Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 10, 1957

Follow Jesus

Thomas Allen Robertson, San Bernardino, California

That this world needs to "follow Jesus" no thinking person will deny. But the men of this earth, many of them who claim to be religious, are not, generally speaking, following Jesus. They have lost their way in this world of sin. But there is a way through this world to a world of perfect holiness and joy. Of this way Isaiah said, "And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; and it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there." (Isaiah 35:8, 9.) Thus according to prophecy God has prepared for us a way through this world of sin; but we cannot find this road, nor keep it when found, without a guide. In this God himself has undertaken to be our leader. In the Bible, loving and obeying Him is spoken of as following Him. Caleb and Joshua are commended because they "wholly followed the Lord." (Num. 32:12.) We are told that David "followed me (God) with all his heart"; (1 Kings 14:8) and Elijah appealed to the Israelites, saying, "If the Lord be God, follow him." (1 Kings 18:21.) And as Jesus called His chosen disciples He said, "Follow me," and Peter and Andrew and James and John the sons of Zebedee left their nets, (Matt. 4:18-22) and Matthew rose up from the receipt of custom. (Matt. 9:9.) They not only went to Jesus, but remained with Him. Their conduct while Jesus was here on earth gives us an example of what men should do in the matter of following Jesus after a spiritual manner.

The sinner earnestly seeking salvation must come to Jesus and follow him. No man can follow Jesus without first coming to Him. But how does the sinner come to Jesus? Jesus said, "No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44.) In the next verse He tells us how this drawing is done, "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." (John 6:45.) So the man who comes to Jesus is drawn by the teaching of the word of God. To this agrees the apostle Paul in Romans 10:17: "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Thus the faith that a man must have before he can come to God (Heb. 11:6), is produced by the word of God. The man who has in this way heard the gospel and come to believe in God and in Christ (John 14:1), is ready to begin the "coming" process by repenting of the sin in his life. Christ said, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3.) To the believing Jews on the day of Pentecost Peter said "Repent, and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:38.)

When one stands before God as a penitent believer he has not yet fully "come" to Jesus, has not been saved; he is still in his sins. The apostle Paul said that "with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Rom 10:10.) So the penitent believer is to confess with the mouth that he believes Jesus is the Son of God. The penitent believer who has thus renounced his allegiance to Satan by his confession of faith in Christ is ready to take the final step in coming to Christ by being baptized into Christ. For it is at this point, at the point of obedience, that the sinner is made free from sin. (Rom. 6:3-7; 6:16-18.) The man who has thus submitted to obedience to the gospel of Christ has truly put off the old man of sin and come to Jesus.

As the sinner earnestly seeking salvation through obedience to the commands of Jesus is said to "come to Jesus," in like manner the after-life of those who are truly converted is spoken of as "following Jesus." The disciples of Jesus while He was on the earth, grateful for the benefits they were receiving, delighting in His company, and conscious of their continued need of His help, followed Him bodily, journeying when He journeyed, resting when He rested, listened to His teaching, and rendered Him any service He might require. Just so they who have come to Him for salvation continue to trust in Him, and out of love to Him keep near to Him in their thoughts and in their life, study His word, imitate His example, and obey His commands. As Christ concluded the great commission on the occasion as recorded by Matthew he said, "Teaching them to obey all things whatsoever I have commanded you." (Matt. 28:20.) As Paul wrote to the Philippians he said, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." (Phil. 2:12.) And as Paul wrote to the Romans he said, "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. the night is far spent, the day is at hand: Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." (Rom. 13:11-14.) That is what is meant by "FOLLOW JESUS.) It means coming to Jesus in obedience to His gospel and continuing to walk by the gospel, rendering unto Jesus a life of Christian service and devotion.