Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Light and Dark

John 3:13-21

"No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."

The Book of John is amazing. It so shows us who Jesus is. It's a great read. John 3:16 is one of the most popular verses. That God so loved the world...He sent His Son to live among the sinners that He might make Himself known to them as the One who they must believe in to be saved. We love hearing about His love, don't we?

Jesus, the Light, lived among us who lived in darkness. A huge step down from the holiness of heaven into an evil world. If we are all sinners at birth, we live as evil beings, according to the Word.. We do. Only Jesus was perfect. That is why we need Him, to believe in Him, follow and obey Him...that our evil would be covered by His blood.

He came to earth to reveal Himself to man. Those who walked with Him, who were healed by Him, saw His miracles, saw Him go through an agonizing death and then saw Him once again alive, risen from His grave, have shared their testimonies with us that the Word would not be forgotten, that others would believe in Him also. Just because we weren't there doesn't mean it didn't happen. See how over the years many people have still believed and follow Him. He won't go away!

But there's that word again, believe. It seems to mean different things. It's a heart attitude, not a mental one. We cannot just know who Jesus is but we must have a heart knowledge of Him. We know Him and our lives change; we move away from that which He has said in His Word is evil...which is where we can get hung up. Who wants to believe they are evil?

In His own words Jesus claims those who do not believe are condemned. Sounds pretty harsh for a loving God, One who so loves the world. Many believe He is only love, that His judgment was only an Old Testament characteristic. But He does not change. He's the same today as He was then. It is we who must change.

So what does God claim is evil?

Proverbs 6 gives us a sampling of what He abhors: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren. Galatians 5 adds: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idol worship and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies. There are more...including teaching as doctrines the commandments of men (false preaching, teaching), Matthew 15.

If we say we know Jesus but continue to do evil, we don't know Him. All right, I can say I still struggle, like we all do, with some of those things above. We are not perfect. As long as we are on this earth we wrestle with our flesh. That's where this heartfelt belief in Him comes in. If we are in Christ, if we have given ourselves to Him, we are a new creation. Who can understand this fully? It's God's grace, that free gift He gives that we cannot work for. And we should not purposely sin after this new birth but when we catch ourselves, repent of it. Without that repentance we are guilty.

This is a hard teaching from our Lord. Some prefer not to know Him because they prefer their lifestyles, find it too difficult to let go of those things that are so all consuming. A lifestyle out of God's will is what He calls evil, darkness. The light (Jesus) is hated because of what it will expose. Seems we have so much to hide. But there is a freedom that also comes from letting go of what is considered evil by God.

Once we let go and are in God's will, understand His truth, what we do we know comes out of hearts wanting to do for God. Doing right is a lifelong process. He purges us that we might become more like Him. It's why we go through trials. There are always lessons to be learned.

Monday was the start of Passover. The Israelites were told to apply lamb's blood on the door posts of their houses to protect themselves from God's wrath as He went through Egypt killing all first born of each house. That is like what Jesus's blood applied to our hearts does for our safety. It comes in the form of a spiritual act of receiving, believing, following and obeying Jesus Christ. Amen!

1John 1:6-10 - If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

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