Evening Reading for July 3

John 13:12-17
Suggested further reading: Romans 2:17-24

We read, `If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.' It sounds as if our Lord would warn his disciples that they would never be really happy in his service if they were content with a barren head-knowledge of duty and did not live according to their knowledge.

Nothing is more common than to hear people saying of doctrine or duty, `We know it, we know it,' while they sit still in unbelief or disobedience. They actually seem to flatter themselves that there is something creditable and redeeming in knowledge, even when it bears no fruit in heart, character, or life. Yet the truth is precisely the other way. To know what we ought to be, believe and do, and yet to be unaffected by our knowledge, only adds to our guilt in the sight of God. To know that Christians should be humble and loving, while we continue proud and selfish, will only sink us deeper in the pit unless we awake and repent. Practice, in short, is the very life of religion. `To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin' (James 4:17).

Of course, we must never despise knowledge. It is in one sense the beginning of Christianity in the soul. So long as we know nothing of sin, or God, or Christ, or grace, or repentance, or faith, or conscience, we are, of course, nothing better than heathens. But we must not overrate knowledge. It is perfectly valueless unless it produces results in our conduct and influences our lives and moves our wills. In fact knowledge without practice does not raise us above the level of the devil.

Satan knows truth, but has no will to obey it and is miserable. He that would be happy in Christ's service must not only know, but do.

For meditation: `Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies' (1 Cor. 8:1).

These readings (ISBN: 0 85234 420 1) are copyrighted and made available with permission by
Evangelical Press; 12 Wooler St., Darlington, Co, Durham, England, DL1 1RQ