What freedom the Lord had, even in the hours leading up to His arrest and crucifixion, by which he could say, “the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me” (14:30). This, in a sense, sums up the entire goal of the Christian life. God’s definition of a pure, undefiled religion is “to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27). There is no greater example of pure, undefiled religion than the life of Jesus!
He nullifies all the supposed wisdom of our modern church growth strategists. They would see Jesus’ following dwindling down to twelve, all of whom flee out of fear, before the very leader of the “movement” goes to his death. This program-driven, numbers-based success model would be utterly blind to the success of Jesus Christ. Because the devil had nothing in Him, Jesus had already triumphed over him and overcome the world. Because the devil had nothing in Him, Jesus would defeat death, rise again, build His church, and hell would not prevail against it!
We may be tempted to think God’s primary goal is getting us to an external, measurable point of success in church, ministry, or personal life. If our church could grow in numbers, or if our ministry could become well-known, then… If I could learn these skills, get this job, or read five chapters of the Bible a day, then… In reality, the test of our loyalty to Jesus Christ comes after the church grows, or after the ministry becomes well-known. Once we get the job, we face the temptation to stop trusting God for our needs. Once we can read five chapters of the Bible a day, we have greater responsibility to act upon the increased amount of truth in our conscience. There is no “arriving” in this life; as Leonard Ravenhill said, it is only a dressing room for eternity.
All the while, God’s main goal is getting us to the state in which Jesus lived for His entire life, and remained in His final hours. He said, “the devil has nothing in Me.” You say, “Isn’t that impossible for me? How could I be completely pure like Jesus?” It is possible to have a pure heart. For everything of the devil that could possibly have a place in us, from jealousy to arrogance, Jesus made provision for it to be kicked out by One who is more powerful. “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our abode with him” (John 14:23).
The solution to any demonic foothold is inviting One who is stronger to come in and take up residence. It begins with loving the glorious Person of Jesus. It manifests through keeping His Word, so that Jesus’ words transform us and actually dwell inside of us. Then, the Father manifests a special type of love toward us, because His holy Presence is willing to dwell in a heart cleansed by the Word of Christ. God is then able to live with His people as He desires, and we have fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. There may still be much work the Lord wants to do in transforming our character, but we can live in a state of utter freedom from willful sin. The purity is not yours but “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
The Rock Church