Guilt that Remains

John 9:39-41 WEB

Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, that those who don’t see may see; and that those who see may become blind.” [40] Those of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” [41] Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.


The Pharisees were a religious group intent on obedience to God. In their intense desire to obey God, they wrote approximately 400 rules every Jewish person was meant to obey. The book of rules was called the Talmud. During Jesus’ day, the Talmud was the authoritative text of the Jewish religion, Judaism. Unfortunately, the Pharisees were about the only people that could properly obey the Talmud. This was because they studied the Scripture and Talmud daily. They did not have other employment. Instead, they spent all their time focused on obedience to God.

Because they knew the scriptures Jesus said their eyes were open. That meant they understood the scripture had authority over the Talmud. The Pharisees considered anyone a lawbreaker if they disobeyed the Talmud to obey scripture.  In fact, the Pharisees were professionals at policing and enforcing the Talmud. Anyone caught breaking the rules of the Talmud were put out of the synagogue, an extremely traumatic life outcome.

The Pharisees had just thrown the man who had once been blind out of the synagogue. He went to them to have his healing confirmed. However, instead of rejoicing that the Father had healed him, they were more concerned that the healing was done on the Sabbath. Doing anything on the Sabbath, even healing someone, was outlawed in the Talmud. This upset Jesus. The scriptures testified of the Father’s kindness and goodness. Therefore, to outlaw kindness and love on the Sabbath was disobedient. Because they knew this Jesus hurls the truth at them and declares them fit to be judged.


Father, forgive me for caring more about rules than about people. I long to be righteous in my obedience to the Bible and I long to be holy in my love towards others. Help me repent, Lord. This is inner work and I need you to come and show me the best way. In Jesus’ name, amen.

God’s Approval

John 8:18-19 WEB

I am one who testifies about myself, and the Father who sent me testifies about me.” [19] They said therefore to him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me, nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”


When Jesus says the Father testifies about him, he is referring to the many miracles he performed. It is clear in the text the Father approved of Jesus (John 3:2). The Father often released his power when Jesus asked it of him. So, if Jesus was openly approved of by the Father, can you and I be openly approved of by the Father (Rom 16:10)?

How can we tell in the modern age if the Father approves of someone? First, there are still miracles happening and they tend to be performed by people who are fully invested in God (Heb 2:4). They also meet specific needs. For example, missionaries often report they have experienced the miraculous.

So, a powerful move of God can show his approval. However, not many miracles are happening. How can we tell in the modern age if God approves of someone? You must know the Bible. Someone whose life is in line with the principles and precepts of the Bible is approved by God (1 Kings 11:38).

By extension, knowing the Bible and living it to the best of your ability is proof that you are accepted by God. If I do not know the Bible, I may be subject to the wrong teaching. I may be deceived.  So, no matter the denomination, you can test yourself by asking yourself how much of the Bible you are living. This will help you understand if you are approved by God.


Lord Jesus, I want to be approved of by you. Please help me comprehend and learn the principles and precepts of the Bible. Lead me into righteous and holy living. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Divinely Human

John 6:66-67 WEB

At this, many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. [67] Jesus said therefore to the twelve, “You don’t also want to go away, do you?”


Jesus felt the sting of betrayal. In the above passage, you can see the undercurrent of pain in his words. I think about Jesus rebuking his mother at the wedding at Cana (John 2:4). I think about the temple when Jesus took a whip of cords and destroyed the market (John 2:14-16). I think about Jesus weeping for Lazarus (John 11:34-36). All these examples tell a story about the personality of Jesus. He was capable of exuberant emotional responses.

Jesus had several emotional responses recorded in the Bible. However, we are frequently so focused on his divinity, we bypass a human explanation for his recorded behavior. Yet, we know, Jesus suffered all things to purchase our freedom (Heb 2:17-18). If he didn’t experience the human dilemma of emotional turbulence, he did not suffer all things. Jesus was divine by nature. All he was flowed through his human experience.

It is easier to think of Jesus as so divine that his deeds are beyond human ability or responsibility. To think of the Lord as human places a burden of responsibility on us. If he was fully human as much as he is fully divine, his example is valid for me to imitate. The Bible tells us we will do greater works than Jesus (John 14:11). Our Lord was a conduit for others into the presence of the Father (John 5:19). He was holy (Rom 1:4-6).


