“… his word abiding in you”
Today we began reading the detailed teaching of Jesus that is special to the Gospel of John. Jesus is teaching in Jerusalem, it is “a feast of the Jews” and he tells them,
“The Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me” but “you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent” (5:37,38).
We can read God’s word – but we need to absorb it into our minds so it “abides” in us, influencing the way we think and therefore how we talk and act. Jesus challenges them,
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me” (verse 39).
By the Scriptures he means the Old Testament, but they have the wrong motive in their searching. For centuries many have searched trying to find evidence somewhere in the Bible that they have an ‘immortal soul’ – but that phrase is not to be found anywhere in Scripture.
May we all read so that “his word” is “abiding in us” – reading so that we develop a relationship with God – a heartfelt love for God and his Son – and then we will correctly understand and believe his promise,
“whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (verse 24).
What does this mean, we are going to die, aren’t we, unless we are alive when Jesus returns and are accepted into his kingdom? (see 1 Corinthians 15:51-55). All those who heard Jesus eventually died, but those who really believed his words and were baptised into his name are in a special category, recall what we read last Thursday, Paul’s words about
“my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life” (Philippians 4:3).
In almost the last chapter in the Bible we are told that
“if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire”
“the second death” (Revelation 20:12,15).
Let us so read God’s word that “his word is abiding in” us, influencing our thoughts and actions day after day, ensuring that our “names are in the book of life” and stay there – and how soon now before God opens it!