TOPIC: Hearts Purified by Faith
SCRIPTURE: John 8:31–32, 36
If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. . . Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
What is “the truth” that Jesus says has the power to set us free? Remember, our Lord was speaking to the Jewish people, so “the truth that they shall know” could not have been the old covenant of the law, which they were already well versed in. Knowing and attempting to keep the law to earn their righteousness had not given them the freedom they sought. It had, in fact, become for them an impossibly heavy yoke to bear.
To understand what “the truth” is, I want to bring you to Acts 15, where the Jerusalem Council had convened to debate which of the old covenant laws should be imposed on Gentile believers. Look at what Peter said:
“So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”
When Peter spoke about God giving the Holy Spirit to the Gentile believers in the same way that He had given the Holy Spirit to the Jewish believers, he was referring to his preaching to Cornelius’s household and how the Holy Spirit fell upon all the Gentiles there who heard him as he was speaking these words: “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43–44). Notice that when the Gentiles there simply put their faith in the Lord Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins, they were filled with the Holy Spirit!
The Jewish believers who were present with Peter then were astonished to see how even Gentiles could receive the Holy Spirit in the same way they did (Acts 10:45–46). It was an unprecedented, unthinkable phenomenon for the Jews of the early church to witness, since under Old Testament laws, Gentiles were considered unclean (Acts 10:28). Later, the Jewish believers acknowledged that God had also granted to the Gentiles “repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18 KJV)!
This brings me to my next point. At the Jerusalem Council, Peter stated that the hearts of the Gentile believers were purified by faith (Acts 15:9)! Not by works, but by their believing right—believing that those who believed in the Lord would receive the remission of sins and be made the righteousness of God. Can you see that?
How are we made righteous today? How are our hearts purified today? By faith in our Lord’s finished work at the cross!
Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). Now, who are the pure in heart? Those whose hearts have been purified by faith. Amen! This is how we use scripture to interpret scripture. So don’t let someone tell you that in order to have a pure heart, you need to do this and that, and if you fail to keep to their list of dos and don’ts, your heart will not be pure.
Can you see how dangerous man’s opinions can be? Just like that, precious believers can come under great fear that if they aren’t doing something hard enough to continually keep their hearts pure, they will lose their salvation and end up not seeing the Lord.
According to the authority of God’s Word, our hearts are purified by faith in our Lord Jesus. Hallelujah! Let this truth put an unshakable confidence in your heart concerning your salvation, your relationship with the Lord, your future, and good things happening to and for you.
This devotional is taken from the book Glorious Grace—100 Daily Readings from Grace Revolution.