Friday, November 10, 2017

The Vision (11/10/17): A Secret Movement of Faith

Image: Fall scene, North Garden, Virginia, November 2017

Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on John 5:1-14.

Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee (John 5:14).

With v. 14 we have Christ’s second meeting with the “impotent” man whom he healed at the pool of Bethesda. This meeting occurs in the temple. Here is yet another example in John of a process of spiritual transformation. It often takes more than one encounter with Christ for real transformation to occur.

Calvin suggests some “secret movement of faith” in this man’s life. Even after he was physically healed, the man did not know his Physician (cf. v. 13: “And he that was healed wist [knew] not who it was…”). Calvin adds:

Again, in the person of this man it is important for us to observe with what gentleness and condescension the Lord bears with us.

Indeed, the roots of vices are too deep in us to be capable of being torn out in a single day, or in a few days; and the cure of the diseases of the soul is too difficult to be affected by remedies applied for a short time.

We have a snippet of their conversation here in v. 14. Notice three things:

First, Christ declares the man’s full physical healing: “Behold, thou art made whole.”

Second, he demands spiritual renovation: “sin no more.” Compare his words later to the adulteress (John 8:11: “Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.”). Clearly, Jesus’s concern is not merely with the man’s physical restoration. This is where the social gospel crowd goes astray. Jesus would not merely save a man’s body and neglect his soul.

Finally, notice that he also warns the man of God’s wrath, lest he repent: “lest a worse thing come unto thee.”

There are worse things than being physically disabled. There are worse things than suffering with some malady for 38 years, even if it covers all 38 years of one’s existence upon earth. Think of the thing that brings you the most temporal vexation. Remember that there are worse things than that.

The worst thing is to fail to repent one one’s sin and to trust in Christ and to face the just wrath of a holy God. But Christ is patient, and he meets with men more than once to awaken spiritual life in those who would believe.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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