Here’s some thoughts on a passage that I will be teaching soon.
Read John 5:18-30
Have you ever played the game two truths and a lie? I remember playing it in my youth group when I was in high school. It’s not a very good game for two reasons: 1) it sort of encourages people to lie, and 2), which is mostly the main reason, I’m not a very good liar so I never win because I pick the strangest things to lie about. In this passage though Jesus tells us two truths and no lies. In fact his honesty has deadly consequences if we don’t act on the two truths he shares. For Jesus’ original audience, the Jewish leaders, he was making a statement about his personal diety and a correction on their view of the law. First, Jesus claimed to be God. Second, the Jewish leaders’ application of God’s word (the OT) was messed up. Right understanding of God brings us into right relationship with God, which leads us to a righteous standing before him.
Truth #1: Right understanding of God 5:19-23
- Jesus is God: The fact is that Jesus made himself equal to the Father in verses 16-18. How would you have felt about Jesus claiming to be God if you lived in the same time period that he did? How many of you like the C.S. Lewis books famous the Chronicles of Narnia? C.S. Lewis said this about Jesus in his book Mere Christianity:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
Jesus can’t be good if he is lying because his whole claim of being God is what got him put on a cross- not his good works.
The second part of having a right understanding of God is accepting the Trinity. What this means is that the Bible clearly speaks of: God the Son, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit. But emphasizes that there is only ONE God.
The reason I bring this up is because Jesus said that he does everything and only what he sees the Father doing. This is because the Son reflects the Father and their relationship is bound in love. You know how in John 3 Jesus told Nicodemous that he needed to be born of water and of spirit? Well Jesus was literally born by a miracle of the Holy Spirit, to a virgin. He was brought into the world and lived by the power of the Holy Spirit. Remember in John 4 when Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman about how true worshippers will worship God in Spirit and in truth? Jesus had been worshipping God throughout his whole eternal and human existence. The Holy Spirit empowered Jesus for his ministry, miracles, and life-giving power. The reason for this is given in verses 22-23.
Truth #2: Right relationship with God
John 5:24-25 says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.”
There is eternal life and there is eternal death. There is eternal fellowship with God and there is eternal separation. There is eternal peace and there is eternal suffering. Being in the right relationship with God means choosing eternal life. It means choosing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. It means to follow and obey Jesus. It means to become a disciple. We want to make disciples by investing into your life, listening to your struggles and joys, and cheering you on. I heard Francis Chan say, “Live life like you believe in eternity.” We’ve got to acknowledge the reality that hell is real. Some people want to dismiss it. I have to be honest, hell is not a super exciting idea and I don’t enjoy talking about it but if I don’t acknowledge its reality by sharing the gospel with others- the whole gospel of Jesus, sin, salvation, sanctification, eternal life, and eternal death- then I am a liar and by my unwillingness to be entirely honest I could be sending people to hell because they reject an untrue gospel.
Side-ending side note:
The righteousness that I have from God is because when I committed my life to Christ, Jesus became my covering. Do you remember the book of Ruth? How Ruth asked Boaz to be her covering when she laid at his feet? That is exactly what we ask God to do when we ask Jesus into our lives. We ask him to forgive us and be our covering for all our sin- past, present, and future. If you understand that you are free from sin- Go and sin no more. If you understand that God is your covering- live in his grace and feel the freedom he gives you to live in obedience and serve him by the Holy Spirit residing in your heart. This week I would challenge you to begin to start every day with a prayer- God I surrender myself to you today and thank you for the hope that you’ve given me. I would even suggest repeating this prayer multiple times throughout the day when you feel discouraged, tempted to sin, or if you need to be reminded that your identity is in Christ. Right understanding and right relationship with God will bring you to live in the presence of God for a joyful, fully perfect, and eternally abundant life in heaven with Jesus and other people who have chosen to love God with their whole hearts and lives.