Lord Jesus, please help me discover nuances of your personality in scripture. I want to know you. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Jesus’ Holiness

John 4:27-29 WEB

At this, his disciples came. They marveled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no one said, “What are you looking for?” or, “Why do you speak with her?” [28] So the woman left her water pot, and went away into the city, and said to the people, [29] “Come, see a man who told me everything that I did. Can this be the Christ?”


The disciples would have been astonished that Jesus was speaking with a Samaritan, let alone a Samaritan woman. Yet, they knew their master well enough to keep silent. Because of their silence, the woman goes back to her city and stokes the interest of the citizens. In fact, she calls them to come and listen to Jesus. The Samaritan woman was an astute woman and good at social relationships. She waited until she knew how Jesus’ disciples were going to behave before she was willing to bring her friends and family to Christ.

How often does the scorn of a believer stop the gospel? The gospel is good news, yet, so often Christians have such disdain for sinners that they become ineffective in sharing the good news. Jesus’ disciples were raised up from childhood in an environment of righteousness apart from holiness. The disciples knew what the law prescribed as right and wrong behaviors. Unfortunately, they also learned the traditions of the elders as if they were scripture. They learned to despise foreigners, to despise women, and to despise anyone who failed to keep the law.

However, after spending time ministering with Jesus, they understood that he cared more for people than for the traditions of the elders. Jesus was both righteous and holy. He kept the commands of the Father, and he was also able to bring sinners into a right relationship with God. There were many leaders who did not view Jesus as righteous, but he did not let those judgments stop him from the holy action of sharing the gospel.

In keeping silent, the apostles advanced the kingdom. They did not uproot what Jesus was doing with disdain for the Samaritan Woman. They may have felt uncomfortable with Jesus talking to her, but they like Jesus, cared more for the Father’s will than that of the religious leaders. The apostles also cared more for Jesus’ opinion than that of their peers.

The apostles did not jump on the legalistic bandwagon with their contemporaries. They were astute enough to recognize that Jesus was sent by God. They often struggled to fully believe he was the messiah. Yet, they did believe that Jesus was working for God’s interests (John 14:11). So, they remained silent, despite the ugly feelings that may have been stirring inside of them.


Lord Jesus, please give me the insight to understand when you are working in another’s life. Please forgive me for despising people because of their sins. Let the love you have for the lost rise in me so that I can bring them to you to be saved. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Compromise or Belief

John 3:34-36 WEB

For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for God gives the Spirit without measure. [35] The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. [36] One who believes in the Son has eternal life, but one who disobeys the Son won’t see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

Cultural compromise is destroying the modern church. A desire to be accepted in the world has caused entire congregations to become irrelevant to the mission of God. Namely, to bring the world into the victory of Jesus shed blood on the cross. John 3:16 WEB says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” To fulfill the mission of this verse the church has compromised in the hope of becoming relevant to the world. However, what has happened is the church no longer carries the true message of the gospel. You cannot compromise and be on fire for the Lord at the same time. You must believe Jesus to serve him and demonstrate that belief through obedience to the word of God.  In Matthew 7: 21-23 WEB we are instructed on the reality of compromise, it says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. [22] Many will tell me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?’ [23] Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.’ It seems like the church has forgotten this passage of scripture. Instead, a strong delusion is upon much of the church. People in this situation are convinced that they are in the right relationship with God. Yet, they compromise with the world. The desire to be liked and accepted has masqueraded as a desire to reach the lost. But reaching the lost is dependent on holiness and righteousness. We can understand that righteousness comes when we are obedient to the word of God. When that righteousness is coupled with a humble heart we can become holy. Holiness is the ability to give people access to the Father through the Son. Jesus was the holiest and when he died, he released his most Holy Spirit to guide the world into truth. The church must first accept the truth to become righteous and thereby holy. The truth is, no one believes who does not obey. The compromise of the church with the world is leading many who think they are safe into a collision course with hell. In Romans 2:8 it says, “but to those who are self-seeking, and don’t obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, will be wrath and indignation,” The word is clear, and it is urgent that every Christian accept that no one can compromise a little. This is because a little leaven works through the entire loaf. And each person will get more of what they already have. If one is compromised a little, then that person is compromised. And if compromised they will continue to become more compromised. However, if one truly believes they will obey. In John 14:23 it says, “Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him.” Thus, because of obedience, their obedience will grow. God will make His home in that person’s heart. The result is their ability to bring the lost into a saving relationship with Jesus, or their holiness, will also grow. This is how we become relevant to God and the world. We must renounce compromise and return to obedience.

