Willing and Obedient

Isaiah 1:10 ESV

Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!

Sodom and Gomorrah are names which are synonymous with sexual immorality, perversion, homosexuality, rebellion, arrogance and apathy. Nonetheless, literal Sodom and literal Gomorrah are not who are being addressed here. Sodom and Gomorrah are being used here figuratively to describe God’s people who were living immoral and wicked lives, and who were living in open rebellion against Almighty God.

Although God was their Father, and he was their Lord (owner-master), they had wandered off from their covenant relationship with him to follow after the ways of their own sinful flesh. They were out of fellowship with their Lord because they were engaged in all kinds of immorality and sexual perversion. They were totally deceived in their thinking, and they were behaving like prostitutes, offering themselves indiscriminately to others for sexual intercourse, both literally, and in a spiritual sense, too.

And, I believe the Lord Jesus is giving me a very similar picture of the vast majority of the church in America today. The church in America is riddled with sexual immorality from the church leadership on down. The sanctity of marriage has gone by the wayside, as so many Christian men (and women) today are addicted to porn, or they regularly view porn or other sexually-charged TV shows, videos, movies or video (electronic) games.

In addition to this, many of them (including women) are involved in extra-marital romantic or sexual affairs, or they regularly visit prostitutes, or they are involved in homosexual relationships, or in sex-texting, child porn, and private chats with people of interest without the knowledge of their spouses. Or, they are addicted to masturbation (self-gratification, i.e. sex with oneself). And, I am certain there is so much more I am not aware of, too.

Isaiah 1:11-14 ESV

“What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats.

“When you come to appear before me,
who has required of you
this trampling of my courts?
Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.”

Even though they are involved in all kinds of sinful and perverted practices, in open rebellion against their Lord, even though done in secret, still many of them maintain the appearance of being righteous.

And, so they go through the motions of religious practice, prayer, worship, and service (ministry), etc. And, they attend the expected gatherings, and sing the worship songs, and participate in church activities so that others will think they are good Christians. And, many of them are able to fool most people, too. And, a good number of them are pastors, as well.

But, they can’t fool God, because he sees everything that we do no matter where we are or what we are doing. So, even if they can manage to fool most people, and to hide their sins well, and to cover them up with clever stories they make up, still God sees what is done in secret. And, he sees what is in all of our hearts, too. So, he is not fooled.

And, in fact, he hates hypocritical religious practices and forms of religion, and he is weary of bearing them. He is tired of people’s false confessions of praise and worship of him while they secretly live double lives. He is grieved, too, over all the sexual immorality within the church that is not being addressed, in most cases, and so the problem has now become enormous.

Isaiah 1:15-17 ESV

When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.

And, so God is saying to those who are living like this, in hypocritical worship of him, while they are enslaved to all kinds of fleshy desires, that he will not listen to their prayers. For, they are not listening to him. They may hear him, but they ignore what he says, and they willfully forget what they looked like in the mirror (per what God revealed to them about themselves).

And, so he is calling out to his rebellious ones to repent of their sins and to walk humbly before their God in full submission to him and to his ways. He is saying to cleanse (rid) your lives of all sins which entangle, and to throw off every weight (hindrance) to walking in holiness and in purity of devotion to God. And, he is saying to follow him in obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives and to conduct our lives according to the Spirit and no longer according to (in agreement with) the flesh.

For, this is the message of the gospel – always has been and always will be. Jesus died, not just to forgive us our sins so we can go to heaven one day. He died to eradicate sin from our lives. On that cross he put sin to death so that when we believe in him we die with him to sin and we live with him to his righteousness, in his power at work within our hearts and lives.

All throughout the New Testament, we who profess faith in Jesus Christ are reminded that we must turn from our sins and follow Jesus in obedience; that we must forsake our former lives of living for sin and self, and now we must put on Christ and his righteousness. And, we are instructed, too, with regard to very specific thinking, attitudes, speech and behaviors, that we must put off (get rid of) certain ones and we must put on (adopt, apply to our lives) those which God approves. And, so this is what we must do.

Isaiah 1:18-20 ESV

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

And, the New Testament teaches this, too. If we want forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life with God, we must surrender our lives to Jesus Christ and yield to his Lordship over our lives. We must turn away from our sinful lifestyles, and now we must walk in obedience to our Lord. Then, we will be cleansed of our sins and have the hope of heaven when we die (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

But, if we refuse, and if we believe the lie that we can live however we want and still have eternal life with God, then we must know that we will die in our sins, not live with Christ for eternity. 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: Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).

So, please do not refuse God/Jesus Christ. Turn your lives over to him, instead. For, your life depends on it!

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.

 

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