By simply believing Jesus, and in what He accomplished for the world, I can be cleaned, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8,9) I take not the balance scale to heaven; instead I take the cross, and the resurrection which happened afterwards. If God should ask me one day, “ Why should I let you into my heaven?”, my only reply will be, “Because your Son died for my sins”. It is the only way I will ever find justification before God, and the fool who depends on the balance scale of good and bad to present to God is dooming himself to judgment.

He Is Able to Deliver Thee

1. 'Tis the grandest theme through the ages rung;
'Tis the grandest theme for mortal tongue;
'Tis the grandest theme that the would e'er sung,
"Our God is able to deliver thee."

2. 'Tis the grandest theme in the earth or main;
'Tis the grandest theme for a mortal strain;
'Tis the grandest theme, tell the world again,
"Our God is able to deliver thee."

3. 'Tis the grandest theme, let the tidings roll
To the guilty heart, to the sinful soul;
Look to God in faith, He will make thee whole;
"Our God is able to deliver thee."

He is able to deliver thee,
He is able to deliver thee;
Though by sin oppressed,
Go to Him for rest;
"Our God is able to deliver thee."

Lyrics: William Augustine Ogden

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