“Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” John 1:47 Cf. John 1:43-51
When Philip brought Nathanael to Jesus, saying, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:45), Jesus said of Nathanael that he was a true Israelite in whom was no guile (or deceit).
What did this mean? We find the answer in Psalm 32, where David writes, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile” (v. 1-2).
To have guile is to be self-deceived and deny one’s utter sinfulness and hopelessness before the LORD God. Such self-deceit (thinking that one is righteous on the basis of his own life and works) keeps one from receiving and possessing the forgiveness which God gives through faith in His Son.
Nathanael was not deceived about himself as many others in Israel were at the time. Nathanael knew he had not kept the commandments of the LORD and was a sinner in need of a savior. Instead of pretending to be righteous of himself, he looked for salvation in the coming Messiah promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets. Thus, he was an “Israelite indeed”; and he came to know and trust in Jesus as the Son of God and the Savior of Israel.
Today, too, our churches are filled with people who have guile in their hearts. They are self-deceived and think that all is well with their souls because of their own lives and works. They think that by going to church, doing good works, saying their prayers, etc., they will find entrance into heaven.
Sad to say, this keeps many from coming to Jesus and placing their hope and confidence in His holy life and His innocent sufferings and death in their stead.
What about you? Do you have guile in your heart? Are you self-deceived into thinking that all is well with your soul because of what you believe and do? Think again! Read what God’s Word says of you in Romans 3:9-20. Look at what it says of your heart in Jeremiah 17:9.
Look to Jesus for your salvation! He is the Son of God in human flesh, and He has redeemed you by bearing on the cross the full punishment for your sins (cf. Colossians 1:19-23)! Only in Him can you be saved (cf. Acts 4:12)!
O dearest Jesus, reveal to us our utter sinfulness that we not be deceived and full of guile in our hearts; but also reveal to us the forgiveness and life You have won for us by Your innocent sufferings and death on the cross and made sure to us by Your glorious resurrection. By Your Spirit, graciously forgive our sins and renew our hearts. Amen.
[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]