“But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie- just as it has taught you, abide in him” – 1 John 2: 27
I stumbled upon these verses in an unexpected way. I’ve been desperately trying to get a grasp on the beatitudes as laid out in Matthew. Jesus’ famous sermon on the mount. It has become so clear to me that he wasn’t trying to give people a lesson in how to achieve holiness by their actions. He was however, showing us that the bar of holiness is set at an impossible height. Essentially, it was a hopeless pole vaulting lesson. “Here’s your toothpick. Now, catapult yourself to the moon.” It’s impossible. We desperately need holiness that is outside of us. We need Jesus.
I have been using D.A. Carson’s commentary on Matthew as I am studying. Which I love and highly recommend. However, there was one particular passage that I was trying to understand, and his commentary wasn’t telling me what I wanted to know.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
My question was, “HOW!? How can I be pure in heart? Tell me, Mr. Carson…telll meeeee!!!!” Um, he didn’t. So I crossed referenced the passage to 1 John 3, and backed up a bit to get the flow. That’s when this precious scripture hit me like a tidal wave.
You should also know that 1 John tends to terrify me. But that is for another day. 🙂
It was such a beautiful notion. I didn’t need Mr. Carson to spell it out for me. I needed a better teacher. I needed to learn to rely on the Holy Spirit to peer into my heart ( like no commentary can) and draw me to Jesus. I needed to trust Him completely to love me enough, to show me where I am lacking (or as Matthew 5:3 says, where I am “Poor in spirit”) and to show me how to be satisfied by Jesus alone.
God was faithful to keep his beautiful promise. He did show me through the verses that followed (1 John 3) that the key to being pure in heart is to abide in Jesus. Just keep abiding.
We look to quick fixes, safety nets, heart guarding methodology, 12 steps to bla bla, and really all we need to do is abide in Christ. We need to depend on him every moment of every day by keeping the gospel in the forefront of our minds. When we forget and we fail, we need to RUN back to Jesus. We need to believe that he keeps his promises and we need to depend on the Holy Spirit to care for us in ways that we can’t care for ourselves. Something we can’t get from any commentary, even the most brilliant ones. 🙂
**Yes, the photo is of Luther’s commentaries. Not Carson’s. But I have a theological crush on Luther these days, so it still works. 😉