What does it mean to be Christian? Do you do enough good during the week to make up for missing Sunday? Do you list all the good things you do during the course of the day? Do you think you can work your way into Heaven? Do you show that you are a Christian because you drink the grape juice and eat the cracker at communion? Do you show off the scripture bracelets? Do you act Christian at church 100 percent of the time, but maybe not so much other places? Do people say to you, “I never thought you were Christian?” Do you know that Jesus died for you and the world because you can spout John 3:16 quicker than most auctioneers on a Saturday morning without giving thought to the words’ meaning?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, please hear the next set of words and listen to them. Jesus when speaking to the false teachers, the Pharisees, spoke in regard to their knowledge of God:
“You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” John 5:37-40
The Pharisees, like people today, simply could not believe on face value in faith alone that Jesus Christ is God’s Son, the Lord of all. Jesus flat tells them that they do not know God and that God’s Word, Jesus, according to John 1:1 does not live/dwell within them. Remember now that John 1:1 teaches that the Word was with God, the Word is God. The Word here is Christ. The reason the word does not dwell in them is as Christ said, “you do not believe the one he sent.”
So many people are too educated in liberal, secular views to accept the Gospel of Christ. Satan must love that despite hating all of us. We as a people have known the truth for years, and we still have people cursing His name, denying His authority, and dying without Him as Savior. Jesus said in 14:6 that the only way to God is through Him. If you are not with God for all eternity then where will you be? There should be a vacancy sign outside Hell for as many today that die without the Lord as their Savior.
Jesus continued by saying, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life.” The scriptures He refers to are the Old Testament laws and prophecies. “These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” Did you catch all that? The Old Testament prophesies the coming of the Lord from Genesis 3:15 onward. To be correct, when God made man He said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.” God isn’t bi-polar, okay. The pronoun us no doubt referred to himself and Christ. After the fall, Eve and Adam’s disobedience, God lays the smackdown on the serpent that is the devil, Satan in
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
Enmity by the way is ill will or hatred. So to paraphrase, there will be a great hatred, animosity, and ill will between you and the woman, the mother of mankind, some call her. Also there will be hate between your offspring and hers. If the serpent is Satan, then kiddos, we have a problem considering the offspring comment. Her offspring in a general sense if Eve is the mother of mankind refers to Christ. Makes you think about the clichéd saying, “son of Satan.” Anyway, I digress. The last line, “he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel" directly references the sacrifice of Christ.
Now back to John 5:40. Jesus finished by saying, “yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” All Gospel preaching, Christ centered, faith/salvation preachers will tell you the same thing: Despite all the differences of good and bad folks in the world, really there are only two types: It is not a particular race, skin tone, Jew or Gentile. It is easier. The two types are the saved and the lost. The saved are Christians who have a personal relationship with Christ and strive daily as He instructs to carry the cross daily. The lost are those living without the Lord. They may be church members, good moms and dads, have a great credit report, but still doomed to Hell forever unless they accept Christ for who He really is. How do you tell the difference between the two if not by the WWJD bracelets, crucifix necklaces, and Christian tee shirts? As always, look to the Lord’s Word in John 13:35:
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."Born again believers are new creations in Christ. The Holy Spirit, the third part of the Trinity, the Godhead dwells within us. We live according to His will. We love one as Christ loved us. If our outward actions do not reflect our inner change, then perhaps Christ is not as real to us as we thought.