4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. – John 15:4-5
Jesus provides us with all things necessary for salvation and righteousness. His sacrifice is sufficient to atone for our sins and the cleansing of His Spirit teaches us how to walk in His ways and not our own. As we continue in this faith, we are “fruitful” in the knowledge of the Lord and in good works that glorify God as we build one another up in the things of the Kingdom of God and we will live with Jesus forever.
This is the gospel. We need forgiveness for sins because we are sinners and there is nothing that we can do to save ourselves from the just reward for our sin, which is death. We also have no ability to truly know, understand, or perform righteousness that is pleasing to God without the Holy Spirit working in us.
With these fundamentals of the Christian faith in mind, we might consider ways in which we might “defile our garments” as those who “have a name that they live and are dead.”
First, we do disrespect to the sacrifice of Jesus. We can disrespect His sacrifice by considering it to be insufficient to atone for our sins, so we add our own works and consider these to be counted towards our salvation. We can disrespect His sacrifice by taking His blood upon us without sincere commitment to living a Christian life as one who seeks Jesus to teach us, change our hearts, gift us in the Spirit, and use us for His purposes.
In more simplified terms, there is legalism on one hand and lasciviousness on the other, both of which disrespect the sacrifice of Jesus and neglect the Spirit that Jesus promised to give those who keep His commandments. If we are not walking in the Spirit as those who abide in Christ and learn of the Holy Spirit, then we are walking in the flesh and death. The Spirit makes alive. The law and the flesh kill.
Here are some scriptures that might help us consider the ways of Sardis and help us to overcome. This list might be updated as These Things Saith He is completed. Feel free to leave suggested scripture for reading in the comments.
- John 14
- John 3
- Romans 8
- Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22 and Luke 14)
PREVIOUS CHAPTER: These Things Saith He — Overcoming Sardis
The above is the draft version of a chapter to a book I plan to write and publish in a manner that is free of charge to the public.
I wrote in These Things Saith He: Contents that I will publish the drafts here first and offer opportunity for others to share their thoughts before the final work is completed.
I’m open to and greatly value the insight, experiences, and thoughts of my Christian brethren because we are a body knit together in Christ that is meant to work together without over reliance on our leaders. I am not your leader, but I do try to be faithful to what I have received to the best of my ability, and I look to Jesus for gracious judgment of my service and the service of all who truly love Him.