As he was saying these things, many believed in him. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:30-32

Words matter.  Many words are equivocal, they mean different things.  So two people can converse and think they are communicating when they really are not.  And if words matter, then content matters.

I had a conversation with someone close to me recently who has grown up in the church and uses all the right language but is not saved because of two problems.  Of course the main reason she is still not born again is that the Holy Spirit has yet to ‘quicken’ her.   The other problem is that she has words, but not the correct content. She would maintain that she believes in Jesus, that He is the Son of God and that He died for our sins.  But she doesn’t believe she is a sinner who has God’s wrath bearing down on her.  She believes that the idea of a wrathful God (‘the one portrayed in the Old Testament’) comes from a primitive people’s understanding of God.  The god she likes is the god of the New Testament, namely Jesus, and He is a god of love.

Let’s return to our verse in John.  Jesus says that if we are to know the Truth, then we have to abide in His word. Therefore, it is important to know the content of the word we are abiding in. If the word is a doctrine, then we need to know the exact meaning of words that explain that doctrine.  If the word is a person, i.e. the Logos/2nd person of the Trinity, then we need to agree on the character of that Logos.  We can’t just make up what we think the words mean, whether they refer to doctrine or a person.

So this dear woman is still locked up in her sins, not yet set free by the Truth.

Pray with me that I can clearly and persuasively argue three points:

a)   God’s plan for redemption is one story throughout both testaments. Furthermore, this overarching mega-story begins early in the Old Testament, when Adam & Eve fall and God provide animal skins to cover their nakedness.  Not much later, God’s rescue plan is reinforced with a hint of Christ’s sacrifice to come when a substitute animal is caught in a nearby bush.  Finally, Moses is instructed to set up and teach the people to observe an elaborate sacrificial system pointing to Jesus, with the offering of animals and the transferring of sins on the scapegoat

b)   Our God is one God with many attributes.  God’s loving-kindness (chesed) in the Old Testament is as well known as His hatred for sin.  Jesus’ love in the New Testament is as prominent as his discussion about Hell.  God does not change

c)    Finally, what one must do to be saved?  Being baptized and attending services does not make one a Christian.   I want to carefully lay out the plan of salvation and not assume this woman understands what terms mean.

I’m thankful that the results lie in God’s hands.  I’m to do my part and trust Him for the rest.  May I faithfully represent the truth without pride or condemnation, but with humility and love.