To Bear Witness

John 1:6-11  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which light every man that come into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 

This John refers to John the Baptist, used 20 times in this gospel and never by the title ‘Baptist’ as in the other gospels; he is not to be confused with John the Apostle who is the author of this gospel as well as 1,2,3 John and Revelation. John the Baptist was not the light but came to witness of the Light – the true Light that is Jesus Christ the Messiah (John 8:12; 9:5; 12:35-46) so that men can believe through Him (John 14:6) and be reconciled with the Father.

Jesus Christ became flesh – He came into the world – the same world (earth) He created (Col. 1:15-17) and they (people) knew Him not – most people chose not to have a relationship with God and when Christ came, He did not come as they would have preferred: as a king and to set them free from earthy rulers, but instead He came as a pauper and came to free us of sin, so the people rejected Him. Even His own nation, the Jews (or Israel) through whom He could demonstrate to other nations what God purposed for mankind.

The Word

John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shine in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 

‘In the beginning’ refers to the dateless past (Pro. 8:23) and the Word refers to Christ (John 1:14; Rev. 19:13) and proves His pre-existence (Mic. 5:1-2; Rev. 1:8, 11; 2:8). He is an eternal Being as are also the Father and the Holy Spirit (Ps. 90:1-2; Heb. 9:14). They are the Divine Trinity as described in 1John 5:7. Not only was the Word with God, but He was God and always will be as much divine as the other two members of the Trinity (Isa. 9:6-7; Heb. 1:8-12; Rev. 22:13-16). God created all things by Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:15-18; Heb. 1:1-2). Not only were all things created by Him, but redemption of creation is by Him (John 17:2; Col. 1:20). As all creation came by the Son, through the Holy Spirit, so all redemption comes the same way. It was what Christ did on the cross that made it possible for God to redeem through the power of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-5; Tit. 3:5). When we walk in Christ (1Pet. 2:21-23) who is life and the light of men, we can begin to shine as the light of the world, as a city that is set on a hill that cannot be hid. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:14-16).

The Greek word for comprehended is katalambano which means to seize upon; to keep down or under; stop; to catch up within the sense of to discover or detect. It means that the satanic powers of darkness (Eph. 6:12) did not overcome the Word, but that the Word spoiled (conquered) them on the cross (Col. 2:14-17). In John 8:12 Jesus states “I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

God’s Will

James 4:13-17 Go to now, you that say, today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appear for a little time, and then vanish away. For that you ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now you rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that know to do good, and do it not, to him it is sin. 

Boastings here consist of bragging on buying and selling from city to city and what one will do here and there. One should always say, “If the Lord will, we shall live to do this, or that”. This would demonstrate a personal faith in God and His providence instead of one’s own abilities. All such boasting is of evil intent. We cannot travel, shop, work or live life from our own understanding and ideas, we have to trust in God and acknowledge Him in all our ways, then He can direct our paths (Pro. 3:5-6).

God’s will is always to make us perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 13:21).

For what is your life? It is a vapour…This is practically what was said of the rich man in James 1:10-11, so little worth to one’s life whom only focuses on the riches and ‘success’ of this world. The last verse warns that if we know what is good – to do right according to God’s standards – and we don’t, we are sinning. The Greek word for sin is hamartia which means to miss the mark.

True Saving Faith

James 2:19-20, 24, 26  Thou believe that there is one God; thou does well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? You see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. 

Believing in God is no proof that you are justified by faith alone, for even devils believe without justification. Abraham is used as an example in verse 21 to 23 of someone justified by works when he had gone to offer Isaac his son upon the altar. See then how his faith shaped with his works and by works was faith made perfect. It was faith that led him to this act of obedience. Had he refused to obey, it would have demonstrated that he had no faith in God or His Word. Verse 25 speaks of Rahab the harlot who was also justified by works when she had received the messengers and had sent them out another way.

Are you willing to be instructed as to the nature of true saving faith?

