Monday, March 14, 2016, 8:44 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “By Your Grace.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 8:12, 21-30 (ESV). The Light of the World (v. 12) 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.” We can’t walk in darkness and walk in the Light at the same time. That is like trying to go left and right at the same time. We can either go right, or we can go left, but we can’t do both at the same time. If we say we have fellowship with God, and that we are walking in the Light (his righteousness, holiness and truth), but we are still walking in darkness (sin, wickedness), then we are liars, and the truth is not in us (1 Jn. 1:6). If I had to pick out one verse in the Bible that summarizes the gospel of our salvation, I would pick 1 Pet. 2:24: He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. The purpose of Jesus’ death on a cross for our sins was not just to give us an escape from hell and the promise of heaven when we die. He died that we might be crucified with him in death to sin, and so we might be resurrected with him in newness of life. By God’s grace and through faith in Jesus Christ our old self is crucified with Christ so that the body of sin might be done away with, “that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” Sin shall not be our master. When we were slaves to sin, we were free from the control of righteousness. Now that we have been set free from sin, we have become slaves of righteousness (See: Ro. 6). Following Jesus with our lives means we know his voice, we listen to him, and we follow him in obedience to his will for our lives (Jn. 10:27-30). We go where he sends us, we do what he requires us to do, we say what he asks us to say, and we are who he wants us to be. When we follow someone, we obey him, plain and simple. We also go the direction he is going, not our own way. If we are doing our own thing, making our own plans, directing our own steps, and choosing how we will spend our time, then we are not following Jesus. If we are doing the opposite of what his word teaches us with regard to holy living, then we are not following Jesus with our lives. We are still walking in the flesh, and not in the Light. If we are following the Light, we will conduct our lives according to the Word of Truth, we will walk in the ways of the Lord, and we will no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world. We won’t watch garbage on TV, along with seductive ads. We won’t entertain ourselves with the sins of others by watching TV shows and movies which glorify sinful acts, and we won’t medicate ourselves with pornographic images, either, or flirt with people other than our spouses. We also won’t be gluttonous, or be those who practice gossip, lying, cheating, stealing, adultery, and the like. It doesn’t mean we will live in sinless perfection, yet lack of perfection should never be an excuse for continued willful sin against God. What it does mean is that our lifestyles will be ones which reflect lives given over to God in submission and in surrender to his will for our lives, and to walking in his ways. Not of This World (vv. 21-30) So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” As he was saying these things, many believed in him. When we are born into this world, we are born with sin natures, separate from God, without hope, and destined for eternity in hell. Because of sin, we come up short of attaining God’s divine approval of our lives. In our own flesh, we can do nothing, either, to win God’s approval or to earn our own salvation. So, God the Father sent his Son Jesus to the earth to take on human flesh, and to die on a cross for our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for us, “so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Co. 5:21). When he died, our sins died with him and were buried with him. When he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death. By God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, we can be delivered out of slavery to sin, have Christ’s righteousness credited to our accounts, and live and walk in holiness, empowered by the Spirit of God living within us. Yet, not everyone has faith. Not even everyone who professes the name of Jesus truly believes in him as Lord and as Savior of their lives. If we truly believe in him, we will follow (obey) him. We will walk in his light and no longer in the darkness. Our desire will be for him, to please him in all that we do and say. We, like Jesus, will not be of this world. We won’t think like the world thinks, or desire the same things it desires. Our hearts will be transformed by the Spirit of God away from living for sin and self, to God, to walking in his ways and in his truth. And, we will walk in holiness, i.e. we will be separate from (different, unlike) this sinful world, because we are becoming like Jesus. This is how it is supposed to be. This is what faith should look like, but not many have faith, or their faith is weak. Those who do not believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives, who have not been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and resurrected with Christ in newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness,” do not have eternal life with God. They will die in their sins. They will not go to heaven. Yet, James said that even the demons believe, and they shudder. Nonetheless, the demons do not have eternal life with God, because they rebelled against God and they went their own way, and they have no hope of salvation. So, their belief is not of faith, but of intellect and head knowledge only. So, true belief in Jesus is the kind that trusts him with our lives, that submits to his Lordship, that surrenders to his will, that repents of sin, and that chooses to walk in the light of his love and no longer in the darkness. Jesus told the Jews, basically, that when the time came when they would put him to death on a cross, they would then know that he was who he said he was. His crucifixion and his resurrection would be proof of his deity. Their eyes would be opened, although not everyone recognized him for who he is, and not all believed. The nation of Israel is still waiting for their Messiah, though some Jews have put their faith in Jesus. Yet, I believe that during a severe time of persecution of followers of Christ that many will come to faith in Jesus Christ and that the adulterous church will be revived, because their eyes will then be opened, and they will humble themselves before God in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. By Your Grace / An Original Work / June 27, 2011 Speak Your words to my heart, Let Your grace and love impart. Be to me all I need To love and serve Christ my King; To love and serve Christ my King. Change my heart; be like You; Let me love and serve in truth. Guide my steps ev’ry day, As I bow my knees and pray; As I bow my knees and pray. Love You, Lord. You love me. You died so that I’d go free From my sin; pure within; By Your grace I’m saved from sin; By Your grace I’m saved from sin. Invite You in my heart; Now I have a brand new start. Repented of my sin, So that I’d be cleansed within; So that I’d be cleansed within. Live for You ev’ry day, List’ning to the words you say. Make You Lord of my heart; Be Your witness, grace impart; Be Your witness, grace impart. Obey Your ev’ry word; Do the things I’ve seen and heard. Your word, Lord, in me burns, While I wait for Your return; While I wait for Your return.