My heart is burdened. Why is it so burdened? Because so many Christians, or professing Christians, are walking (living) in sin and not in freedom!
The Lord Jesus led me to read Galatians 5 (Select vv. ESV).
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. V. 1
You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. Vv. 7-8
I wish we could all get this. I wish we could all grasp the truth that Jesus’ blood was shed on a cross for our sins, but not just so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He didn’t take our punishment on that cross just so we don’t have to be punished for our sins. And, His grace to us is not just forgiveness of our sins, and his forgiveness is not unconditional, either.
But, we don’t repent of (turn from) our sins and turn to follow Jesus Christ with our lives to earn our salvation. Repentance and obedience to Christ are our heart response in faith in Jesus Christ. And, our faith is divine persuasion from God to repent and to walk in obedience to his commands. For, if we truly believe, we die with Christ to sin and we are raised with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Yet, we still live in flesh bodies. We still have the propensity to sin, and to fall back into old sinful patterns. So, this is both an encouragement and a warning. Christ set us free, if we are truly in Christ, by faith in him. So, we should stand firmly in that freedom, resist Satan, flee temptation, and draw near to God, and not allow ourselves to be persuaded otherwise.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. Vv. 13-15
I think a lot of people see their salvation as merely freedom from the punishment of sin so they can escape hell and go to heaven when they die. But, this is only one part of our salvation. But, because this is what they believe, they feel they have the liberty to live how they want, and to continue in sinful practices, because, after all, heaven is guaranteed them, or so they think. So, there is no motivation to live holy lives.
And, that is because they have the wrong concept of freedom in Christ, and the wrong concept of God’s grace, too!
Although we are forgiven our sins, if we truly believe in Jesus, this is not free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse. In fact, if you profess to believe in Jesus, and you have absolutely no conscience about your sinful practices, then I would, if I were you, reexamine the scriptures and what they teach on what it means to really be saved from sin.
Freedom in Christ is not an opportunity for the flesh to thrive. And, God’s grace to us is not a pat on the back or consolation in our sin. God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts), and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14). So, don’t be fooled!
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. Vv. 16-17
We can be a Christian and still sin against God (1 Jn. 2:1-2). God does not demand sinless perfection out of us, otherwise Jesus Christ would not have had to die on a cross to free us from our sins – both the punishment of and the slavery to. Yet, the scriptures teach that if we walk in darkness (sin); if we walk after the flesh; if we continue in sinful practices; and if we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, we don’t have heaven guaranteed at all! (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21, etc.).
For, you see, the flesh and the Spirit are opposed to each other. We can’t walk in the Spirit and walk in the flesh at the same time. This doesn’t mean we will never sin, but it should mean that, if we do sin, that we repent of that sin, and then we continue in our walks of faith. Paul said that if we walk according the flesh that we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, that we will live with God for eternity. So, if we walk (live our lives) in accord with the Spirit of God, we should not be living to gratify the desires of our sinful flesh. Amen!
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Vv. 19-24
We really need to get the context of this passage of scripture. Paul, all of a sudden, did not switch gears and start talking about all those who have made no profession of faith in Christ at all. This is a warning to those who do profess Christ as Savior of their lives! And, we need to take the warning seriously!!
For, you see, if someone is telling you that you can be saved and that heaven is guaranteed you, no matter what, no matter how you live your life from that moment forward, they are lying to you. Our salvation is not a one-time experience followed by whatever kind of lives we choose to live, including whether or not we even acknowledge God after that.
Jesus made it clear, and Paul made it clear that eternal life is guaranteed only those who are presently believing in him, who continue in Christ till the end, who abide in him and in his Word, who walk in obedience to his commands, and who walk (in lifestyle), not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. This is not works-based salvation, though. This is the fruit that shows whether or not our faith in Christ is genuine faith.
Jesus died so that we could walk in freedom, not so we could continue to walk in the flesh, in sin, and in willful rebellion against our Lord.
An Original Work / September 8, 2011
Jesus paid the ransom,
so we’d be forgiven;
Purified from our sin,
so we’d be set free.
Crucified on a tree;
took on him our sin.
Buried our sin with Him;
rose in victory.
Jesus calls us to Him;
asks that we flee from sin;
Obey His commandments;
God our Father loves us,
which is why He gave us
His Son to die for us
on a cruel tree.
God created us to
walk in fellowship with Him,
daily trusting in His righteousness.
He has a plan for us
to abide in His grace;
Be transformed in our hearts;
live for him always.
Won’t you trust in Jesus?
Be your Lord and Master?
He wants to forgive you;
give you victory
Over sin and yourself;
Jesus set you free.
Daily walking with Him,
Invite Him in your heart.
He’ll give you a new start.
Your old life behind you,
a new creature be.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017, 8:01 p.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these words which you have spoken to my heart. I pray that all of us would take this to heart, and put these words into practice. Amen!