by Mike Ratliff
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2 ESV)
The growing apostasy in the Church in our time is actually the culmination of decades of poor, man-centered doctrine within our churches and ministries coupled with relentless assaults of liberalism by unbelieving believers bent on remaking Christianity into a politically correct social institution. Those people behind this see Christianity as just another religion.
Since these people have the appearance of godliness, but deny its power, their motives for this could not be to partake of what they are denying, therefore, we must assume that they see the fulfillment of their spiritual journey elsewhere. They refuse to say that Jesus is Lord in the context that we mean it.
They may call Him Lord, but they are referring to another Jesus of their own making who is totally lined up with their spiritual agenda. Our enemy is working quite hard in attempting to discourage those of us who see the truth. Therefore, we must seek the one who is our only source of comfort; He can override the bleakness of this time in our hearts with His peace and joy.
Our Lord used the evening prior to His trial and crucifixion to pour His truth into His disciples. He was preparing them for His departure. He knew this would be traumatic for them. He knew they would be scattered and could lose all hope.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” (John 14:1-4 ESV)
Several years ago, I was a leader in a small group that met in our house. I was a Deacon in our church and there were two other Deacons in that group along with their wives. Both of those men were older than me. The oldest gentleman had a bad heart condition, but he was one of the godliest men I had ever met. His wife was always a joy to be around. The last Sunday evening that I saw them as a couple we had a meal then a very good Bible lesson and prayer time. Then we parted. During the following week, we heard that the husband had a massive heart attack and died as he worked in their garage. We were all devastated and tried to determine how to minister to the wife and their family. We put together a meal and I and another man from our small group drove out to their house to deliver it. We both expected a tough time ministering to the family, but especially to the wife. However, when we got there, everything was different. She ministered to us. It was truly amazing.
In the passage above Jesus is going to the cross yet it is He who is ministering to the disciples not the other way around. He knows their hearts are troubled. Their journey with Him is nearing the end of the temporal portion of it that will give birth to the spiritual. They don’t want Him to leave. However, for the victory to be won, to fulfill His purpose for coming as a man to this sin-filled planet, He must go to the cross. So He tells them to believe in God and in Him. Why? This part of the journey, the physical, is short while the next step is where the Father is and where Jesus is going. He must precede them to it to prepare them a place. He is telling them that this is a sure thing. They are called to believe then they will know the way to where He is going.
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:5-7 ESV)
Thomas interrupts the Lord and says that he doesn’t understand. They don’t know the way, but Jesus just told them that they did. Then our Lord tells Thomas, the rest of the disciples and us the way. What is it? He is the way to God because He is the truth of God and the life of God. Any other way that is given to come to God or to have eternal life or spiritual fulfillment or whatever is false. There is no other way than Jesus Christ. All who know Jesus know the Father because to know the Son is to know the Father.
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. (John 14:8-11 ESV)
Philip, then asks Jesus to show them the Father. Then our Lord again emphasizes that to see Him is to see God. Jesus is God. The good works that Jesus did could only be done by God and should have been a sign to them of who He is. Again, Jesus Christ is God, the second person in the Trinity.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:12-14 ESV)
Our Lord did not mean that those who believe in Him would do greater works in power than He did. What He did mean is that they will do more works because of their longer time in ministry than He had. Is Jesus telling them and us to focus on miracles here? No! The emphasis here is on the spiritual rather than physical miracles. All who believe in Jesus and become Spirit-led will, because of their being Spirit-filled, do the great works of ministry that God will use to bring others into the Kingdom.
Jesus Christ is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. He did not come to show us how to be Kingdom citizens here on earth. He came to die for the sins of His people that they would be saved and fulfill the will of the Father in becoming part of His family as Christ’s brothers and sisters. When seeing the wreck of the visible Church it may discourage us. We must not let that draw us into despair. Instead, we need to seek the one who is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life and with eyes that see our future with Him in Heaven as He is glorified in us as we remain faithful in the fires of tribulation here.