So Walk Ye in Him

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, – Colossians 2:6

If we have received Christ himself in our inmost hearts, our new life will manifest its intimate acquaintance with him by a walk of faith in him. Walking implies action. Our religion is not to be confined to our closet; we must carry out into practical effect that which we believe. If a man walks in Christ, then he so acts as Christ would act; for Christ being in him, his hope, his love, his joy, his life, he is the reflex of the image of Jesus; and men say of that man, “He is like his Master; he lives like Jesus Christ.” Walking signifies progress. “So walk ye in him”; proceed from grace to grace, run forward until you reach the uttermost degree of knowledge that a man can attain concerning our Beloved. Walking implies continuance. There must be a perpetual abiding in Christ. How many Christians think that in the morning and evening they ought to come into the company of Jesus, and may then give their hearts to the world all the day: but this is poor living; we should always be with him, treading in his steps and doing his will. Walking also implies habit. When we speak of a man’s walk and conversation, we mean his habits, the constant tenor of his life. Now, if we sometimes enjoy Christ, and then forget him; sometimes call him ours, and anon lose our hold, that is not a habit; we do not walk in him. We must keep to him, cling to him, never let him go, but live and have our being in him. “As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him”; persevere in the same way in which ye have begun, and, as at the first Christ Jesus was the trust of your faith, the source of your life, the principle of your action, and the joy of your spirit, so let him be the same till life’s end; the same when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and enter into the joy and the rest which remain for the people of God. O Holy Spirit, enable us to obey this heavenly precept.

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A Good Ending

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. – Revelation 22:1-5

As the lights dimmed and we prepared to watch Apollo 13, my friend said under his breath, “Shame they all died.” I watched the movie about the 1970 spaceflight with apprehension, waiting for tragedy to strike, and only near the closing credits did I realize I’d been duped. I hadn’t known or remembered the end of the true story—that although the astronauts faced many hardships, they made it home alive.

In Christ, we can know the end of the story—that we too will make it home alive. By that I mean we will live forever with our heavenly Father, as we see in the book of Revelation. The Lord will create a “new heaven and a new earth” as He makes all things new (21:1, 5). In the new city, the Lord God will welcome His people to live with Him, without fear and without the night. We have hope in knowing the end of the story.

What difference does this make? It can transform times of extreme difficulty, such as when people face the loss of a loved one or even their own death. Though we recoil at the thought of dying, yet we can embrace the joy of the promise of eternity. We long for the city where no longer will there be any curse, where we’ll live forever by God’s light (22:5).

Lord Jesus Christ, give me unfailing hope, that I might rest in Your promises and welcome Your life eternal.

Turn On the Love Light

16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. – 1 John 4:16-21

KENDALL AITENDS a large Bible study group nearly every week, but most people around him don’t even know he is there. He always sits by himself and heads for the door as soon as everyone says “Amen” to the closing prayer.

One of the group leaders, Dale, noticed Kendall and decided to befriend him. For several weeks, Dale sought out Kendall after Bible study just to say hello. Eventually Dale convinced Kendall to meet him for lunch. After a couple of get-togethers, Kend­all began to open up. “No way can God love me,” Kendall said one day. “He just puts up with me because I’ve accepted Christ as my Savior. But God will never love me as his child. I’m just lucky to be saved.”

Dale wisely didn’t counter Kendall’s confession by ramming Scripture verses about God’s love down his throat. Instead he gently asked about Kendall’s back­ground. He learned that Kendall had grown up in a non-Christian home with a stem father who was quick to discipline him. He couldn’t recall that his father ever hugged him or held him or said, “I love you.”

So why do people like Kendall fail to see themselves as people unconditionally loved by God? Their sense of belonging is diminished when they don’t sense love from God or others. Since they aren’t loved by the people from whom they most need love, they often conclude they are unlovable. It’s difficult to believe that God can love us if our need for human love has gone unmet.

As long as Kendall kept his distance from others, he wasn’t reminded of his unlovableness. Was Kendall unlovable? No way! His inner self-portrait was wrong. He needed more of the light of Christ, God’s Word, and God’s people to begin reveal­ing who he was.

Dale met with Kendall for a few months. Eventually he convinced Kendall to join a small group. In the group Kendall experienced the love and care of eight other students. As his new friends met his long-ignored need for love, Kendall’s idea of his identity was transformed. As he began to experience love through the care of his friends, he began to see his lovableness to God more clearly.

