John Riley | 20 December 2019
"This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God." (John 1:2)
There were two foods I didn’t try until college. My mom spoke badly about both and their names made me assume they were gross. Cheesecake and blue cheese salad dressing were off my list, not interested, no thanks! Then, a friend made a cheesecake from scratch and insisted I try it. I refused. Cheese in a cake? That doesn’t belong there. My friend explained, “Its cream cheese. It’s actually sweet. Please, just take a bite.” That day cheesecake became a favorite dessert. Later I tried blue cheese salad dressing and learned I like it, too.
People can be wrong about things.
Many people have the wrong idea about our flesh, our humanity. God made people and said, they were good. But the fall – sin, brought the knowledge of good and evil, and with that, death and the consequences of God’s curse on earth. Bad became part of the good, and today many of us identify with the bad more than the good.
A few years ago, I was asked by a Biblical counselor, “Are you a good person?” Bear in mind, I had been a pastor serving the Lord for over 15 years at this point and a follower of Jesus for many more. My answer, “No, I’m a sinner.” He challenged me, “Wait, didn’t you say you were a Jesus follower?” Our conversation probably took another 20 minutes with him reminding me of truths from scripture and with me trying to acquiesce, “Well, I’m a sinner saved by grace.” “So, does that make you a good person?” Struggling to say yes, I admitted, “When God looks at me,
because of Jesus’ blood, he sees a saint and not a sinner.” Well, is God looking at you now? Does God ever stop looking at you?
I was safe or comfortable owning the sinner part, the fallen part, the broken part of my flesh. But it was hard for me to believe the truth that God had already redeemed my flesh. Not only was it created good, but it has been restored through Jesus.
Why do believers camp out in being totally depraved but not totally restored? We own our sinfulness as if that equals what humanity is supposed to be. The truth is, sin robs humans of their humanity.
Jesus came in the flesh and his life validates the flesh, validates being human. For centuries, people have been equating the flesh with evil, but Jesus came in the flesh. Speaking about various viewpoints, ideas, or the “truth” vs. “falsehood” in 1 John 4, the apostle writes the verse listed above which lead into:
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world… …This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. (John 1:4, 6b)
Recognize that Jesus came in the flesh, and we are redeemed. Let’s live out that truth.
Jr. High Pastor