In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
“We have a strong city;
He sets up walls and ramparts for security.
“Open the gates, that the righteous nation may enter,
The one that remains faithful.
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
Because he trusts in You.
“Trust in the Lord forever,
For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.
“For He has brought low those who dwell on high, the unassailable city;
He lays it low, He lays it low to the ground, He casts it to the dust.
“The foot will trample it,
The feet of the afflicted, the steps of the helpless.”
(Isaiah 26:1-6 NASB)
This strong city today is the holy city, but it is not physical Jerusalem, but heavenly Jerusalem, the body of Christ, his church. We are the city on a hill. We are the children of promise, along with Isaac (See: Gal. 4:22-31). Yet, we are not a physical city with physical walls, but we are a spiritual city with spiritual walls and ramparts.
Our security is not in physical ramparts, but our security is our salvation through Jesus Christ, our Lord, by God-given faith, which is divinely persuaded as to God’s holiness and righteousness and of our need to die with Christ to sin and to live to him and to his righteousness. Thus, by faith in Jesus Christ we leave our lives of sin behind us and we turn to follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his commands, empowered by God’s Holy Spirit now living within us (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; Lu. 9:23-25).
Jesus Christ made the way for all to be able to come to him by faith and to receive his gift of salvation from sin, which is freedom from slavery to sin and freedom to live godly and holy lives – all in the power and working of God’s Spirit now at work in our hearts and minds. But, only those who die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness are able to enter in through those gates and find salvation from their sins (Rom. 8:1-17).
Yet, there are those who try to enter by their own flesh, and there are those who come into the sheep fold, but not by the DOOR (Jesus Christ), but by another way. And, they slip in among us in order to try to lead people away from Jesus Christ, and in order to teach a false grace gospel which saves no one from their sins, but that leaves them still in their sin, headed to hell.
For Jesus did not die merely to forgive us our sins or to give us an eternal home in heaven, but he died to put sin to death in our lives so that we might walk in his holiness and become like him in all that we do and say and are. He died for us on that cross so that we would no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (2 Co. 5:15; Tit. 2:14).
The way of the righteous is smooth;
O Upright One, make the path of the righteous level.
Indeed, while following the way of Your judgments, O Lord,
We have waited for You eagerly;
Your name, even Your memory, is the desire of our souls.
At night my soul longs for You,
Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently;
For when the earth experiences Your judgments
The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
Though the wicked is shown favor,
He does not learn righteousness;
He deals unjustly in the land of uprightness,
And does not perceive the majesty of the Lord.
(Isaiah 26:7-10 NASB)
There are many people today who are convinced that they can still walk in their sinful addictions, following after the lusts of their flesh, and still love God and still have the hope of heaven when they leave this earth. But, scripture teaches the opposite of that, and I am talking about the New Testament, not just the Old Testament.
We can’t love God and love our sinful lusts, too. We can’t walk according to the Spirit and according to the flesh at the same time. As followers of Jesus we are still human, and we still have the propensity to sin, but sin should no longer be our master. It should not be what defines us. It should not be what we practice; what we give our lives over to. It should not be our idol.
If we want to be in relationship with Almighty God, and be saved from our sins, and have that hope of eternal life with God, then we need to walk in the ways of our God, not to earn our salvation, and not in our own flesh, but as a result of genuine faith in Jesus Christ, for this is now our heart’s desire.
The walk of faith of a follower of Jesus is not smooth in the sense of having no troubles, but it is smooth in the sense that it is level (straight, upright, godly, moral, pure, holy and righteous). God’s grace to us is not free license to continue in willful sinful practices without guilt and without judgment. God’s grace instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Jesus Christ’s soon return (See: Tit. 2:11-14).
When we live on this earth, we will have trials. We will have heartaches. We will experience death, betrayal, abuse, false accusations, and snide and cutting remarks from those who disagree with us, etc. We, too, will have sickness and disease and body aches and pains, especially when you near the age of 70. But, God allows these difficulties in our lives for our good so that we will call on him, and so we will learn righteousness.
If we do not go through hardships, we may become complacent about our walks of faith, for difficulties have a way of drawing us closer to our Lord in fellowship with him, and they help us to see that we must rely on God and not on ourselves. But, the wicked, if they don’t go through these things, and everything seems to go well for them, will not learn righteousness.
Come, my people, enter into your rooms
And close your doors behind you;
Hide for a little while
Until indignation runs its course.
For behold, the Lord is about to come out from His place
To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity;
And the earth will reveal her bloodshed
And will no longer cover her slain.
(Isaiah 26:20-21 NASB)
While we live in these flesh bodies we are going to be tempted to sin against God. We are going to have people who will try to convince us that God is ok with our sin, and who will tempt us to believe those lies so that we can be consoled in our sin. Satan is our enemy, but he will use other humans in our lives to try to discourage us, to tempt us to not follow our Lord in obedience, and who will try to pull us away from our pure devotion to Christ.
So, we do need to have a place we can go to get alone with God, even if it is in a literal closet or a laundry room, but somewhere where we can shut the door, and at an hour when we don’t have small children running around the house unattended. Yet that alone is not going to give us the protection that we need from the enemy of our souls who is out to get us to destroy us.
We need to enter into God’s holy presence in daily confession of sin, in daily dying to sin and self, by the Spirit, and daily we need to walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. Daily we must put on the armor of God to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us, and part of that armor is prayer, but not just us praying alone to God, but calling on the body of Christ to hold us up in prayer when we are under attack, too.
If we do not hide under the shelter of the Almighty daily, and if we daily are yielding to the lusts of our flesh and the pride of life, in willful sin against God, then we don’t have this protection, and when the judgments come, we won’t make it. Yes, not one of us is perfect, but lack of perfection should never be used as a cover-up for continued, blatant and willful sin against God, in his face, day after day, fully knowing what his word teaches.
For, we will all reap what we sow. If we sow to please the sinful flesh, from that flesh we will reap destruction. But, if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:7-8). Please take this to heart!
May Christ Be Seen in Me
By Lois DeHoff / Percy Crawford
May Christ be seen in me, O Lord,
Hear Thou my earnest plea;
O take me, fill me, use me, Lord,
Till Christ be seen in me.
Saturday, October 6, 2018 – Lord, help us all to take you at your word and to not ever take your grace for granted, but help us, I pray, to remain steadfast and faithful in our walks of faith in purity, holiness and godliness.