IT’S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW BUT WHO YOU KNOW

 

IT’S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW BUT WHO YOU KNOW 3-20-18
John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
John 14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
Luke 13:27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
I don’t know why it has never occurred to me to write on this subject until today. We use this title statement quite often. But, have you ever put a spiritual application to it? We usually use it to explain someone being recognized or rewarded for something they have supposedly achieved when it is not warranted but rather just because of their associations. If you stop and think about it; that describes us as Christians perfectly. We are recognized by God and are rewarded daily not because of our accomplishments but simply because of who we know: Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Isaiah 64:6 says that “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” We have never done one thing to merit the salvation of the Lord. Nothing we could have ever done could ever make us deserving of God’s mercy and grace. Yet, Romans 10:9-10 gives us the recipe for salvation. It says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” The 13th verse of that chapter says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That doesn’t leave any room for bragging on anything that we have done does it? Jesus even taught his disciples in Mark 8:34 “…Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” In Revelation 22:17 the bible says, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Even Isaiah 1:18 in the Old Testament says, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” It don’t sound like it leaves any way for us to get to heaven apart from knowing the Lord.
Some religions would have you to believe that you can earn your righteousness. God said he would reason with us but he never said that we deserved it. The first thing he mentioned in Isaiah 1:18 was that we were sinful. We have the opportunity to come to him but it is definitely not because we deserve it but just because he is merciful to us. Many people spend their lives doing rituals and adhering to personal standards of good living that, while admirable and display good character, can never provide salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.” You cannot earn a gift because by definition a gift is something bestowed or acquired without any particular effort by the recipient or without it being earned. If the forgiveness of sins could be earned, then anyone that earned it could boast about their accomplishments. In Galatians 6:14, Paul said “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…” Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Wages by definition, are earned. Death is what we have earned by our sin and that is what we deserve. But God chose instead to give us the gift of eternal life. He gave us what we didn’t earn or deserve. Like Ephesians 2:8 said in the earlier verse, it is not of ourselves but rather just by his grace.
So if the grace of God and his salvation which is the forgiveness of our sins, can’t be earned or bought and isn’t deserved, that only leaves one way for us to have it; it is a gift form God himself. It is not given by any man nor is it controlled or delegated by any man. It is not the result of rituals or even clean living. Grace is defined as a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior. The fifth definition listed on Dictionary.com summed it up in three words: mercy, clemency, pardon. The number “5” throughout the bible represents the grace of God. That is exactly what Christ does for anyone that believes and accepts him as their Savior, pardons our sin. Pardon means to release from the penalty of an offence. Clemency is defined as having a disposition to show forbearance, compassion, or forgiveness in judging. It is hard to describe grace any better than that. Isaiah 55:6 says, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” I am glad that the Lord don’t just pardon but he does it abundantly. That means in great quantity and more than adequate and over sufficient.  More than enough. That means that God don’t just pardon us but he goes overboard in pardoning and forgiving and giving us grace. Let that roll around in your mind for a minute; “he will abundantly pardon.”
Since we obviously can’t earn God’s grace and we don’t deserve his grace and we can’t purchase his grace; that only leaves one way to obtain it: it is a free gift. That in itself means that regardless of our sin or social standing, we all have equal opportunity to receive his grace and also have equal need for it. Romans 3:22-23 says it like this, “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” To quote an old saying, “The ground is level at the foot of the cross.” Grace and the forgiveness of sin came only by the death of Christ on the cross for all humanity. It comes by no one else. The only Holy Father is God himself. Micah said it like this in Micah 7:18, “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.” I am thankful that he delights in mercy. The book of 1 John 5:20 sums it up like this; “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”
I am glad that my forgiveness doesn’t come by what I know or what I do but only because of what Christ has done and because I know him. Like I said to begin with; “It is not WHAT you know but WHO you know,” that makes the difference between eternity with the Lord in heaven and eternity in hell without him. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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