The danger of ignorant knowledge.

The danger of ignorant knowledge.

Read John 3:9-15

"Are you a teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?

As a teacher of the Law and a student of the Old Testament, Nicodemus should have recognized the coming of the Messiah and the necessity of spiritual transformation. Instead, when confronted with the need for spiritual rebirth, Nicodemus was confused. Like many of the Jews of Jesus' day, Nicodemus focused on the external ritual of the Law rather than the internal transformation of the Spirt. He failed to recognize the necessity of the inward change that the Law pointed to. The prophet Jeremiah directed us to this when he foretold the New Covenant God would make with the people of Israel. In Jeremiah 31:33, the prophet described this inward change of the heart when he wrote, "' But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,' declares the Lord, 'I will put My law within them and on their heart, I will write it, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.'" Nevertheless, Nicodemus still confined his faith to the physical and the external ritual rather than the spiritual and the internal transformation. The result was his faith was merely focused upon the present rather than the eternal.

In response, Christ brings a mild rebuke. If Nicodemus fails to recognize the necessity for spiritual transformation, how will he understand the greater plan of the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom of God, which Christ mentions in verse 5, refers to the eternal kingdom where God establishes His sovereign rule in people's hearts and the universe. When we do not understand the necessity of salvation, how will we know the meaning of God's rule in our life?

This brings us to the heart of faith. If we reject the Bible, then we cannot understand the nature and necessity of the transformational work of Christ in our lives at the moment of salvation. Salvation is not just salvation from sin. Salvation brings us into conformity to the person and character of God and brings us into God’s eternal Kingdom. However, if we do not accept the transformation of our salvation, how will we understand and surrender to the sovereign rule of God in our lives and the world? We want salvation from Hell but do not want to submit to Christ.

On the other hand, to accept Christ is to recognize our need for His salvation and His work within us. It is to recognize that apart from Christ, we are destined to death just as the Jews in the wilderness faced certain death if they did not look upon the serpent that Moses lifted in the wilderness (Numbers 21). To accept Christ is to become participants in His Kingdom in which we manifest the rule of God in all areas of life; in our marriage, our morality, our faith, and our conduct. To accept Christ is to manifest Christ in all things; it is to submit to the authority of Christ and His message. Thus, the question confronts us today: In our lives, have we completely surrendered to Christ, and do we strive to manifest His sovereign rule in us? Like Nicodemus, we may have a knowledge of the Bible but are never transformed by the Bible. In our knowledge, we can still refuse to surrender to Christ, and that is a dangerous thing, for it leaves us outside the Kingdom of Christ.

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