Thursday, July 23, 2020
The proverbs have some interesting ideas. I know, you wonder what happened to the study of John. Follow me for a minute and you will understand.
Proverbs 26:11 says “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” I hope you aren’t reading this over breakfast. It’s not an appetizing concept. But the truth principle for us is this – Don’t go back to previous behaviors that might make things even worse than they were before.
Now, read what Jesus told the lame man whom He had healed earlier in the day.
“Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”” John 5:14
This verse can cause some misunderstandings. First, Jesus is not blaming the man’s physical disabilities on previous sin. We must not assume that health issues are the result of sin. They may be, but they also may simply be so the glory of God can be revealed. (See John 9:1-5). Second, Jesus is not saying that if the man ever sins again he will be made more lame than before. Jesus does not threaten people with harm for disobedience. Where’s the grace in that?
Here’s what it seems Jesus is saying. See, I made you well. Trust me. Believe in me. If you don’t, you will return to your sin, and the end result of that is worse than being lame, because it results in eternal death.
There is a very important principle for us here about authentic faith – it always produces obedience to Christ and a sincere desire to not sin. We live in an age of cheap grace, where many claim to be followers of a Jesus but are simply putting spiritual polish on tarnished pursuits. Authentic faith transforms the heart. Authentic faith pursues righteousness. Authentic faith never sacrifices the eternal on the altar of the immediate. Authentic faith seeks the good of other even at the expense of benefit to self.
This is the lesson of faith Jesus wanted the healed man to learn. He desires us to learn it also.