by Mike Ratliff
7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:7-8 (NASB)
Relativism is the fatal disease of the unregenerate heart. Of course, it is a self-focused relativism. Everyone is unique, of course, but we have this built-in sense of ‘fairness’ that is antithetical to God’s Sovereignty. Several years ago my late friend and colleague Ken Silva was the subject of a satirical article meant to attack his character. If you think through that then you should immediately recognize the tactics of our enemy. Since he cannot refute the truth then he and his minions go after those who uphold the truth by attacking them directly. The article was a satirical portrayal of Ken killing a beast on the beach called an EvanJellyFish even though every now and then the beast said something that might be considered edifying. Ah, now we are back in that comfortable realm of relativism. It goes something like this, “Hey man, why are you attacking this brother in Christ? Look, he may practice Yoga and Contemplative Prayer and lead his congregation to pray to Mother God, but hey, look at all the edifying and nice thing he says in this book he just wrote!” That my brothers and sisters in Christ are the words of someone who thinks that the truth is truth because they think it is, but they do not know the words of God, the truth, because they do not hear them (John 8:46).
Jesus Christ was not politically correct nor was he concerned about not hurting people’s feelings. In John 8:12-59, we have the dialogue between our Lord and those opposed Him that ended in v59 with these people attempting to stone Him. We will concentrate on vv31-47. In vv31-38 our Lord sets up the argument that leads to exposure of his opponents as unbelievers.
31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.” John 8:31-38 (NASB)
Do you see it my brethren? Those truly in Christ are regenerate and have the Holy Spirit. We have the Mind of Christ. As we mature in Christ and learn to walk the narrow way as living sacrifices we will know the truth deeply and there will be no power or force in the is world that can derail us from following our Lord. These who opposed our Lord just could not see it. Why? They considered their place in God’s Kingdom to be assured because they were Jews who kept the Law of Moses, however imperfectly. Jesus knows all things and so confronts their sin and makes sure that this becomes the issue of separation from God not religion or ancestry. He also tells them that since they do not accept what He has told them that this proves that they are not in God’s family, but that their father is the Devil, whom they follow.
39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus *said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. 40 But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. 41 You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” John 8:39-47 (NASB)
The two verses in bold are v43 and v47. Read the whole passage then we will concentrate on these two verses. Here is v43 in Greek, “διὰ τί τὴν λαλιὰν τὴν ἐμὴν οὐ γινώσκετε; ὅτι οὐ δύνασθε ἀκούειν τὸν λόγον τὸν ἐμόν.” The words we need to concentrate on here, translated in the NASB as “cannot,” are οὐ δύνασθε. This says in Greek, “You are not able.” In other words, the unregenerate do not have the capacity to hear and receive the Words of Christ. In v47 our Lord clarifies this. The unregenerate do not hear the truth in the sense of hearing, believing, and following the truth. To be called “christian” they must have a synthesized version to follow instead. This is why the Seeker Sensitive version of the Gospel has so many converts. It is not the Gospel, but a synthesized version of it to the point that is no longer the truth. The reason it is not the truth is that is based entirely in pragmatism while the genuine Christian is saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:1-10).
The real Gospel is one that can only be heard, believed and followed by those to whom it is given by God. A good example is Lydia in Acts 16:14. God opened here heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. The visible church is full of leaders and followers that preach, teach, and have believed a synthesized version of the gospel. When we give them the real Gospel, we receive antagonism back from them. We are called intolerant. We are ostracized. You get the picture. When we point out that the synthesized version of the gospel is not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are called even worse.
We have no idea when our Lord will return, but He said that He would and so we believe Him. We know also that He revealed that before He returns that there will be a “falling away.” Do you suppose that what we are witnessing in the visible church is that or perhaps, the beginnings of it?
Soli Deo Gloria.