Enslaved Again?

Do you lay claims to being a follower of Jesus Christ? Does your walk match your talk? Or are you, behind closed doors, someone else entirely?

The Lord Jesus led me to read Galatians 4 (Select vv. NASB).

However, at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? Vv. 8-9

Before any of us believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives, we were bound in sin, free from the control of righteousness, enslaved to all sorts of evil. But, when we trusted in Jesus Christ – if we are truly in Christ, by faith in him – we died with him to sin, and we were raised with him to newness of life, born again of the Spirit of God.

“Our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin” (Rom. 6:6-7).

So, why is it that so many Christians, or so many who profess Jesus as their Savior and Lord, are not really living much differently than they did before Jesus saved them? Or, before they made a profession of faith in Christ?

Worldly Influence

For one, I believe it is the influence of the world which has crept into the church, yet so gradually, and so stealthily, and so seductively, so that most did not notice how much of the world they had come to accept into their lives. So much of it seemed so normal, and perhaps even innocent, and some of it was passed off as a good thing, i.e. as a way to connect with the lost world.

But, the more of this sinful world that we allow into our lives (into our lifestyles), and into our thinking and believing, no matter how innocent it may seem, at first, the more we open ourselves up to accepting what Christians should never accept into their lives, their homes, and into their families. And, we may be totally blinded to this deception.

Diluted Gospel

Another factor here is that so many churches these days have diluted the gospel message to make it more appealing to human flesh. Most of them, it would appear, don’t teach death to sin and living to righteousness, even though scripture teaches this is the reason Jesus died on that cross (1 Pet. 2:24).

So many have watered down the gospel to the point to where there is not even a mention made of repentance or obedience, but only of what Jesus did for us, and how we should accept his grace and his forgiveness, regardless of whether or not we ever turn from our sins or turn to follow Jesus with our lives.

Thus, many have this mistaken idea that they can be saved from their sins, have the hope of eternal life with God in heaven, and yet continue on, business as usual, living in their sins. But, this is just WRONG! Jesus died to free us from slavery to sin, not leave us in our sins. The Bible says that if we remain in our sins, in slavery (addiction), and we walk according to our flesh, we will die in our sins, not have the hope of eternal life with God (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Gal. 5:19-21; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

Stubborn Rebellion

The bottom line in all of this, though, is that someone who professes Christ as Savior, but who continues to live in sin, does so because he or she chooses to live (walk) in sin, oftentimes fully knowing that what he or she is doing is wrong, that it is hurtful to others, and that it is in direct rebellion against God and the teachings of scripture.

The reality is, in fact, that many who knowingly, willfully, and stubbornly hold on to sinful patterns of behavior, will do so even at the cost of losing their spouse, their homes, their jobs, their families, and their reputations, because they are addicted to sin, and so they will choose it over all else, no matter the cost. And, they will even fight against those who lovingly try to help them to get free.

I beg of you, brethren, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have done me no wrong; but you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time; and that which was a trial to you in my bodily condition you did not despise or loathe, but you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself. Where then is that sense of blessing you had? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? Vv. 12-16

Other Christians may be our friends until we tell them something they don’t want to hear, or something with which they don’t agree, and then they may treat us as though we are their enemies. And, then they may want nothing to do with us. This should not be, but it is the reality of human nature.

It isn’t that we have changed. We are still the same people we were. They just learned something about us, about our beliefs, or maybe about our pasts, which made them feel uncomfortable. Or, what we shared with them just didn’t fit with their theology. Or, perhaps, it hit home with them, because what we shared hit on their specific sin addiction, and so they just cut off communication, because they didn’t want to have to face the truth.

The truth does sometimes hurt, but the truth is necessary, for it is what will set us free. But, men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. So, if we tell the truth, we should be prepared to have people not like us, to have friends forsake us, and to even have people attack us.

They eagerly seek you, not commendably, but they wish to shut you out so that you will seek them. But it is good always to be eagerly sought in a commendable manner, and not only when I am present with you. My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you— but I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you. Vv. 17-20

But, we must always keep in mind the reason for the truth telling, which is to open blinded eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so they can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 26:16-18).

So, this may involve, not only confronting people with their sins, but warning them against those influences which would lead them astray and away from their pure devotion to Christ, or what should be pure devotion to Christ.

So, we may have to point out potential pitfalls, or false teaching (doctrines), so that the weak, especially, do not get trapped in them. But, we should be prepared that they may resist us, not agree with us, and so go head forward right into those traps because they ignored the warnings – because they thought they knew better.

Yet, we should not let this discourage us. We must keep caring, and keep sharing what God gives us to share, because we never know how God might use it in someone’s life. And, we must keep our eyes on Jesus, and on the ministry he had on this earth, and that he has given to us to continue in.

God’s word will not return empty, but it will accomplish what he desires and achieve the purpose for which He sent it (Is. 55:11).

I Will Lift My Eyes
An Original Work / December 12, 2012

Based off Psalms 121-125

I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
He will not let your foot slip, and He who watches will not sleep.
Our Lord watches over you, and your life He will keep.
I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
I give thanks to Him.

I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n.
Because of His great love for us, He made us alive with Christ.
Through the kindness of our Savior, He gave us new life.
I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n;
My home, now in heav’n.

Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
Those who trust will ne’er be shaken. God will supply all we need.
Our Lord has done great things for us. He’s our friend, indeed!
Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
I can count on Him.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017, 5:00 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these words of encouragement and hope.

 

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