I John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.[Some manuscripts you know everything] 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us[Some manuscripts you]—eternal life. ESV
Right from the beginning of this passage there are two hard truths to think about and accept. They are the Apostle’s warning: “it is the last hour” and “many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.” There is a toxic residue in real life because of the truth of those two statements even though they were written so long ago. It would all be so depressing if it weren’t for Verse 20 “But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.[Some manuscripts you know everything]. That has become the catalyst for my thoughts this morning.
We are exhorted to “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.” We all know one “canned” answer of faith is “it’s not WHAT you know but WHO you know.” This warning is for me [and you]. It’s dangerous to count on what I think I know for my salvation even when I’m willing to acknowledge the many things I don’t know.
In the midst of the circumstances of life filled with that toxic residue of those first two hard statements WHAT I know about WHO I know is very important but even that will not save me. I am surely saved by faith, but not my own. There is a reality that overcomes toxic circumstances to make joy possible in this physical life. It’s also the unbreakable thread of truth that ties me to eternity.
I am simply saved because of Christ’s faith…in me.
John 9:1 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” 3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.4 We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.5 But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.” NLT
Real life is less than a perfect display place but
The purpose of Jesus was not limited by “dis-ability”
“so the power of God could be seen.”
“But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world”
“You are the light of the world.
—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden…
so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”a
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for…13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. NIV
Hebrews 11 is called the “By Faith” chapter. Twenty one times it uses that phrase to show the human side of the real life of notable “ancients” elsewhere in the Bible. The intersection of living by faith and the evidence of real life circumstance was just as mysterious for them as it is for me today as a new widow but they were commended for living “by faith.” Oswald Chambers said “Believe God is always the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him” so…
I will live by faith believing life is different, but still good
I will live by faith that what I can’t control does not mean I am helpless
I will live by faith that redeems without me knowing all the details
I will live by faith in yet undiscovered reserves of strength
I will “live” by faith that Jesus is nearest to me right now
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Real life has provided me an opportunity to remember how wide the separation between what I believe and what my response to circumstances can be. Today I feel like Peter, sputtering my assurances to justify my lack of strength, peace and joy even at the same time I’m convinced of my own repentance. It’s a mystery isn’t it?
Even a life of faith and absolute commitment has moments when facing your own brokenness is a harsh reality. I’ve read these verses countless times before but today Peter’s attempt to reassure Jesus of his love has become more real because it seems like mine too. “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Simon Peter knew the harsh reality of his brokenness. The intensity of his words is almost tangible as he responds to Jesus taking him through that progression of the same question over and over; “do you love me?” Jesus could just as easily have said “I forgive you.” Peter would have expected that forgiveness, and been comforted…but Jesus had something more to give Peter during that early morning confrontation of vows and responses. There was one thing that would ultimately forgive Peter’s lack of strength, comfort his loss of peace and restore his joy too.
Jesus’s gave Peter His trust!
…knowing Peter would complete his vows of love and
“feed my lambs…take care of my sheep…feed my sheep.”