There’s a lot of knowing going on

Monday Musings for April 01, 2019

Good morning, Musers,

I have a devotional thought for you today… and I’d like to start with a (loose) quotation that is usually attributed to the likes of Mark Twain or Will Rogers. Actually, a lot of people have said this kind of thing… so, I will not assign authorship… but it usually makes the rounds around election time. That being said, it serves today’s thoughts nicely, so I’ll press it into service, even though we are in the ebb of the current election cycle.

“It’s not what he doesn’t know that bothers me. It’s what he knows for sure that just ain’t so.”

There’s certainly a lot of “knowing” going on out there in the world. The problem is that “knowing” something doesn’t make it true. But… and just as the above quote implies… the trouble is deeper still when people are confident in their ignorance. At that point, knowing is poisonous.

For instance, most people who believe in a heaven-or-hell type of afterlife “know for sure” that reward awaits those who have done good things on earth and punishment awaits those who have done bad things. But that’s a wrong piece of "knowing." That describes salvation by works — which should be anathema to any Bible-believing Christian.

The problem here is that this assertion is not merely wrong; it’s the antithesis to what is right! To be saved, a person must rely on the atoning work of Jesus Christ — and not on “works of righteousness” which they have done (Titus 3:5). They should be knowing how to be saved and not knowing its opposite.

You see, the world has it backward… but the word has it frontwards. We who believe in Jesus “have” eternal life — and we have it right now! Furthermore, we’ve already crossed over from death unto life — and we will never be judged!

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24, NIV)

So, what’s not to love about the Gospel? Why dismiss eternal security and travel the more difficult road that — although everyone “knows for sure” leads to heaven — actually leads to hell? Look what knowing the wrong thing does.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21–23, NIV)

Now, among those who have been saved, they should be known for doing “good works” … or else their faith could legitimately be challenged (James 1:22). But that is putting the cart behind the horse where it belongs! (Ephesians 2:10). We’re not doing good deeds to impress anybody or to buy a ticket to heaven. We’re doing them out of love to God and the love of humanity, which — according to Jesus — is the essence of the Ten Commandments (Matthew 22:37-39).

Here’s where the right kind of knowledge can help you: Only a person who knows for sure that he is saved can rest in God’s provision. For him, heaven is no longer a crap shoot based on how long he can refrain from sinning, how many “good works” he could pile onto his cart — and by what standards those will all be evaluated.

So, how does all this work? Jesus took our place on the cross — and there, he was judged for our sins (Galatians 3:13). And since it was a once and for all kind of deal (John 19:30), we should be thankful for his gift (John 3:16)… and that thankfulness should melt away any doubt about where we’ll spend eternity.

So, today I implore you to rest in your knowledge. Just make sure you are “knowing for sure” the right thing… or should I say, the right person?

“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:11–13, NIV, emphasis mine)

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