More Thoughts on Continue in the Teaching

img_4323-22 John 1:9

Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son (NIV).

Why is it important that we continue in the teaching about Christ? Some things are best said directly and simply. It is important because our relationship with God depends on our continuance in the teaching about Christ.

There can be no real relationship apart from truth. We require true knowledge to have a real relationship. As Frame said, we can think of knowledge in three ways: a knowledge of facts (“knowing that…”), a knowledge of skills (“knowing how…”), and a knowledge of persons (“knowing whom…”). Obviously, there is a difference between merely knowing the facts about a person and having a personal knowledge of that person. I have friends in Ohio whom none of you outside of my family have met. I could tell you facts about them, but that wouldn’t be equivalent to knowing them. This is the problem many religious people have about their knowledge of God. They know some facts about him, but they do not know God personally.

However, we cannot in truth have a real relationship with a person if our knowledge of that person fails to agree with what he or she actually is. For example, my wife’s name is Sharon. Some of you know her, and if I talk about her with words that agree with who she really is, you would agree that she is my wife. But if I said that my wife Sharon has black hair, brown eyes, grew up in Uzbekistan, and graduated with a law degree from Harvard, you would say, “Whoa, that’s not the Sharon we know!” Since the only way to know God is to know him through the Son, including who he is, what he teaches, and what he has done to save sinners, if anyone goes beyond the teaching about Christ, he or she does not have God. (To “have” someone means to be in a relationship with that person.) The Bible clearly says that you cannot have a personal relationship with God, except through knowing Christ, the Son of God (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 John 2:22-23; 5:12-13).

You may have a true relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Right now, listen to what God tells you about himself in the Bible; agree in your heart that you need the salvation Christ accomplished through his death and resurrection, and trust in Christ as your Lord and Savior. You may change your mind and believe the good news right where you read this.

It is this teaching that puts true Christianity in opposition to the attitude of our culture. We live among a people who falsely assume that any individual has the right to determine what truth is, that whatever anybody thinks about religion and/or spirituality is what is right for him or her, and that no one has the right to say that anybody else is wrong. By the way, the people of our culture are incredibly naïve, because they fail to realize that they are far outnumbered in the world by Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and true Christians who do not share their life in Tolerate Everything Fantasy Land or whatever imaginary world they live in. But I do not want to digress too far into social commentary.

The Lord through John plainly says that we must remain true to the teaching about Christ, or we do not have a relationship with God! Those who claim to be Christians in our time must decide now whether they will surrender to the foolish ideas of our culture or stand up for the truth that is Jesus. There are only two options; one leads to life and the other to death. You cannot walk in opposite directions at the same time. People are not going to like it when you stand up for Christ as the exclusive way of salvation. You should not expect them to like it; you must be prepared for unpleasant reactions when you stand up for this truth. The teaching about Christ is essential part of a real relationship with him.

What encouragement does this provide? We have a personal, saving relationship with God the Creator, Sustainer, and Ruler of all. We have life in his Son! If you have God, you have what is best and worth more than all else. Therefore, rejoice and be content!

Grace and peace, David

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