Today's Foundations Devotional: Proof of discipleship

If Christ is in this sense perfectly one with the Bible, then it follows that the relationship of the believer to the Bible must be the same as his relationship to Christ. To this fact the Scriptures bear testimony in many places.

Let us turn first to John 14. In this chapter Jesus warns His disciples that He is about to be taken from them in bodily presence and that there-after there must be a new kind of relationship between Him and them. The disciples are unable and unwilling to accept this impending change. In particular they are unable to understand how, if Christ is about to go away from them, they will still be able to see Him or have communion with Him. Christ tells them:

A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me (John 14:19).

The final phrase of that verse might also be rendered, “but you will continue to see Me.” Because of this statement, Judas (not Iscariot, but the other Judas) asks:

Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world? (John 14:22).

In other words: “Lord, if You are going away, and if the world will see You no more, how can You still manifest Yourself to us, Your disciples, but not to those who are not Your disciples? What kind of communication will You maintain with us, which will not be open to the world?”

Jesus answers:

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him (John 14:23).

The key to understanding this answer is found in the phrase “he will keep My word.” The distinguishing mark between a true disciple and a person of the world is that a true disciple keeps Christ’s word. Revealed in Christ’s answer are four facts of vital importance for every person who sincerely desires to be a Christian. For the sake of clarity, let me first repeat the answer of Jesus:

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him (John 14:23).

Here, then, are the four vital facts:

1. Keeping God’s Word is the supreme feature which distinguishes the disciple of Christ from the rest of the world.

2. Keeping God’s Word is the supreme test of the disciple’s love for God and the supreme cause of God’s favour toward the disciple.

3. Christ manifests Himself to the disciple through God’s Word, as it is kept and obeyed.

4. The Father and the Son come into the life of the disciple and establish their enduring home with him through God’s Word.

Lord Jesus, it remains an unspeakable miracle that You have come to dwell in me through Your Spirit, and that I - guided and directed by that same Holy Spirit - may in turn love You again by loving Your Word and doing what You say. Let Your love change me constantly and through me the world around me! Amen.

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