You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
It is interesting to me that my two different series (I Am & Armor of God) have seemingly converged. Yesterday it was pressed on my heart to finish the Armor Series (Sword of the Spirit) with the final verse speaking about restorative powers of the Bible and God’s Word that is alive and speaks to us but with a warning that intellectual knowledge of the word alone will do nothing for us.
In resuming the Who I Am Series this morning, I am led to John 5:31-40 which is almost a continuation of the thought that the Word of God is powerful but not a replacement for Jesus Himself.
It feels as if it is a warning to us all that says don’t get lost in the religiousness of religion, don’t take one single source of the Armor of God and stand-alone on that, not even the bible, but instead make sure and embrace the relationship with Christ Jesus and get our own house in order.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
First and foremost one must come the belief that Jesus was who He said He was and did what is said He did.
For me, I know that to be true in my own walk. For nearly a decade as I became aware of my addictions that were overtaking me and my depression and even suicidal thoughts started to scare me I began to beg God to heal me. I do believe there were many people and seeds being planted in my life along those years but nothing ever seemed to change and my depression and spiraling toward more deathly behaviors continued to escalate.
Then one morning (January 3rd, 2011) I dropped to my knees and cried out SPECIFICALLY to Jesus. I was honest and said I didn’t understand the bible, I didn’t understand God and creation, but that I BELIEVED that JESUS died and rose again and in that I am forgiven and promised a new life IN HIM.
From that exact moment in time I have not had another drink or drug and have been on an insatiable journey to know more of and become more like my Savior Jesus Christ. That isn’t what I prayed for, but it is what has happened supernaturally.
John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
To know we believe the Words of Christ Jesus in our own life at the heart level is to have assurance of salvation and we and others will bear witnesses to our heart change. It is impossible that Christ through the Holy Spirit indwells a person but their life doesn’t look any different, their words remain the same, their selfish pursuit of personal gains and backstabbing, jealousy, lusts and idolatry and other sins like these remain unchanged.
Many times we may not even recognize the changes in our own lives that are positively affecting those around us, but God will bless us with feedback on occasion that can seem surprising.
A coworker at my office just the other day ran into his brother who used to work at our office years ago. Somehow I came up in conversation as my friend mentioned that I had become a Christian. His brother said “that guy?!?! He used to surf porn and drink allot”. They apparently spoke of God and the changes He has done in my life.
After he shared that with me I got home that night and wept over the goodness of God, that he could take a broken and dying person such as myself, give me new life and purpose and passion and power to share the Gospel from my own personal experience of moving from darkness to light and to have that affect people even when I’m not present. That is truly a miracle of biblical proportion and not of my doing.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Belief in Jesus Christ as our Savior who died and rose for our sins is ground zero, that is where Saving Grace can truly take hold of a wicked heart and begin to remold it anew.
It is not an overnight get-rich-quick scheme, but the journey of Sanctification begins the minute we deeply in our hearts between us and Jesus tangibly cross over from doubt to belief, from fear to faith, from rebellion to relationship.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures
Father God, the price paid for my life weighs on my heart this morning. What began this morning as a meditation and rejoicing in the Salvationary victory that alone is yours led me to the overwhelming awareness of the suffering on Calvary that You alone suffered for us all, for me. That while we were still sinners you died for us and rose again. The miracle of resurrected life is by God alone and to partake in that saving grace is overwhelming Father. To this day my heart aches at how short I come to the glory of your freely given gift and my heart hungers and thirsts to remain steadfast on this journey of redemption. Continue to fill my heart with both the joy and pain of what You have done for us Father, that I may each day become more willing to pour my life out in hands-on life giving service to love my church, my family & friends and the stranger in need, for ALL are my neighbor Lord. Let me not overlook a single soul that You died for, may all we be filled with an urgency that cries out to lead others to You through love, not judgment, for we all fall short of Your glory Lord and it is only Your Saving Grace that brings life and hope and peace and joy. Thank you Father God for Your life which gave me mine. In Your Precious Name I pray King Jesus…