Monday, March 14, 2016

Jesus said ~ Follow Me

Jesus said "follow me" for “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" ~ John 14:6. What did Jesus mean? He did not mean for anyone to become 'religious' about it, that is not the way, for that is work. We know this based on the life Jesus led. For He was not religious about being Jewish; Christ was about being right with God.  Jesus did many things in His times that were considered anti-religious acts by the Pharisees. Jesus healed on the Sabbath, He turned the tables in the temple ... a couple of many examples.

How can we follow Jesus? When we read in Luke 18:11 about the publican 'tax collector' and the Pharisee who was religious we learn that Jesus saw the publican as more worthy than the religious man. Again, how can we follow? When reading James in the New Testament, we learn the difference between hearers and doers. Jesus asked us to be doers of the Word; yet He was not asking us to be religious about the Word for those people are only hearers and they delude themselves... If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world" ~ James 1:22-26.

It is clear what is meant about visiting orphans and widows but how can we keep ourselves unstained by the world without being religious? People used to think and many still do that by being religious we can keep ourselves unstained by the world. Yet, Christ asked us not to be religious. How then to keep oneself for keep oneself unstained by the world?

When Paul was in Athens, he met with the Gentiles. Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'To an Unknown God.' Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might reach out 'grope' for Him and find Him, though he is not far from each one of us: for in Him we live and move and have our being" ~ Acts 17: 22-28.

OK, but then upon reading Romans 3:10, we learn that no one seeks for God. How is it then possible that we can reach out as we read in Acts 17? It is not possible on our own. We cannot. No one turns to God or reaches out to Him on his/her own. For there is none who seeks after/for God ~ Romans 3. It is the Lord God who calls. Why? Because it is only Him that is faithful and true. "God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" ~ 1 Peter 5:10. "For He is Lord of lords and King of kings--and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers" ~ Rev. 17:14. Being called, one listens as a hearer, being chosen one accepts the Word of God and in being faithful to it becomes a doer.

Even in this, we know that "...many are called, but few are chosen" ~ Matthew 22:14. This means that some people will not hear though He draws near to them, so they will not be chosen in not drawing near to Him (as in seeking - groping for Him in return) and thus they will not follow...Only, "He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them" ~ Hebrews 7:25. In this way, going to Him we are kept unstained by the world.  Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" ~ John 14:6. Taste and see that the Lord is good! ~ Psalm 34:8. 

Believing is work, trying to hear the call is work, yet following the call is not. "Taste and see that the Lord is good" this is the faith that we are called to. Through Him Jesus Christ, we turn to God already knowing we are called, already knowing we are chosen and forgiven of sin... Jesus came for the sinner. His sacrifice on the cross is our gift of salvation!

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