Lord Jesus, please forgive me for compromising with the world. I recognize I must return to obedience, and I ask you to help my unbelief. I want to be accepted on the final day Lord, please come in and save me from disbelief which results in disobedience. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

What we have Seen

John 3:32-33 WEB

What he [Jesus] has seen and heard, of that he testifies; and no one receives his witness. [33] He who has received his witness has set his seal to this, that God is true.

When Jesus testified to the things of heaven which he had seen and heard, he was rejected. According to the above verse, no one believed him. Not his apostles, not his disciples, not the people he taught. However, many believed that Jesus was sent by God. The miracles assured at least that much belief. This verse is written by the apostle John, who at the time before the resurrection, did not believe. If the apostles, disciples, and the people did not believe Jesus, they will also not believe modern believers. However, there is hope. We still have the miracles. We have victories in our lives that looked impossible. We have the health breakthroughs, the family relationship breakthroughs, and the financial breakthroughs. We can testify to the power of Jesus in our lives. We can lift the banner of his name and his victory over death. We can lift the testimony of what we have seen and heard. Because we are like the apostle John when he wrote this scripture, we are on the winning side of Jesus’ victory over death. We live and testify after the resurrection. They did not believe Jesus before he defeated death, but they did believe in him after he rose from the dead. If you look at the above verses, you may see something unusual. First John says no one believed Jesus. Next, he says, “he who has received his witness,” that is, they who did believe. So, what happened between verses 32 and 33? Why does John say no one believed, and in the next verse talk about those who did believe? One verse tells the story before the cross and resurrection. The next verse tells the story after Jesus’ victory over death and the grave. On one hand, we are in the same situation that Jesus was in. Namely, that the works of the Father, that is the miracles, testify of the truth of our witness. On the other hand, we are in a different situation than Jesus. The Lord did his work before the cross, we do our work after the cross. Our miracles and victories are backed up with Jesus’ victory at the cross. Therefore, when we testify of unusual victories, that testimony should be brief. This is because all the details are not significant. In fact, too many details ruin the witness because no one will ever have our exact circumstances. When we witness the things we have seen and heard in our own lives, we should sketch out the major points and leave the nuance to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will do the work in the hearer’s heart. In Romans 8:16 WEB it says, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God;” This is why after we testify to the miracles, we must shift the focus from ourselves and onto Jesus. Then, anyone who receives our witness will believe that God is true. (John 3:33 WEB)

Lord Jesus, thank you for the wonderful things you have done in my life. Please help me testify of you and help me keep the focus on you rather than myself. I ask Lord that I may be a holy vessel who opens their mouth to bear witness of the things I have seen and heard. I pray Lord that those who hear my testimony will believe that you are true. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Suffering with Benefits

John 3:22-24 WEB

After these things, Jesus came with his disciples into the land of Judea. He stayed there with them, and baptized. [23] John also was baptizing in Enon near Salim, because there was much water there. They came, and were baptized. [24] For John was not yet thrown into prison.   

John was not yet thrown into prison and Jesus was not yet crucified. So, they baptized. They served the Father’s will with humility and truth such that they both died horrific deaths. John was beheaded at the request of the daughter of an evil queen (Matthew 14:8-12 WEB). Jesus was crucified at the hands of the Roman government, at the request of the religious leaders in Jerusalem (John 19:15-18 WEB). Do you regularly see baptisms at your church? Do you ever see baptisms at your church? If people are regularly being saved and baptized, you probably have leadership that has experienced difficulties and has chosen not to draw back from obeying the Lord. On the other hand, if you have a group of leaders that is regularly bringing a message of wealth, health, and joy without the balancing message of suffering and pain in obedience, something is wrong. This group may have salvations, but the saved will probably fall away when the Father begins to discipline the new believer. Discipline will always come (Hebrews 12:7). The Father has an interest in growing people from the new birth in Christ to mature Christian walking and living the Christian life. The Father will convict of sin and will bring challenges to provoke change. He knows how to bend a twig. However, when a church only preaches the benefits of the kingdom and neglects to preach the obligations of the kingdom you will not see lasting fruit.  Attrition will be high. Being in obedience to the Father will bring great joy, with tribulation (1 Thessalonians 1:6 WEB.)

