The Test of Loyalty to Christ
The Test of Loyalty to Christ
Zac Poonen | 7 August 2022
If God sees that a believer is not earnest about godliness, or that he is a coward, afraid to stand up for the truth (that he sees in Scripture), fearing criticism from others, then God will hide this truth from him - for it is called “the secret of godliness” (1 Tim.3:16). God reveals His secrets only to those who fear Him (Psa.25:14). It is dangerous to be a coward in the things of God, for " the cowardly" are listed in Revelation 21:8, as the first persons to be sent to the lake of fire - even ahead of “murderers, immoral persons, sorcerers and idolaters”!
Martin Luther said: “If I profess loudly to believe every portion of God's truth but keep silent on that particular truth which the devil is attacking at this time, then I am not really confessing Christ. It is at the point where the battle is fiercest at present, that the loyalty of a soldier is tested. And to be faithful in all the other areas of the battlefield is worthless and disgraceful, if the soldier does not stand firm at the present point of conflict.”
It is around the truth that “Christ was tempted exactly as we are but did not sin” (Heb.4:15) that the battle has been fiercest for the past 47 years against our churches in India. But we have stood as “ a pillar and support of this truth” (1 Tim.3:15) and proclaimed it boldly and unashamedly. And we have seen the result in numerous transformed lives.
Notice in 1 Timothy 3:16 that the secret of godliness is not in “the doctrine of Christ coming in the flesh” but in “the Person of Christ Who came in the flesh”. Many have become Pharisees by looking at this as a doctrine, and not looking at the Person of Christ Himself. “The letter (even of correct doctrine) kills. The Spirit alone gives life” (2 Cor.3:6). We are to point people to Christ Himself and not to any doctrine.
To confess with our spirit (and not just with our mind - 1 John 4:2 ) that Jesus came in the flesh, means first of all, that we believe with all our heart, that He was tempted just like we are, that He did not have access to any more of the power of the Spirit than we have access to, and that we can walk as He walked, if we are wholehearted (1 John 2:6).
It also means that our spirit longs to follow in His footsteps - never wanting to seek our own and never wanting to do our own will. We need the revelation of the Spirit to understand the education (in obedience to His Father) that Jesus learnt during His earthly days, through His temptations. It is written that “although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Heb.5:8). He was utterly faithful in His battle against every temptation. He was also faithful in “pouring out His soul-life to death” (Isa.53:12 - KJV). Thus, the fulness of God's life was manifested through His body. Very few come to the point where they pour out their soul-life also to death, in their pursuit of sanctification, because very few are faithful in God's sight, in battling against all known sin in their life, first of all.
Many believers are missing the will of God in their lives because they have not understood this truth about the new and living way that Jesus made for us through His flesh (Heb.10:20). Jesus said that we must know the truth first and then “the truth will set us free” (John 8:32).