The First Step – Believe In Jesus
One of the core Christian beliefs is that you must have faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. True disciples of Jesus have this in common – they believe in Jesus.
The Truth Will Set You Free
In my last post we read that Jesus was addressing those who had believed Him when He said in John 8:31 (ESV),
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Let’s continue reading this passage. Verses 32-38,
“They answered him, ‘We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, “You will become free”?’
Jesus answered them,
‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.’”
Though His listeners believed what He’d been saying, His further teaching not only confused them, it made them angry and upset.
Descendants of Abraham
You see, they put great stock in being descendants of Abraham. Jesus didn’t consider genealogy the equivalent of spiritual insight and understanding. Their lineage did not exclude them from the truth we read in Romans 3:23, that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.
And though none of His listeners would likely have claimed to be sinless, they didn’t realize that sin makes one a slave. It binds us tighter and tighter—and we don’t even know it.
The Rich Young Man
We may even think of ourselves like the rich young man we read about in Matthew 19. He seemed sincere in his desire to learn what God required. When Jesus told him to obey the commandments, he was relieved. He felt he had done so.
But there is so much more to walking in obedience! In Matthew 19:21 (ESV),
“Jesus said to him, ‘If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’”
This is not what the young man wanted to hear. Verse 22 says,
“When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
Obviously, his possessions were more important to him than truly following Jesus. He walked away, still in bondage.
What Are We Relying On
We must be careful to honestly examine ourselves, to ask God what truly lies deep in our hearts and our minds.
Are we depending on our family’s long history of church-going and good works? Are we counting on our own acts of benevolence and charity? Do we imagine that as long as our good works outweigh our sin, we’ll be okay? Or are we counting on our wealth to give us meaning?
Even if we come to accept the fact that none of this is enough, it will only lead us to discouragement or a renewed effort to do better in our own strength.
And if Jesus only gave us the bad news, it would all seem incredibly futile. But He doesn’t. In the passage we read from John 8, He said, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Freedom from slavery to sin.
Freedom to rejoice in what Jesus has accomplished for us.
Freedom to share this wondrous discovery with others.
Will you walk in freedom today?
Steph Beth Nickel is eclectically interested and eclectically involved. In all she does, Steph seeks to nurture and inspire. She is currently working on the first book in a nonfiction series. Nurture and Inspire LOVE is a compilation of the first devotionals she wrote for HopeStreamRadio.
Steph is a freelance writer and editor. She is the coauthor of Paralympian Deb Willows’ award-winning memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, published by Castle Quay Books. Deb and Steph are working on a follow-up book.
You can visit her website, stephbethnickel.com, to learn more about her.
Visit Steph’s contributor’s page or at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests.