Isaiah 53:4-6 ESV
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
The Christian Culture
There are many people in the USA who claim Christianity as their religion. Some of them do so because their parents took them to church as children, and thus their parents claimed Christianity as their religion of choice. And, by church here I mean the institutional church, i.e. the building, the edifice, the business, and the organization of men and their denominations.
Others have joined “the church” and have affiliated themselves with the Christian faith because their friends or their neighbors did, or because it provided some socialization for them or good programs for their children, or because it was socially acceptable in their culture or socially advantageous to belong to a church, such as for political reasons, i.e. to get votes.
Others claim to be Christians because they were convinced that if they prayed a prayer (repeated words after someone else) and “invited Jesus into their hearts,” that they would now be saved, be eternally secure, and have heaven guaranteed them, and that it could never be taken away from them no matter what – no matter how they lived their lives from that moment forward. For, the gospel they were presented with was one that merely taught forgiveness of sins and of getting one’s ticket into heaven.
Yet, there are those who claim to be Christians, i.e. to be followers of Jesus Christ, because that is what they are. They have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives. They have been crucified with him in death to sin, and they have been resurrected with him to newness of life in him, born again of the Spirit of God. They have been transformed from death to life and from the power of Satan to God, and they have been delivered from their slavery to sin so that they can now walk in Christ’s righteousness.
Yet, some of them have wandered off from their faith, and they are living in spiritual adultery against their Lord, and so God is calling them back to himself to return to him as their only God, their only master. He desires to revive their hearts and to restore them to himself if they will just repent of their sins and allow him to truly rule over their lives (see Rev. 2-3).
The Message and Response
The message that God is giving to all of them, which is the same message he is giving to the whole world, is that he died on that cross in order that we, by faith in him, might die with him to sin and that we might live to him and to his righteousness (See 1 Pet. 2:24; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
Jesus didn’t die on that cross, in other words, just to forgive our sins and to give us the hope of eternal life in heaven with him when we die. He died to put sin to death in our lives so that it would no longer have mastery over us, and so that we would now be bond-slaves of his righteousness. For, this is what it means to be “born again.” The old sin nature has to be put to death so that the life of Christ can now rule supreme in our lives, so that we submit to Christ’s Lordship over our lives, and so we obey his teachings.
But, this message doesn’t sit too well with those who are living in spiritual adultery against their Lord, or with those who think they have their ticket into heaven and that they can just live their lives however they want. It also doesn’t agree with those who desire to remain in their fleshly lives, living to gratify the sinful cravings of their flesh. So, although some will respond to the message with genuine faith, many do not. Many get offended by it.
Some of these people, who do get offended by this message, though, know it to be the truth. And, they know that they are living in sin. And, many of them even know that the scriptures teach that those who walk in sin, who make sin their practice, do not have eternal life with God, but a fearful expectation of judgment. And, yet they continue to willfully and knowingly do what is wrong, because they work at trying to convince themselves that the truth is not the truth and that the lie they believe is the truth.
So, when they get convicted of their sin, which they sometimes do, it will strike a chord inside them, and they will resist that conviction, feeling as though they are being judged. And, so they convince themselves that God no longer judges them now that they are under grace. And, so they convince themselves that this feeling is bad and is to be rejected, because it causes distress in them. But, it causes distress because they know that what they are doing is wrong, and they know they are not being honest about it.
Because so many who call themselves “Christian” are now living in sin, rejecting the Holy Spirit’s voice and his convictions of their sin, this has led into what I am terming “The Chrexit” (a takeoff on the name “Brexit”).
And, what this is is a mass exodus (exit, departure) from God’s moral standard in order to follow after the flesh. It is also a huge withdrawal from the teachings of Christ and of his NT apostles in favor of the teachings of mere humans. It is also a massive retreat from the true gospel of our salvation in favor of a cheap grace gospel which makes no demands for holiness, righteousness, obedience, faithfulness and moral purity.
This is basically the majority of what is called “Christian” in America divorcing themselves from Jesus Christ and his gospel of salvation so that they can unite themselves with “another woman,” i.e. “another lover” who will not make the same demands on them that Jesus and his gospel do.
This is them claiming their independence from Jesus Christ, so that they can rule their own lives, and decide for themselves what is permissible and what is not. This is so that they can create their own standard which appeases their flesh while convincing themselves that God’s grace allows for that.
But, this is nothing new. This has been going on a long time. It is just now becoming more massive (on a much larger scale) and more predominant and acceptable within the Christian community.
