John 8:12 ESV
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’”
Jesus Christ, who is God, and who is the only begotten Son of God, is the light of the world. He is the Word of God, and he is the revelation of God, and he is truth and righteousness and holiness, and he is the divine will and character of God. All that is of God, He is. And he has brought to us salvation from sin via his death on a cross, and via his resurrection. And he has brought us the message of the gospel of our salvation from the same, as well as from what he taught when he lived on the earth.
And to follow Jesus Christ is to walk in obedience to his commands (New Covenant) and to his teachings which are his instructions for us who are his followers. And it is to be becoming like him in character, and to walk in his ways and in his truth, in righteousness and holiness. And it is to follow his example, too, for how we are to live the Christian life – all in the power of God and to the glory and praise of God. And so we need to be students of the Scriptures who study them in context so we know the will of God.
Now, if we follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands, and if we follow him wherever he leads us, according to the will of God, and according to the Word of God, then we will not walk (in conduct, in practice) in darkness (sin). And this reminds me of what I read earlier today from Galatians 5:16 where it says, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” It is the same message. For walking by the Spirit is the same as following Jesus in obedience to his commands.
So, if we follow Jesus in obedience, not only will we NOT walk (in conduct, in practice) in sin, but we will have the light of life. So, what is “the light of life”? Certainly it is Jesus Christ, but it is also the truth of the gospel, and it is our salvation from sin, and it is eternal life with God. And this parallels Galatians 5, too, for in verse 24 it says, “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” And in verse 21 we read a warning which says that if sin is what we are practicing, we “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” So, we need to take this seriously.
John 8:31-32 ESV
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”
To abide in Christ and in his Word is to follow, obey, keep to, conform to, act in accordance with, uphold, agree to/with, and pay attention to him, as well as it means to continue with, remain in, and stay with him and to not desert (abandon, forsake) him. So, this definitely is not about holding on to a profession of faith in Christ and to the promise of forgiveness of sins and to the guarantee of heaven when you die (or when Jesus returns) if it doesn’t involve obedience to the Lord Jesus and to his commands (New Covenant).
And then if we read on through verse 59, we realize that those who had “believed him” did not believe him with genuine God-given faith which turns the sinner from his ways to follow Jesus Christ in obedience to His ways. For Jesus confronted them with their sins of unbelief, and with how his words found no place in their lives. And he said to them that if God were their Father, they would love him (Jesus). But they could not bear to hear the words of Jesus, who is their Messiah God. And then he told them that they did the works of their father, who is the devil.
So, when Jesus says that if we abide in him that we are truly his disciples, he had this in mind. So, we have to do more than just verbalize faith in Jesus Christ, or to give some type of emotional or intellectual assent to who Jesus is and to what he did for us on that cross in dying to take away our sins. We have to live according to him and to His Word, and we have to remain steadfast in walks of faith and obedience to our Lord and to his commands. And we have to continue in those walks of faith steadfast until the very end, or we don’t have eternal life in him.
And to be his disciples is to be his followers, which we must be if we are truly in Christ by genuine God-given faith in Jesus Christ. So, you can’t be in genuine relationship with Jesus Christ and not be one of his followers, for to follow him is to obey him, in practice, and if we do not obey him we do not know him, and we do not love him, and we do not have eternal life in him. And you can’t be free in Christ if you are still living in sin and according to the flesh, and if you are not walking according to the Spirit.
So, it isn’t knowing God’s word intellectually which sets us free, but it is knowing God’s word experientially which sets us free from slavery to sin so that we can now walk in obedience to our Lord and to his commands. For Jesus said that if anyone would come after him that he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to living in sin and for self, we will lose our lives for eternity. But if for the sake of Jesus we lose our lives (die with him to sin), then we have the hope of eternal life in him (Luke 9:23-26; Romans 6:1-23).
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
Hymn lyrics by William Williams, pub.1745
tr. by Peter Williams, pub.1771
Music by John Hughes, 1907
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven,
Feed me till I want no more.
Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.
Lord, I trust Thy mighty power,
Wondrous are Thy works of old;
Thou deliver’st thine from thralldom,
Who for naught themselves had sold.
Thou didst conquer, Thou didst conquer
Sin and Satan and the grave.
When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee. Amen.