Good Morning Gorgeous,
It’s a brand new day. A fresh new start. A new day to move ahead in the direction Jesus is calling you.
He is calling each of us ahead, forward into a holy life set apart where we hear His voice often and continually, where we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to do the will of the Father, and a life set free from the chains of sin.
A common verse you will hear quoted from the bible is “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
It is sometimes taken out of context, and used as a stand alone verse. Yes, the truth will set you free, but in the verse prior, Jesus taught how to know the truth…
Here is the full verse in context:
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:31-36 NIV
If you look closely at the teaching, Jesus is saying that as you follow Him and hold to His teaching, then you will know the truth, and that truth will set you free. It’s a cause and effect statement. You can’t have the truth of Jesus and the freedom it brings without being His follower. Instance after instance, people would give excuses of things they had to handle first before they could follow Him. And each time, He gave harsh answers.
The true disciples left everything at once and followed Him. They stayed with Him even when it got hard. Peter did fall for a short time after Jesus’s crucifixion, but then returned fully and committed His life afresh to Jesus. He didn’t turn away again even to the point of death later in his life. A true follower of Jesus follows Him wholeheartedly and fully.
And followers, listen and obey the one they follow.
He continues on to say that those who belong to the Son are set free forever, and are no longer slaves to sin.
As we turn and put our trust in Jesus, we demonstrate our faith by following Him and His instructions. He sets us free from serving sin as our master, and now we serve Jesus.We no longer have to serve old tendencies like addictions, idolatries, gossip, people pleasing, or anything else that traps us in unhealthy cycles.
Instead, we choose to turn to Jesus and His ways which set us free. Jesus enables us to no longer serve our old masters that lead to destruction. And instead elevates us from slaves to children of the Living God.
As children of God, we are set apart to live differently than the world. We are called to be a Holy nation who display Jesus through our walk, our talk, and our lives.
Jesus preached alot about His people being set apart. Our lives should look markedly different from our unbelieving friends. And our lives should also be so steeped in love and the peace of Jesus that people are attracted to what we have, and not turned off by it.
In the Old Testament, the Jewish people were God’s chosen people. They were set apart and given instructions for living that looked totally different from the pagan nations around them. The Jewish people lived by a moral code (the 10 commandments) literally given by God Himself, and God also gave them additional instructions so that they had systems in place for caring for the poor, for how to treat your spouse, for how to get along with your neighbors, and how to stay clean. Their way of living was elevated from the living of the time. It was filled with wisdom that kept them safe and healthy long before they knew about germs and food borne illnesses. In other words, the law was good for them and it set them apart from others.
Now, we come to the New Testament and Jesus again elevates His people and sets them apart. This time, the promise is extended from the Jewish people and now also includes ALL people who choose to put their faith in Jesus and follow Him.
And He clearly teaches that His sheep know His voice. His people follow His teachings.
His people are bright lights like a city on a hill.
His people are the salt of the earth.
His people will have the seal of The Holy Spirit. His people will have God’s laws written on their hearts.
His people will love God and love others.
His people will be known by how they love others and the fruit that they bear.
And the beautiful part….. his people are saved simply by their faith! No works or religious traditions are required for salvation, BUT let us not confuse grace with freedom to sin without consequence.
Grace is multifaceted. It is forgiveness of sins and also holy equipping to turn away from our old sin patterns and accept our new status as a new creation.
Jesus SETS us free by GRACE and also KEEPS us free by GRACE!
So how do we fully follow Jesus?
It starts with trusting Him by faith that He is the Son of God who died for our sins, and receiving forgiveness by confessing our need for Him as our personal Savior.
After that, we choose to study His Word to learn about Him and what He teaches us and we follow Him by obeying His Words. He summed up all of the commandments with these two:
1. Love God
2. Love your neighbor
So we are now set apart by how we love others. It’s not about getting a set of rules right anymore.
It’s about loving God so lavishly that we desire to please Him.
And loving others with a generous, lavish, over the top patient love that is slow to anger and quick to forgive.
If we are followers of Jesus, it means we love in a way that leaves the world shaking their heads in disbelief.
It means we appear set apart and shining bright like a city set apart on a a hill!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Set us apart like a city on a hill. Let Your Holy Spirit so shine through us that we are bright and filled with love for others. Help us to turn from our old ways and fully submit to becoming a new creation. Let us be full followers of Jesus Christ who leave all the old ways behind to follow You. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
3 thoughts on “Are you set apart as you follow Jesus Christ or do you still resemble your unbelieving friends?”
I am constantly amazed at many everyday sayings are directly from scripture. Unfortunately, taken out of context, the original meaning is watered down or at times, completely inaccurate. We have to be vigilant in understanding things like culture, customs, the original language, are you using a translation or a paraphrase….
But most importantly, let God speak to you as you read/memorize scripture, pray, listen to a sermon/podcast/worship music, or just talk to other believers.
Yes! It’s a continual journey of learning from God and being sanctified. And He is so gentle and merciful.
Love this break down and explanation and how you explained it as cause and effect! So much truth!!