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Hard Truth and Saving Grace

The words that Jesus spoke are hard truths, bringing fear to many people that day, as they should still for us today if we do not know Him as Lord and Savior.

Parents of young children know the feeling you get when you have to tell your children to do something over and over again. It usually starts out with an explanation like you need to wear shoes so you don’t hurt your feet. Later on, as we are telling them for the 100th time, it’s more like just put your shoes on so we can go or the favorite because I said so.

Most parents of teenagers know the pains and concerns of repeating warnings too. Sometimes stubbornness or selfishness get in the way of seeing the truth. Maybe you’ve heard I don’t understand why Sue can go but I can’t?! or What’s the big deal, we’re just having fun? As parents, it is our job and our hearts desire to protect and provide the best for our children. It is at times exhausting and even frustrating; but from an abundance of love, we do our best at speaking truth in love with grace.

Take a few minutes to read John 8:21-47. These verses are packed full of truth and grace. Hard truth; the kind we like to think don’t apply to us, but it does; and amazing grace, the kind that only Jesus can provide.

What we find here is Jesus giving yet another warning to the careless unbelieving Jews to consider the consequence of their unbelief. He wanted them to turn their hearts and believe in Him, before it was too late. He spoke words of terror as well as grace. “unless you believe that I am He you will die in your sins.”(v24) He warns them that they will seek Him and it will be too late.

You can hear the exasperation and frustration, the plea in His tone. As if He was telling them Listen to me! Don’t wait! Soon it will be too late! When asked again, “Who are you?” Jesus replies “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning.” (v25) And when they still don’t get it, He says “Why do you not understand what I say?” (v43)

Some did hear in those moments and believe, which changes the direction of the dialog for a moment. Jesus told those who believed about the freedom their future holds. “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (vs31-32) The truth -Jesus is the son of God, sent here by the Father so that those who heard and believed in Jesus would not die in their sin but would have freedom of eternal life in heaven.

Then the dialog quickly goes back to the Pharisees who still did not understand what Jesus was talking about. They shout at Jesus that they are not slaves, but Jesus corrects them saying that “everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin”.(v34)

Jesus’ truths fell on many deaf ears, so He goes on to tell them “He who belongs to God hears what God says”. He proclaims that they belong to the devil, the father of lies; because they are seeking to kill Jesus and refusing to hear God’s word He is presenting to them. (vs 42- 47),

Jesus tells them that they follow the devil as father. Their hearts had been hardened by evil worldly desires and they are blind to understand or accept His word into their hearts.

2 Cor 4:4 says it this way “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

The words that Jesus spoke are hard truths, bringing fear to many people that day, as they should still for us today if we do not know Him as Lord and Savior.

But He also spoke of grace. Jesus offers discipleship and freedom to those believing in Him. Just as He says in (v36), “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Knowing we cannot save ourselves, God gave us the way. By grace, through the belief and acceptance of His Son, Jesus, we can be forgiven of our sins and accepted into the family of God.

It is never too early to believe, but it can be too late. Heed His warnings, and accept His grace.

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