I was reading the Scriptures the other day and was absolutely stunned by a passage in the gospel of John. The more I thought about it, the more my jaw dropped in total disbelief! I don’t know how Jesus could have looked at the church members before Him and kept a straight face!
The setting is found in John chapter eight. Jesus is talking on a number of issues about the Kingdom of God. Starting in verse 31, we read this: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Here Jesus is trying to reveal to the Pharisees and Sadducees their great Spiritual need. Their reply is stunning! “They answered him, ‘We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?’ ”
Were they kidding? Had they lost their minds, or at least their memories? The Church leaders were so intent on discrediting anything that Jesus might say, that they denied their entire history rather than agree with Jesus about anything. Throughout their entire history, the sad stories of obedience and blessing, and disobedience and servitude were written. These men knew the stories all to well. They had been in bondage to Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, and the list goes on.
As they spoke these very words of denial to Christ, Who had dwelt in the pillars of cloud and of fire as He brought them out of four hundred years in bitter bondage, I wonder how He could have kept a straight face. Even as they spoke, they were chafing under the bondage of the Roman Empire! And they told Jesus they had never been in bondage? Denial is the cruelest bondage of all.
It is easy to get down on the people of old, but is it possible that God’s people at the end of time could be guilty of the same attitudes? Is denial of our true standing before God a real possibility? Revelation 3:14-16 tells us: “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:”
God’s servant wrote words for us: “The only hope for the Laodiceans is a clear view of their standing before God, a knowledge of the nature of their disease.” (Testimonies 4 p, 87) the only hope for you and me today, as we stand in the hour of the final judgment, is to recognize our own indifference toward sin, and see how we really look to God. To those who see themselves as they really are, and repent of their ways, the Lord has said that they will be over comers and enter the kingdom of God, by His grace. Is His grace sufficient for you today? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”
Pastor Matthew Andrew