Lord Jesus, I want to follow your example. Please help me to be bold and willing to suffer when necessary for the gospel. Let my life bring lasting fruit. Help me to be bold unto suffering while I rejoice in all the goodness that comes from walking with you. Please make me a holy vessel. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Condemnation or Salvation

John 3:17 WEB

For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him.

Do you look at the world through the lens of condemnation or salvation? We know that God loves the world and wants all people to be saved (John 3:16). Yet, many Christians judge the world and condemn the lost. This is worldly. It seems godly to stand against unrighteousness. However, it is not right to condemn the lost before they have a chance to get saved and adopt a righteous lifestyle. On the other hand, we should condemn unrighteousness in ourselves. This is part of us becoming holy. We must be holy to bring people to Jesus so that He can save them. Furthermore, when we live righteously it proves that we believe in Jesus and the finished work of the cross. If we believe Jesus we will live righteously. Thus, when we demonstrate our beliefs through our actions we know we are in right standing with God. Once we are in right standing with God we become holy which means we are able to give the lost access to Jesus. Matthew 7:21-25 tells us that if we do not obey Christ’s teachings he does not know us. That is scary. It is comfortable to imagine that all we have to do is confess with our mouths that Jesus is the Lord and we are saved. This leaves us room to “be in process” or to keep some of Christ’s teachings but not all of Christ’s teachings. Many people want to throw all their unrighteousness under the cross and call it good. Essentially they are trusting in their confession alone to save them. But if this was true, then even the demons would be saved. However, this is not the case. We must believe and confess to be saved (Romans 10:9-10). The only way we know that we believe is if we keep the teachings of Jesus (Matthew 7:24). It is significant to note that Jesus loved the lost. The truth is He condemned those who professed to love God but demonstrated only love for themselves. So, where do you stand? Does your life condemn you or are you genuinly saved both believing and confessing?

Lord Jesus, please have mercy on me and show me my unrighteousness. I accept that I have to see my sin to correct my sin. I am not afraid for you to tell me the truth. I am only afraid of not genuinely believing. Please help my unbelief. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Nathaniel’s Repentance

John 1:46-49 WEB

Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” [47] Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said about him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” [48] Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” [49] Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are King of Israel!”

Why was Nathanael so amazed that Jesus saw him under the fig tree? He was amazed because Jesus called him out for the sins of scoffing and laziness. Nathanael scoffed at Jesus because he was from Nazareth. Psalm 1 clearly defines scoffing as the worst level of sin. Psalm 1:1 NLT says, “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.”

Notice how Jesus cuts right to the issue when he says, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.”  I don’t think He said it as praise but was probably employing a tone of sarcasm. Scoffing is one of the sins that partners with laziness. So, Jesus cuts to the heart of Nathanael’s life issues. Proverbs 6:9 NLT says, “But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up?” Essentially Jesus was calling Nathanael out for his sins of scoffing and laziness. His answer to Nathaniel brought conviction and revelation and led to Nathanael getting up and following the Lord.

Don’t be afraid of all the scoffers. Also, do not come into agreement with them. Your right behavior will also be a holy behavior because it paves the way for their repentance. We are not Jesus; we do not have the Spirit without measure. I would leave off the sarcasm. We do not want to scoff at or with scoffers but rather speak the truth in love. Ephesians 4:15 NLT says, “Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.”

Lord Jesus, please reveal to me those areas of sin that I am ignoring or ignorant. I want to get up from all sin and follow you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Holy and Righteous Pursuits

If, in our pursuit of righteousness, we separate ourselves from the lost or prevent another from seeing the Father through the Free Gift of Jesus’ love, then we have lost our holiness and thereby our purpose (Mt 18:6, Mark 16:15). Holiness is the attribute that allows the lost to access Christ (Luke 1:75-77). Righteousness is the attribute that allows believers to access Christ (Rom 4:3-8). Holiness attracts the lost (1 Thes 3:12-13). Righteousness attracts God (Mt 6:1). Holiness gives us the grace to bring souls to God (Rom 1:4). Righteousness gives us the grace to have influence with God (Gen 7:1, John 16:10). It is important that in our pursuit of righteousness we do not also decrease the lost’s ability to access God (Mark 9:42). We cannot be in obedience to Jesus if we are not bringing him the lost so they may be saved.