Logos and Rhema, An Exaltation of Logos, Part 5
by Karl Kemp
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We begin Part 5 in the middle of a discussion of John 8:44, while discussing John 8:37-47. I always use the NASB, 1995 edition, unless otherwise noted.
"But the Son of God appeared for this purpose, to do away with the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8). Throughout this epistle the apostle John emphasizes the glorious truth that born-again Christians are called and enabled to walk with the victory over all sin (by grace through faith). In other words, He takes away their sins in the glorious sense that they aren't sinning anymore. That's the ideal presented in the new covenant.
I'll quote a few sentences from what Donald Burdick says under 1 John 3:8 ["The Letters of John the Apostle" (Moody Press, 1985), page 243]: "The devil's works are all the sinful attitudes and activities of which he is the source, whether directly or indirectly. ... ...in this context destroying the works of the devil is parallel to taking away sins (see on 1 John 3:5). That is to say that Christ is here and now destroying or removing sins. He came to give believers victory over sin, and thus to destroy the sins that otherwise would fill people's lives." And I'll quote part of what F. F. Bruce says here ["The Epistles of John" (Eerdmans, 1983 reprint), page 91]: "Chief of the devil's works is sin, which the Son of God came to take away (cf. verse 5). How can one in whose life sin has manifestly not been destroyed or taken away claim to dwell in Christ? Is it not rather self-evident that he belongs to the family which is characterized by rebellion against God, and whose head is the arch-rebel?"
As I mentioned, in the ideal case Christians won't be sinning at all, and they certainly won't be sinning after they are glorified through new-covenant salvation at the end of this age. Also, by the time of the great-white-throne judgment at the end of the millennial kingdom, God will have removed all the works of the devil forever from God's kingdom through removing the devil and all who continue to follow him in sin (without repentance). The Lord Jesus will remove them from God's kingdom and cast them in the eternal lake of fire (see Matt. 25:41, 46; Rev. 19:20; 20:10, 14, 15). There won't be any more sinning (or the ugly results that come with sinning) in God's kingdom after that.] Now back to John 8:44:]] and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him [in the devil]. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (45) But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. (46) Which one of you convicts Me of sin? [They accuse Him of sin, but they could never prove that He sinned, because He didn't.] If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? (47) He who is of God hears the words [plural of rhema] of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.' "
It is no surprise that for the people described in these verses that Jesus' word [logos] "has no place in [them]" (verse 37). They not only reject Him and His word, but they seek to kill Him too, which they eventually accomplish because His atoning death is the center of God's plan of salvation. He says that they are not children of God (verses 42, 47), but that they qualify to be called children of the devil (verse 38, 41, 44), who do the works of the devil (verses 38, 41, 44). Compare 1 John 3:10-12. Children of the devil (who is a rebel, a murderer, and the father of lies, and liars) will not be open to repent and love the truth, which includes God's righteousness and holiness [cf. Eph. 4:24].
John 14:23, 24. "Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, He will keep My word [logos]; and My Father will love him, and We will come and make Our abode with him. (24) He who does not love Me does not keep My words [plural of logos]; and the word [logos] which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me." These words are aimed at disciples, exhorting them with the need to love Christ Jesus and keep His Word, which includes continuing in His Word to the end of the race. He says here that if we love Him we will make it a top priority [to understand His Word and] to be doers of His Word. (A very large number of verses throughout the New Testament show that we must continue to be doers of the God's Word until the end. This is required of all Christians. He also says that if we don't love Him, we won't keep His words, which are words He received from God the Father. Whether we love the Lord Jesus and the One who sent Him in our hearts is the issue. Even though God's Word is alive, etc., it won't produce lasting fruit in the hearts and lives of those who don't love God, His Son, and His Word. Also see John 14:15. The only way we can love God and His Son, as we must, is by appropriating the grace of God that we learn about through His Word, which includes all the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Acts 17:11, 12. "Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word [logos] with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. (12) Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men." We must humble ourselves before God and His Word and sincerely seek Him for the truth, the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches. God can enlighten those who approach Him and His Word with an eagerness to know the truth and to be doers of the truth (by grace through faith).
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12. "that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders [referring to Antichrist], (10) and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish [Wickedness can be deceptive, as with Eve in the Garden, but we have no excuse for listening to the devil, who tries to make sin look good (and righteousness look bad) through his lies.], because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. [As the apostle Paul will go on to say in verse 12, they did not believe the truth of the gospel. They did not love the truth of the gospel. The righteousness of God was not something they longed for in their hearts; rather, they "took pleasure in wickedness" and were not about to repent.] (11) For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence [referring here to the coming of Antichrist] so that they will believe what is false [As I mentioned, God doesn't want to draw people to His Son and the gospel who are committed to evil, without repentance. He allows false prophets, etc.], (12) in order that they all may be judged [condemned] who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness." For those who reject God, His Son, His salvation, and His righteousness, He gives them Antichrist to believe in, who will lead them to destruction.
It is easy to see why God's Word, which is alive, powerful, and effective for those who will submit to God and His Word isn't alive, powerful, or effective in hearts that are committed to sin. The gospel isn't good news for those who have no desire for God or His righteousness, but rather "[take] pleasure in wickedness," and whose hearts cannot be persuaded to change (by God's grace) and become good soil.
I'll close this study by quoting several more important verses that demonstrate the exalted use of logos in the New Testament:
Matthew 24:35 (Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33). "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words [plural of logos] will not pass away."
Luke 10:38-42. "Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. (39) She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word [logos]. [We must all make it a top priority to listen to God's Word, because it is God's Word. Essentially everything is dependent on our listening to His Word with the intention of living it by His grace through faith.] (40) But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.' But the Lord answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about many things; (42) but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.' " We are responsible to do other things too, of course, but God, His Son, His Word, and His righteousness must be top priority.
Luke 24:19. "And He [Jesus] said to them [to the two men on the road to Emmaus], 'What things?' And they said to Him, 'The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word [logos] in the sight of God and all the people.' "
John 4:50. "Jesus said to him [to the royal official whose son was sick at Capernaum], 'Go, your son lives.' The man believed the word [logos] that Jesus spoke to him and started off." Verses 51-54 show that the son was healed, and the man "himself believed [believed the gospel] and his whole household."
Acts 14:3. "Therefore they [Paul and Barnabus] spent a long time there [in Iconium] speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word [logos] of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands."
Romans 9:9. "For this is a word [logos] of promise, 'At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son.' "
2 Timothy 2:15. "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word [logos] of truth."
May God be glorified through this paper and His people be edified!
© Copyright by Karl Kemp.
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