Wednesday, November 17, 2010

IF YOU HOLD TO MY TEACHING

IF YOU HOLD TO MY TEACHING
A. Brother
©2009 Narrowgate Publishing

          “To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to My teaching, you really are My disciples.  Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.’”  --John 8:3
          Notice the “if” and “then.”  In that order.  There is obedience required of us.  Holding to Jesus’ teaching is that obedience.  Then, when we are holding to His Word, which means obeying it, we will know the truth, and that truth will set us free.
          This verse is only now becoming clear to me, after hearing it my entire life.  It is often misquoted, or more accurately, underquoted.  The last portion is very popular—…”Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” 
          A great little “sound bite”!  Sounds easy!
          But the first portion is the hard part—the prerequisite to being set free—the prerequisite to even knowing the truth.
          That first portion is obedience.
          As evangelical Christians, we are taught that grace alone is all we need to be saved.  But obedience is required, because it is obedience that proves that we are saved by grace through faith.
          “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.”  --James 1:22
          “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom…” --James 2:12
          I hated the law all my life.  I hated being bossed around, being told what to do.  It was my great weakness, and nearly destroyed me.
          I was rebellious, thinking that God would overlook my disobedience and somehow help me know and live the Truth, without the disciplines of obedience.  A miraculous cure was always around the corner.
          But, I’ve since learned that God requires we obey, in order that we know the Truth and be set free.  He will give us the power to obey, but we must obey.  The discipline of obedience is a requirement of proving our saving faith.
          For instance—“if anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”  --James 1:26
          That means all my claims of following Christ are worthless if I don’t keep a tight rein on my tongue.  If I do all kinds of good things, but destroy others with my tongue, believing my good works outweigh and cover my other sins, I am deceived.
          “But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.”  --James 1:25
          It’s the perfect law called LOVE that never does harm, that only brings blessing.  Obedience and freedom are partners in Christ.  This is not legalism, and not following a set of rules, but spreading the LOVE OF CHRIST around.

          

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