The body without the spirit is dead: Only the body dies at the time of physical death. This is caused by the soul and spirit leaving the body. The body returns to dust and the soul and spirit of the righteous go to heaven to await the resurrection (2Cor. 5:8; Php. 1:21-24). The soul and spirit of the wicked go to hell to await the resurrection (Lk. 16:19-31; Isa.14:9; Rev. 20:11-15). The soul and spirit are spiritual and immortal. They cannot go back to dust. Just as surely as the inner man leaves the body at physical death and is no longer with the body, so faith without works is dead (separated) and is powerless.

Begotten by the Word

James 1:17-18 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 

Whatever is good comes from God who never changes; whatever is evil comes from satan and fallen man who are bent on doing whatever gains a selfish and sinful end.

God is the Father of Lights, which refers to Him as the creator of that which give light: the sun, moon and stars, which causes changes in the seasons of the year. But there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning in God, He is always – in every season – the same and does not change like the shadow of a sundial (Heb. 13:8).

It is God’s will that all people be saved – begotten by the Word (John 3:16; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9). The Word of Truth is one of the agents that make men new creatures (John 3:5; 1Pet. 1:23; Eph. 5:26).

Count It ALL Joy

James 1:2-4  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith work patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 

Be joyful when you are going through a trial since it will produce the right fruit IF you choose to keep on trusting and relying on God (Heb. 11:1) instead of looking at your circumstances and reacting to what you feel or see.  Remember that we are tempted by the enemy to sin against God, thus guard your heart against complaining. Trials test religion and faith and the man who stands true in them proves his religion sound and his faith genuine. Tests work patience and patience works perfection (Jas. 1:12; Rom. 5:3-5; 1Pet. 1:7).

Two blessings come of perfect patience: personal perfection in the knowledge of the gospel and the will of God which will have a direct effect of you being without spot or blemish when you are perfect in your actions and reactions (Mat. 5:48; 2Tim. 3:17); and personal completeness in all graces and gifts of God.

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.  Mat. 18:23-34 KJV

This parable deals with the conduct of the members of the kingdom of Heaven in relation to one another. The purpose of the parable is to answer Peter’s question of verse 21, “How oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Then He gave the illustration of the king and his servant to teach Peter that all members of the kingdom of Heaven must be merciful and forgiving or they would not be forgiven. “Seventy times seven” is 490 times a day, twenty times an hour or once every three minutes that we must forgive those who sin against us and ask our forgiveness. If the disciples said, “Lord, increase our faith,” when Christ told them that they would have to forgive their brother seven times a day, Lk. 17:3-5 what might they have said on this occasion when He told them they must forgive 490 times a day?

So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. Mat. 18:35 KJV

The story illustrates what God would do if a child of His would not from his heart forgive his brother. This verse is the sole truth being illustrated by the example of this particular king and his servant. Just as this king did not have mercy on his servant whom he had forgiven a debt of 10,000 talents ($19.2 million in silver – $290.85 million in gold), after the same servant would not forgive his fellow servant a debt of one hundred pence (about $17.00), so God will not have mercy on those in the kingdom of Heaven who will not forgive men from their hearts.

The application of this illustration is as follows:

  1. God cancels all the debt for penitent sinners as this king did for his servant Mt. 18:23-27,35; Mt. 12:31-32; 1Jn. 1:9
  2. God demands fair treatment between Christians Mt. 18:26-30,35; 5:38-48; 7:12; Rom. 12:9-21; 1Cor. 13
  3. God will not forgive unless man forgives his brother Mt. 18:35; 6:14-15; Mk. 11:25-26; Eph. 4:32
  4. All issues of sin and righteousness come “from the heart”. Mt. 15:18-19; Mk. 7:21-23; Acts 8:37; Rom. 10:6-10; 2Tim. 2:22; Heb. 4:12

I choose to forgive those who have wronged me so that I can always receive my Father’s forgiveness and be in right standing with God.

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  Mat. 6:14-15 KJV