If you shy away from God and people because you can’t believe they could ever love you, you need more light on who you really are. Stop pulling away. Instead, draw close to people who love you and let the light of their love illuminate the true picture of who you are.

REFLECT: Have you made it a habit to hide from people because you can’t trust their Love? How can you let people into your Life?

PRAY: Tell God about the hurts that cause you to block people out at times.

How Not to Pursue God

“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth.” (Isaiah 58:13-14)

It is possible to pursue God without glorifying God. If we want our quest to honor God, we must pursue him for the joy in fellowship with Him.

Consider the Sabbath as an illustration of this. The Lord rebukes his people for seeking “their own” pleasure on his holy day. But what does he mean? He means they are delighting in their business and not in the beauty of their God.

He does not rebuke their hedonism. He rebukes the weakness of it. They have settled for secular interests and thus honor them above the Lord.

Notice that calling the Sabbath “a delight” is parallel to calling the holy day of the Lord “honorable.” This simply means you honor what you delight in. Or you glorify what you enjoy.

The enjoyment and the glorification of God are one. His eternal purpose and our eternal pleasure unite.

Jesus the Bread of Life

“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.” – John 6:35-36

The crowd was looking for a meal and focused only on their own temporal needs.  Jesus rebuked them in verse 26 saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.”  Kostenberger notes, “…Jesus discerns people’s true motives.  This, too, proves he is the Son of God.”[1]

Jesus points men to himself as the ultimate satisfaction of their needs both physical and spiritual.  Jesus is greater than a mere magician able to multiply loaves and fishes.  Jesus is the prophet greater than even Moses (Hebrews 3:3) who the crowds are thinking about regarding the manna in the wilderness (vs. 30).  Jesus then explains that true bread coming down from heaven is one that “gives life to the world” (vs. 33).  The crowd responds enthusiastically, “Sir, give us this bread always.” (vs. 35)  They want the bread, but Jesus gives them something they were not quite expecting.

Jesus declares himself to be the Bread of Life.  Ridderbos notes in response to the questioning he is receiving, he points not to what he can do but to who he is.  Yes, men need bread but need more than physical bread, life-giving bread.  He notes, “He not only grants that bread but is that bread.”[2]  The true bread coming down from heaven having been sent from the Father is Jesus the Son, not manna or physical food.  What mean need is not just fulfillment on physical and spiritual levels, they need Jesus in particular.  They need the one sent down from heaven by the Father to give life to all.  This is John 3:16 in edible form.

Jesus not only declares himself to be the Bread of Life, he then adds, “whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”  The bread this crowd received the previous day had already been digested.  It was gone and more was needed.  The Bread of Life, however, leaves people without the need for more.

The Bread of Life is sufficient, eternally sufficient.  Partakers of this bread, those who come to Jesus in belief, will never be hungry or thirst ever again.  Why?  According to Rogers and Rogers, it is “the bread that give life; that is, everlasting life.”[3]  The life given by this Bread is not because of coming or the believing in and of themselves, but is the result of the power of the Bread.  To put it a different way, the life given by Jesus is everlasting because Jesus is everlasting.  From a human perspective, the act of belief is a necessary component of salvation, but it is not the strength of this belief or the method of one’s coming that results in everlasting life.

The Bread of Life is the satisfaction, thus those who do not taste of this bread cannot benefit from it.   Michaels confirms that these promises “are not to those whom he is speaking.”[4] Verse 36 says, “But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.”  The crowd is looking at Jesus and asking for bread.  They have not comprehended the fact that he indeed is the bread himself.  They look to Jesus to give them something outside of himself to satisfy their needs.  Based upon the fact that they follow him demonstrates their belief that Jesus can provide physical needs but they have failed to believe that Jesus Himself is their need.  Kruse notes, “Those who come to Jesus, i.e. those who believe in him, are brought into relationship with God…”  So this crowd is seeking for the benefits of a relationship without the relationship.  The conclusion one may draw then is there are some followers of Jesus who are not genuine in their belief and thus have no salvation which can be lost.

[1] Andreas J. Köstenberger, Encountering John: the Gospel in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective (Encountering Biblical Studies), 2 ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), 1.

[2] Herman Ridderbos, The Gospel of John: a Theological Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 229.

[3] Cleon L. Rogers and Jr. & Cleon L. Rogers III, The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 197.
[4] J. Ramsey Michaels, The Gospel of John (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2010), 375.