The Lord Jesus led me to read John 14 (vv. 1-6 NASB).
“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” V. 1
When we are born into this world, we are born with sin natures, in slavery to sin, separate from God, and we all fall short of attaining God’s divine approval, in our own flesh (Rom. 3:23; Rom. 5:12-19; 1 Co. 15:21-22, 42-49). Our hearts are troubled, because we don’t know God, and thus we are not in fellowship with him. So, we don’t have the hope of eternity with God.
Many people in this condition mimic what they see in the world, they reproduce what they see, and what is patterned before them, and they follow the examples of others. Some of them have the notion that life on this earth is to be one big party filled with self-indulgence and fleshly pleasures. And, thus, they don’t take sin seriously, or judgment, or their futures. So, they just play games with their lives and with their eternal destiny.
Yet, God, who is righteous and holy, sees all of this, and his heart is filled with love, concern and compassion for the people of this world. For, he is not willing that any should die in their sins, but that all should come to repentance by turning away from their sin, and by turning to him, to follow him in surrender and obedience. This is why Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to earth, to die for our sins, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; so that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15).
But, it is not just those who have made no profession of faith in Jesus Christ about which God is so concerned, but it also about those who have professed him as Lord and as Savior of their lives, but who are still living in slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin; who are still living sinful lifestyles, while claiming heaven as their eternal destiny.
Some of them, in their flesh, and in their own strength, have tried to escape their enslavement to sin, i.e. their chains, but it was on their terms, according to their own will, not truly trusting in Christ to be Lord (owner-master) of their lives. So, they only ended up right back where they began, spinning their wheels, performing, trying to be good enough, in some ways, while still holding on to their own lives, and living for sin and self.
The Lord longs to be gracious to them; to you. Jesus died and was resurrected from the dead to free you from your prison, not to console you in your sin. His grace to us is not a pat on the back for trying in our own flesh to be good enough, for we can never be good enough. His grace to us is also not freedom to continue in willful sinful practices. His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives, while we wait for Christ’s return.
So, belief in Jesus Christ is not a mere profession of faith, words we repeat after someone in a prayer, and a mere acknowledgment of who Jesus is and was, and of what he did for us in dying for our sins. It is also not a mere acknowledgment of his grace to us or an acceptance of his forgiveness of our sins. When we truly believe in Jesus Christ, we die with Christ to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to new lives in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” Vv. 2-3
So, if we want to have this hope of eternal life with God and a home in heaven with our Lord, then we need to realize that God’s grace to us is not merely forgiveness of sins, but it is death to sin. He didn’t die just to give us an escape from hell and the promise of heaven when we leave this earth. He died to deliver us out of slavery to sin, and to put us on the path (the way) of righteousness and holiness, to fill us with his Spirit, and to empower us to walk in his holiness and righteousness from now to eternity.
So, if you are truly in Christ Jesus, by faith in him, you should no longer be enslaved to sin, for Jesus set you free! And, he will give you, and he has given you all that you need to resist Satan, to flee temptation, and to draw near to God in full assurance of faith. This is his grace to us! So, don’t buy into the lies which tell you that you can’t help it, or that it is ok to “struggle” with sin, which often means to regularly and consistently give in to sinful patterns of behavior. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, no matter how much we mouth that we believe in Jesus.
“’And you know the way where I am going.’ Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’” Vv. 4-6
If you have been a follower of Christ for a short period of time or a long time, you should know the way to God and to heaven. Especially if you claim to have been a Christian for many, many years, you should definitely know the way, not only to heaven, but out of slavery to sin. So, there is no excuse for you to be still walking according to the flesh, doing willfully and consistently what you know is wrong, i.e. what is sinful, and especially that which hurts others, particularly those you are supposed to love.
I am not saying here that we will never sin once we believe in Jesus, but what I am saying is that we should not be walking in sin, living to please our flesh, and being continually entertained by what is wicked and evil, especially if we have known the Lord for any length of time. There is no reason that any of us can’t be walking in victory over sin, not in absolute sinless perfect, perhaps, but consistently resisting Satan, fleeing temptation, and drawing near to God, going forward, and not backward.
I believe one of the main reasons that many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ are still under bondage (addiction) to sin is because they are not willing to go the distance to have that sin eradicated from their lives. They will not adhere to “make no provision for the flesh,” while they put on Christ. They will also not listen to biblical counsel which says we must deny self, take up our cross daily, and follow (obey) Christ, and they will not submit to cutting out of their lives those things which lead them into sin (See: Rom. 13:14; Lu. 9:23-25; Heb. 12:1-2; Matt. 18:7-9).
So, what is the way to eternal life with God and to having heaven as our eternal destiny? It is that we must die with Christ to sin, and we must be resurrected with Christ, in the Spirit, to new lives in Christ Jesus, free from the control of sin, and free to now be under the control of righteousness. We must deny self, take up our cross daily, and follow Christ. We must daily put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s lies and his evil schemes against us. And, we must walk according to the Spirit, and make no provision for the flesh.
This is the way of Christ. This is the way of holiness. And, this is the only path to eternal life with God. For, if we make sin our practice, we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting sin to death, we will have eternal life with God, and heaven, where God dwells, will be our eternal home.
Open My Heart
An Original Work / July 2, 2013
“Be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil” (Rm. 16:19b).
Open my heart. Let Your truth in.
Make of me a servant, pure within;
Sing of Your praise all of my days.
Let Your Spirit transform all my ways.
Jesus Christ died on a cross to
Save me from my sin.
“Repent of sin. Be cleansed within.
Obey all of His commands today.”
“Why do you doubt? Why do you fear?
Jesus Christ will wipe away your tears.
He cares for you. He feels your pain.
Die to sin, and life with Him you’ll gain.
Follow Him where’er He leads you.
Talk with Him each day.
Then you will know what He has planned
For your life before your world began.”
“Come unto Me, weary in heart.
Let My love and grace to you impart.
Believe in Me. Trust in My care.
Take your burdens to the Lord in prayer.
He will meet all of your needs,
And give you peace within.
Rejoice in Him! Tell of His love.
He will give you comfort from above.”
Friday, December 8, 2017, 6:25 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for your Word, for what it teaches us concerning the way to you and to eternal life with God, which is the way of holiness. I pray we may all walk in your ways. Amen!