Manspeak


Abiding in Christ: Part 3 by Jonathan Oldacre
February 19, 2007, 12:37 pm
Filed under: Devotions

by Jonathan Oldacre

God is good to us. Really good. And His commandments are not burdensome; they’re freeing. In Piper’s book “What Jesus Demands from the World,” he likens God’s commands to telling someone to leap to safety from a burning building. We live in a dangerous world that’s crashing down around us every single day due to the destructive power and influence of sin, and Jesus Christ beckons us to flee from destruction to the sure shelter of His truth. Christ’s truth is powerful and freeing!

Listen to John 8:31-32: “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Dr. Piper says that “the result of abiding in Jesus’ word is being set free. From what? From sin. That’s the slavery Jesus has in mind, as John 8:34 shows: ‘Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.’ So freedom from sin is the fruit of abiding in the word. ‘If you abide in my word…the truth will set you free.’ Not sinning is the fruit, not the definition, of abiding in the word.”

Notice something very important here. Jesus is talking about two kinds of ‘setting free.’ First, God frees us from sin’s bondage by regenerating our hearts and causing us to trust in Christ for salvation. Second, God gradually conforms us to the image of Christ; that’s sanctification.

You don’t become a disciple of Christ by abiding in His word. Abiding in His word is a fruit, or an evidence, that you are His disciple. Salvation is in Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone. You don’t earn a right standing with God by reading the Bible, you don’t contribute to your salvation, you just receive it. But when we talk about the fruit of your justification before God, abiding in His word is a healthy sign that you’ve indeed been born again! Do you love His word? That can be an evidence that you’ve been born again; isn’t that encouraging?

Related to this, there is a day-by-day abiding in Christ’s word (reading Scripture, meditating on it, praying it back to God) that gradually weakens the influence of sin in our lives. Sin’s neck has been broken by Christ’s death on the cross, but it still lives crippled in the hearts of men. With its captain crushed, it’s armies scattered, it wages guerilla warfare on our souls. So daily we must drive nail after nail into it’s coffin, smothering it until the day we see Christ face to face in glory!

Men, let’s abide in Christ’s word today so that our flesh will be smothered and our passion for the Savior will grow strong!

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