The Sin Nature
For this is from the sin nature which demands its own way, and which screams and throws temper tantrums when it doesn’t get what it wants. This is from the pride of the flesh not liking to be challenged or confronted or to have its sins pointed out, and which gets angry when its selfish and unrealistic expectations are not met by God or by other humans.
And, thus, when confronted, it vents to someone else, or it medicates with addictive sinful practices, or it turns to “another lover” who will appease and console it in its sin.
And, so all that they do, who are walking in the flesh, is keep adding to their accumulation (pile, mound) of sins and the lies they tell to cover them up. And, they hide all this in their hearts, along with all their frustrations, anger, bitterness, and resentments, etc. And, they try to ignore this internal battle going on within them, because they know they are doing wrong and they refuse to do what is right and thus to be truly free from their bondage.
But, they don’t want people to know what is going on inside their hearts. And, so, if they claim to be Christians, they will keep these things well hidden so that others will not know that they lead a double life. They will keep secret their internal struggle, their secret sins, their adulteries, their plots of evil against others, etc. and they will put up a façade to try to convince others that they are following Jesus Christ with their lives.
Or, they will admit minor offenses in order to dissuade others from discovering much more sinister and heinous crimes they are committing against others in secret.
Smell a Rat
But, God knows the truth. He sees everything we do in secret. He knows all about us, what we think, what we are plotting, and the things we think no one else knows, and so we think we can get away with.
But, many people are being convinced that God no longer sees their sins once they pray that prayer. Or else they are convinced that he will not judge them for their sinful lifestyles now that they believe that they are under grace. And, so they have this false sense of security, believing they can continue on in their secret sins, while putting on a performance that they are leading good Christian lives, believing that nothing bad will happen to them.
But, that is either because they don’t know the scriptures or because they are denying the truth that they do know. For, if you read the New Testament, book by book, and chapter by chapter, it will soon become obvious that the true gospel message is all throughout the books of the New Testament, i.e. the gospel that says Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.
All throughout these scriptures Christians are warned against returning to the ways they lived before they believed in Jesus. And, they are warned that if they walk in sin (in lifestyle, in practice) that they will die in their sin (Rom. 8:1-17; Lu. 9:23-25; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).
And, these warnings God gives to us are for our good, and because God loves us, not because he is a meanie who is just critical all the time. But, he is patient with us, too, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. So, he has not yet brought his judgment upon mankind and upon the earth in that destructive force of his wrath. But, he is still reaching out, calling out, warning, instructing, and inviting all to unite with him and to leave their “other lovers” behind them.
Not Taken Seriously
Yet, many who profess his name are not taking his warnings seriously. They are still playing games with God. In fact, they are trying to get God to come their way, instead. They may even try to strike a bargain with God, asking him that if they return to him, will he come along with them where they want to go, i.e. will he give his approval of their lifestyles. In other words, their return to God would thus be on their terms, not on God’s terms.
For, they have this idea or they have been given this false notion that evil is good and that good is evil. In other words, they have been convinced that the true gospel is the false gospel and that the false gospel is the true gospel. And, they have been warned that those who teach repentance and obedience are legalists, judgmental, critical, and are those who are teaching works-based salvation, which they are to avoid.
But, the real danger for them does not lie in the house of God, i.e. in his true gospel. The true danger for them lies on the top of their pile of sins and their lies to cover up their sins on which they have built this false church and this false gospel which delivers no one from slavery to sin, but which leaves them still in bondage (living in addiction), still giving way to sexual immorality, adultery, slander, spite, bitterness, envy and the like.
There is no danger for them in coming to true faith in Jesus Christ, and in dying to sin and self and living to God and to his righteousness – all in his power and strength. For, if they truly do leave their lives of sin behind them to follow Jesus Christ in obedience, they will have that burden of sin lifted off their shoulders, and they will know true freedom and peace and joy!
Again, the true gospel message is not to be avoided. It is not works-based salvation. It is understanding that Jesus’ death on a cross for our sins provided the way out for us from underneath the weight of our sin. It is understanding that God’s grace to us is not free license to continue in sin, but it is freedom from our yoke of sin which hangs around our necks and which keeps us repeating the same sinful patterns over and over again.
Much Too High A Price / Jesus Paid It All
Phil McHugh and Greg Nelson
You paid much too high a price for me, Your tears, Your blood, the pain –
To have my soul just stirred at times yet never truly changed.
You deserve a fiery love that won’t ignore your sacrifice
Because You paid much too high a price.
Saturday, March 30, 2019