Why do you suppose Jesus tells the believing Jews to “dwell in” His Word? After all, the Word was given to their people first, many years before Jesus’ physical birth. These Jews may argue this point; some do.
Jesus informs them that He is the great “I Am,”(v. 24) “the Beginning, or the first of all thing, the which and I speak to you.” (v. 25) Some Jews listening to Jesus reject this claim, but many believe.
“Therefore Jesus said to the Jews, that believed in him, If ye dwell in my word, verily ye shall be my disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
They believe. Aren’t they already free? Why do they have to “dwell in [His] Word?” They believe. Why don’t they already “know the truth?”
They’ve just heard, just now. They process this awesome good news. They aren’t sure; they need time. They need to sit down at His feet, so to speak, and hear more.
Dwell in His Word. Learn of His yoke; feel how light the burden. These Jews carry a heavy load, the heavy load of the Law of Moses, a task-master and instructor that has finally guided them to the Messiah, who stands before them claiming to be One with God. Jesus’ Word is overwhelming.
“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”
Not only does Jesus command that we love our brothers but that we love our enemies. I hear a lot about ‘tough’ love, but I don’t recall Jesus ever speaking of a love that’s anything but generous.
Yes, Jesus gets angry with the moneychangers in the temple and He chastises those who would profit from the woes of others. Yes, He scolds the Pharisees whose spiritual pride is a huge stumbling block to their walk with God.
Nevertheless, Jesus tells us to go two miles with the man who would force us to go one mile. He tells us to give our coat to the man who also demands our shoes. As far as it is up to us, Jesus calls us to live in peace with everyone.
Apparently, Paul recognizes he and the other apostles are the personal property – the legacy – of God. Christ the Son presents them as gifts to God the Father. Christ reconciles them to God through His death and resurrection. As a direct result, God “puts in” them the Word of Reconciliation. Therefore Paul and the other apostles know firsthand what it means to be forgiven, to have sins, trespasses, and debts no longer counted against them.
Paul writes to the church at Corinth, “We are ambassadors,” and as such, “we implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:19-20KJV
So, we are either one person or we are united as one in Jesus. Either way, we “who have been baptized in Christ’s name have put on the person of Christ.” We are “clothed with Christ.” Paul implies we are dressed up in Christ as if we’ve put on a costume for a big party. Yet, he means so much more. The physical properties, the settings in which we dwell no longer matter. That I am female and you are male means little – if anything – in the kingdom of God. For the flesh can not inherit the kingdom. We will all be changed, in a flash at the sound of the trumpet. The mortal will fall away, and we shall be as He is – immortal.
Therefore, the petty differences between us – our gender, the color of our skin, our cultural backgrounds or ethnicity, our station in life, the money we have or don’t have – these things mean nothing. The only thing that counts is our relationship with Christ, that we are indeed one person.
“through faith in Christ Jesus you are all now God’s sons. All you who have been baptized in Christ’s name have put on the person of Christ; no more Jew or Gentile, no more slave and freeman, no more male and female; you are all one person in Jesus Christ.” Galatians 3:26-28KNOX
“For all ye be the children of God through the belief of Jesus Christ. [For all ye be the sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus.] For all ye that be baptized, be clothed with Christ. [Forsooth whoever ye be baptized in Christ, ye have clothed in Christ.] There is no Jew, nor Greek, no bondman, nor free man, no male, nor female [There is not Jew, neither Greek; there is not servant, neither free man; there is not male, neither female]; for all ye be one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-28WYC
32 Which also spared not his own Son, but betook him for us all, how also gave he not to us all things with him?
33 Who shall accuse against the chosen men of God? It is God that justifieth,
34 who is it that condemneth? It is Jesus Christ that was dead, yea, the which rose again, the which is on the right half of God, and the which prayeth for us [the which and rose again, the which is on the right half of God, the which prayeth for us].”
I admit I’ve never noticed this before – that Paul asks, “Who accuses those whom God has chosen? Who is it that condemns?” And then immediately answers, “It is Jesus Christ, the one who died and rose again and now sits at the right hand of God the Father, who prays for us.”
Jesus condemns us by His death. If there was no condemnation, then He would not have needed to die.
And He justifies us by His resurrection. His resurrection destroys the condemnation.
Therefore, “if God be for us ( the One who was against us ), who now is against us?”
If this doesn’t make your heart soar, nothing ever will.
Yes, Paul tells early Christians to run the race so as to win the prize. But the fact that we run in the race has nothing whatever to do with us. Rather, Christ’s winning of the race, yea, of the battle! puts us in the field with Him as if we are running along side Him or – more accurately – as if He is running inside our bodies. So, it is God’s mercy that puts us where we are – safety on the journey to full salvation. And who will win? Each of us whose God is merciful.
“It is not neither of man willing [Therefore it is not neither of a man willing], neither running, but of God having mercy.”