Saved to Maturity

2 Corinthians 13:1-4 NASB

This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses. I have previously said when present the second time, and though now absent I say in advance to those who have sinned in the past and to all the rest as well, that if I come again I will not spare anyone, since you are seeking for proof of the Christ who speaks in me, and who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you. For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because of the power of God directed toward you.

He Lives in Power

There is much sin going on within the church, which goes on largely unchecked and unrepented. For, not only is it largely ignored by the church leadership, but the leadership themselves are engrossed in sinful addictions. And, not only are many of our leaders giving way to sinful practices on a consistent basis, in secret, but they are encouraging others to follow suit.

How so? You say. Because so much of our church leadership has gone the way of the world and of the flesh, they have diluted the gospel message and have adopted a false (cheap) grace gospel which they are then passing down to their listeners, which then gives them free license for lasciviousness. For either they teach, or else they imply by what they teach that God requires no repentance, no obedience and no submission to Christ and his cross.

So, there is no distinguishable difference between much of today’s church, at least here in America, and those who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ at all. In fact, many who do not profess faith in Jesus live more righteously and morally than those who call themselves followers of Jesus. So, the church should be ashamed of their conduct, but many are not. Instead, they are proud of their worldliness.

And, so our Lord Jesus has been warning them of the consequences of their rebellion against him, and he has been reminding them of what his scriptures teach regarding what will happen to them if they continue down this path and do not repent (see Rev. 2-3). But, the vast majority appear to be not paying attention to these warnings, for they have an overdeveloped sense of superiority and/or of assurance that God will not judge them.

But, God is not weak. Jesus Christ is not weak. Because we serve a loving and compassionate God, who is not willing that any should perish, and that all should come to repentance, judgment has been delayed, for a time, but don’t hang your hat on the idea that it will never come. It will! And, don’t get your mind set that, although you largely ignore your Lord in this life, that heaven is guaranteed you. It isn’t!

2 Corinthians 13:5-10 NASB

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we may appear unapproved. For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth. For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete. For this reason I am writing these things while absent, so that when present I need not use severity, in accordance with the authority which the Lord gave me for building up and not for tearing down.

Test Yourselves

So, we are encouraged here that we are to test ourselves to see whether or not we are in the faith. And, the measure of that is the Word of God, but the whole counsel of God, not just a few select verses taken out of context to appease the flesh. For, context is everything!

Romans 10 is written in the context of Romans 6 and 8, as is Romans 7. Paul did not excuse away sin, nor did he allow for it in his own life, for he died with Christ to sin so that he might live with him to righteousness.

The scriptures do not teach that all we have to do is make a verbal confession of faith in Christ and believe in his bodily resurrection with our minds, too, and that we have salvation. They do not teach that our salvation is merely forgiveness of sins or that forgiveness is given to all who merely make an intellectual assent to what Jesus did for us in dying for our sins.

They do not teach that our salvation is a one-time event which takes place in our lives, and then heaven is guaranteed us no matter how we live from that moment forward, and that nothing can take that away from us. For, Jesus’ sheep (his followers) listen to his voice and they follow (obey) him, and it is they who cannot be snatched out of Jesus’ and the Father’s hands.

Our salvation from sin is a process of sanctification in our lives. This process has a beginning, but it is ongoing until the day we die, or we do not have eternal life with God. It is also a process of daily dying to sin and self, of putting on the armor of God, and of walking according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh.

For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. If we claim to have fellowship with God, but we still walk (in lifestyle) in sin, we are liars who do not live by the truth. If we make sin our practice, we do not have the hope of eternal life with God but a fearful expectation of judgment. For, we will reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction, but if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (See: Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).

So, test yourselves against those scriptures, and see if you are one who is living to please your flesh, and if you are living in sinful addiction, in willful and continued rebellion against your Lord. If you are, and you do not repent, scripture teaches that you don’t have eternal life with God, no matter what others tell you, or no matter what your profession of Christ may be.

2 Corinthians 13:11-14 NASB

Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

Be Made Complete

The whole purpose of our salvation, the reason for which Jesus gave his life up for us on that cross, is that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). This is the essence of the gospel of our salvation. If you have to memorize one verse to share the gospel with people, let it be that one. For, that sums it all up.

We are not saved just to escape hell, and so we can go to heaven when we die. That is a BIG FAT LIE! Jesus did not die merely to forgive our sins, and our sins are NOT forgiven if we do not repent, and if we do not turn our hearts and lives over to Jesus Christ, making him LORD of our lives.

God’s grace is not free in the sense that it gives us the freedom to live however we want. It doesn’t. God’s grace frees us from our slavery to sin and it frees us to walk in Christ’s holiness and righteousness, in purity, honesty, morality and in integrity. For, it instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await our Lord’s soon return (See Tit. 2:11-14).

We are not “saved” and then we live our lives and then one day we go to heaven when we die. We are saved to walk in holiness, in righteousness and in purity of devotion to our Lord Jesus, truly making him Lord (owner-master) of our lives. While we walk this earth, we are to grow in our walks of faith and to mature in Christ and in his holiness, becoming like him in his death and in his resurrection.

The peace which he gives us is not absence of conflict, nor do we make compromises with the world of sin in order to make peace with other humans. The peace He gives us, that we are to live in, is peace with God, which is through repentance and dying to sin and living to his righteousness. You will never be at peace in this world if you are still living in sin.

As well, like-mindedness with one another only comes if we are first of all like-minded with Christ. For he is what (who) binds us all together as one. And, to be like-minded with Christ means to prefer what he prefers, which is evident not by our words, but by our lifestyles. And, he prefers what is holy, righteous, pure, moral, upright, honest, and trustworthy, etc.

Lastly, if we want to have fellowship with the Holy Spirit (with God), we have to be walking in obedience to His Word. For, if we regularly give way to the flesh, in rebellion against our Lord, it breaks our fellowship with him much the same way as adultery breaks the bonds of marriage.

I am not saying we must live in absolute sinless perfection, but that we should not be living in open rebellion against our Lord via continued sinful practices, which breaks those bonds of fellowship with our Lord.

So, if that is where you are today, still giving way to your fleshly appetites, I pray you will surrender your all to Jesus Christ today. He is the ONLY ONE who can heal your wounded soul and bring peace, forgiveness and restoration to your life. Truly let him be your Lord (owner-master) today.

No, Not One!

Hymn lyrics by Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1895
Music by George C. Hugg, 1895

There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,
No, not one! No, not one!
None else could heal all our soul’s diseases,
No, not one! No, not one!

No friend like Him is so high and holy,
No, not one! No, not one!
And yet no friend is so meek and lowly,
No, not one! No, not one!

There’s not an hour that He is not near us,
No, not one! No, not one!
No night so dark but His love can cheer us,
No, not one! No, not one!

Jesus knows all about our struggles,
He will guide till the day is done;
There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,
No, not one! No, not one!

*copyright status is Public Domain

Friday, September 21, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for all You’ve done!

2 thoughts on “Saved to Maturity

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