Our Actions Matter

Romans 1:16-17 ESV

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

If we are ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it means we are embarrassed by it. For, we are more concerned about what people will think about us than we are concerned about their relationships with Jesus Christ and their eternal salvation.

I know what it is like to be rejected, and I know what it is like to fear rejection, too. But, we need to not give in to fear of rejection, but we need to be willing to lay our lives down for the salvation of others, and even to be thought weird, crazy, or whatever in order to speak the truth in love to others so that they may be truly delivered out of their bondage to sin.

For, the true gospel of our salvation rescues people out of their bondage to sin, and it frees them to walk righteously in the power of God in their lives. God’s true grace, which brings salvation, therefore instructs (demands) us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, godly and upright lives while we wait for Christ’s soon return (Tit. 2:11-14).

If I had to give you one verse to tell the gospel message in a nutshell it would be 1 Pet. 2:24: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”

And, what does it mean to be healed? It means to be made sound or whole (healthy, restored). And, to be whole means to be made complete, unbroken.

For, when we are born into this world, we are born with sin natures, separate from God and destined for eternity in hell. But, when Jesus saves us by his grace, he delivers us out of our addictions to sin so that we are free to now walk in his holiness. And, we are now given eternal life in him (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

Romans 1:18-20 ESV

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

So many people today are preaching a gospel which bypasses death to sin and living to righteousness. They give the impression that God’s grace to us is merely forgiveness of sins and the promise of heaven when we die. Many even go so far as to state that God requires no repentance, no obedience, and no submission to him. They reduce the gospel message to give people free license to live in immorality while claiming heaven as their destiny.

But, that is not what God’s word teaches. It teaches us that we must die with Christ to sin and we must be born again of the Spirit of God, resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).

What God makes clear in this passage of scripture is the intrinsic link between his saving grace and our deliverance, not just from the punishment of sin, but from our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin.

For, God has made himself known to all of humanity so that we are all without excuse. Not one of us can claim ignorance, or say “I didn’t know.” For, God has made known to us all his divine character and will and his purpose for all humankind, and that is that we are conformed to his likeness, and that we forsake our lifestyles of sin to follow him in obedience.

Romans 1:21-23 ESV

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

So many people today are preaching a gospel which demands no change in behavior. In fact, they are even opposing the idea that our behavior needs to change, and so they are counteracting the truth of the gospel with lies, accusing the Lord’s messengers of teaching works-based salvation if they insist that the gospel means death to sin and living to righteousness.

But, if being outside of faith in Jesus Christ means we are enslaved to sin, even basic logic says that faith in Jesus Christ should mean deliverance from slavery (bondage) to sin, not merely just forgiving the sin. For, if you are in jail for a crime you committed, and someone pardons your sin, but he leaves you still in prison, would you even feel you were really pardoned?

We can’t remove our behaviors, our actions, our deeds from the gospel message. Yes, we can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. No amount of good works on our own will ever win us God’s divine approval or save us from hell. But, this is not to be translated to say that our salvation from sin does not have to result in changed minds and behaviors.

For, although all of humanity knew God, not intimately, but they had knowledge of God, who he is, what he is about, and what he requires, they, in their flesh, outside of faith in Jesus Christ, chose to not honor him. They chose not to show him respect, obedience, submission, and reverence. But, they worshiped created things rather than the creator.

Romans 1:24-25 ESV

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

All throughout the New Testament we are taught that we must put off sin and put on righteousness. This is not works-based salvation. If it was, you would have to discard most of the NT. If our actions don’t matter to God, and if truly all we need to do is just accept Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, believe he has forgiven us, and believe we are now bound for heaven, then, again, we don’t need most of the New Testament.

For, the New Testament is jam packed with warnings and with instructions about sin given to the church, i.e. to people who claim faith in Jesus Christ. All throughout the New Testament, those who make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ are instructed in holy living and are warned against taking God’s grace for granted, thinking his grace gives them free license to keep on in their sinful lifestyles (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Tit. 2:11-14; 2 Co. 5:15; Eph. 5:3-6; Eph. 4:17-24; etc.).

The lie says that we can be saved from our sins, have heaven guaranteed us as our eternal destiny, and that our behaviors don’t matter to God. Some even go so far as to suggest that God no longer sees our sins, for all he sees when he looks at us is Jesus. While it is true that when the Lord forgives our sins, that we are now reconciled to God via Jesus’ blood sacrifice for our sins, it is not true that he now turns a blind eye to continued sin.

For, if he did, we wouldn’t have most of the New Testament, for it would not be necessary. For, most of the New Testament contains instructions to the church, which includes those who make professions only of Christ, for they were among those who gathered with the church. And, those instructions, over and over again, tell us to put off this or that sin and to put on godliness and holiness, instead, and to do what pleases our Lord.

So, don’t believe the lie that your sin no longer matters to God. It does! For, Jesus died and he was resurrected from the dead in order that you might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. But, if we choose to follow after the lie, and we refuse to believe the truth, God will let us go our own way, and the result will be catastrophic! You don’t want to go there!

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

Monday, April 22, 2019

3 thoughts on “Our Actions Matter

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