If you deny this, you’ll never be happy…

At the end of John 6, Jesus’ following had dwindled from thousands to only twelve. Jesus says to those who remained, “Do you want to go away as well?”  The apostle Peter speaks for the group, and gives us the essence of what it means to be a true disciple of Christ. 

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69)

Those first few words –“Lord, to whom shall we go?” The answer to Peter’s question is of course, nowhere but Christ. He alone has the words of eternal life. We are helpless and hopeless apart from Him. We can’t atone for sin. We have no way to be reconciled to God. We can’t earn forgiveness. We have no meaning, no purpose, no real hope. We can’t look to ourselves for what we truly need, we have to look to Him — a difficult thing for the sinful human heart to come to grips with, but it is essential to true discipleship.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says it well:

“To make it quite practical I have a very simple test. After I have explained the way of Christ to somebody I say “Now, are you ready to say that you are a Christian?” And they hesitate. And then I say, “What’s the matter? Why are you hesitating?” And so often people say, “I don’t feel like I’m good enough yet. I don’t think I’m ready to say I’m a Christian now.” And at once I know that I have been wasting my breath. They are still thinking in terms of themselves. They have to do it. It sounds very modest to say, “Well, I don’t think I’ good enough,” but it’s a very denial of the faith. The very essence of the Christian faith is to say that He is good enough and I am in Him. As long as you go on thinking about yourself like that and saying, “I’m not good enough; Oh, I’m not good enough,” you are denying God – you are denying the gospel – you are denying the very essence of the faith and you will never be happy. You think you’re better at times and then again you will find you are not as good at other times than you thought you were. You will be up and down forever. How can I put it plainly? It doesn’t matter if you have almost entered into the depths of hell. It does not matter if you are guilty of murder as well as every other vile sin. It does not matter from the standpoint of being justified before God at all. You are no more hopeless than the most moral and respectable person in the world.” -D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69)

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