It would seem that people who misunderstand the Gospel and wrongly consider themselves to be Christians is nothing new, as John had to write a letter to the churches about it in the first century. Much like today, there were those who claimed to know Jesus Christ, without actually doing what he says, a faith which produced no action. John pulls no punches.
We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 1 Jn 2:3,4
If we are truly Christians we will do what Jesus Christ commands, and in order to do that we will actively seek to know his commands, and so search his word. Of course this is not to say we can be saved from the punishment due for our sins through what we do, for John clearly says Jesus was the atoning sacrifice for our sins earlier, but that when we are saved we will want to serve God, because we love him.
Part and parcel of loving God is love for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 1 Jn 2:9,10
If we find we harbour hatred towards other Christians, or have a lack of desire to meet up with them, we have to consider if we’re truly walking in the light or not.
Of course, this is not to say we’ll be perfect, for our old sinful nature will continue to plague us and cause us to sin, but we have an advocate in heaven, Jesus Christ, who speaks to the Father in our defence.
As Joshua waits outside Jericho ready to take it by conventional military means, he is visited by a messenger from God. However, this messenger is not just from God, but is God. There are a few other examples of Christophanies elsewhere in the Old Testament, showing that God the Son appeared to men before eventually becoming the Word incarnate.
God tells Joshua that he is not there to take earthly sides, but to do his own will. This battle was to be all of God, and would not be fought conventionally, but would be a test of faith.
Joshua was told to circle Jericho, in what would seem to be on the face of it a pointless exercise. Joshua and the Iraelites would have to trust God, whilst in the process have the possibility of looking very slightly silly, and if they trusted, then God would deliver Jericho to them.
Joshua trusted God and did as he was told, and eventually, as the song goes, the walls came tumbling down. Nothing Joshua physically did would contribute to any weakening of the walls, but God alone would brought the walls down.
Am I willing to trust God at his word like Joshua and the Israelites?