DISCIPLES WHO KNOW THE TRUTH
"Ye shall become disciples indeed." This expression of Jesus I take to mean, that continuance in fellowship with Him will establish our characters, confirm us in the faith, and perfect us in all the graces; for " The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." We shall be His disciples indeed, knowing the mind of our Master, and doing the perfect will of God on earth as the angels do it in heaven. We shall be in constant communion with Him, knowing His voice; for He said, "And the sheep hear His voice. . . . and a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers."
We shall be stalwart Christians, established in the faith, and not carried about by every wind of doctrine; Christians whom the Devil can never trip up. The majority of persons who backslide, do so accidentally, or ignorantly, and not of set purpose; and in the first place do not sin at all, in any sense so as to grieve God or cut them off from Him; the Devil, "The accuser of the brethren," only makes them think so; and then they cast away their confidence and sin in reality. But abiding in Christ's word, they become disciples indeed, and are not ignorant of Satan's devices; permitting no person to condemn them or to approve them, but the Holy Spirit; for it is His exclusive province to convince of sin and of righteousness; that is, to convince the Christian, as well as the worldling, when he does wrong, and to tell him when he does right.
Another result of abiding in Christ's words, we shall know the truth.
Spiritual ignorance is to be credited with more backslidings and declensions in religion a hundred-fold, than intellectual ignorance. It is not ignorance of the letter of the Bible which is the supreme lack of Christians; but it is a lack of knowing the truth as it concerns the individual; the spiritual, personal, practical truth. The want of this knowledge is the great and crowning evil of modern Christian experience.
Essential truth is not so much the manner or mode of God's existence, or which of the various theories of the atonement is true; it is not the nature or duration of future punishment, or the nature of biblical inspiration, or whether all the parts of the Bible are equally inspired; nor is it the question of whether a second blessing is necessary for the Christian, important as all these questions are; but truth in the way Christ means it, is knowing the mind of God, and especially upon all questions which concern the individual.
The promise of Christ is, that the disciples indeed, shall know the truth. He means that we shall know the truth concerning the problems that are now, or ever will revolve in our mind; that we shall be freed from all anxious care. Christ says in effect, "I will show you the mind and will of God in all matters that affect you. I will open your eyes both to duty, and to privilege, as it affects heaven as well as earth; in short ye shall know the truth concerning all things that you either ought to know or that is good for you to know." " He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life."
Jesus said to His disciples on this question; "When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He shall guide you into all truth." That He clearly meant all truth, without any limitation, is seen by what He states further along in the same chapter; here it is, "He shall glorify Me for He shall receive of Mine and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are Mine; therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine and shall show it unto you." Thus it appears that the Holy Spirit is to show the Christian the truth in all matters that belong to Jesus; and Jesus possesses all things that are possessed by Almighty God. That is, Jesus possesses and controls all there is of matter and mind. "He made all things, and by Him all things consist." These are the things of Jesus, the Spirit is to reveal. This takes in health, business, pleasures, family, education, duty, church, and every other conceivable and inconceivable thing.
Some teachers limit the truth that Christ shall cause the Christian to know, to what they call spiritual truth, meaning thereby truth pertaining to forgiveness of sins, adoption, assurance and kindred things; and they deny that He will teach anything about what are called secular subjects. The fact is that everything in which the Christian is interested has a bearing upon his spiritual life, so that all things are spiritual. If the Holy Spirit does not shine upon business, upon social and family affairs, in fact upon all the affairs of life, then I declare it is impossible to continue a Christian. It is upon the rock of this pernicious
teaching, limiting the power of the Holy Ghost, that young converts make shipwreck of faith.
My reader, if you abide in Christ's word, you shall know the truth in reference to all things, in such a way, that you will always know how to act in every emergency, so as to please God, and satisfy yourself. This is the wonderful promise of Jesus, and the only thing needful to make it real to you, and to prove the truth of the statement, is to acknowledge the literal presence of Jesus with you, through the Holy Spirit, and simply trust Him to carry out His words; for said He," And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."
Cut yourself loose from all the vain traditions of men, and be conscious of the personal presence of God the Spirit and rely wholly upon Him. He will speak to your heart and mind, and will teach you all things as you need, or are able to bear teaching; and never did skilful teacher give his lessons in better proportion as to your capacity, and more in harmony with your eternal needs, than does the wise and sympathetic Jesus; for " He knoweth our frame, and He remembereth that we are dust.
No parent was ever more truly indulgent to a child; no betrothed was ever half so fond of the company of his lover, and no teacher was ever more anxious for the education of his pupil, than Jesus is. If you unconsciously, or even forgetfully blunder in your lessons, He will not turn you out of His school, nor will He as much as frown upon you. Nothing but sin will grieve Him, and that He forgives the moment it is repented of; and no act is sin to the disciple of Jesus, but a known violation of the will of God. And hence it follows, any sincere person may continue in His word, and learn to know the truth about everything as it is in Jesus.