Ephesians 4:17-19 ESV
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
Who are the Gentiles? “Gentiles” (or “Nations”) is a term used to describe the people of the world who have not trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives, which includes Jews who do not believe in Jesus as their Messiah (See: Romans 9:6b-8; Gal. 3:26-29; Gal. 4:22-31; 1 Jn. 2:22).
We, who profess faith in Jesus Christ, are not to conduct our lives in the same manner as those who do not believe in Jesus Christ – not even in the same manner as many who profess faith in Jesus Christ, but whose lifestyles speak the opposite. In other words, our flesh is not to be what determines (dictates) how we live, what we believe, and what we do (practice).
For, those who are outside of faith in Jesus Christ are still in the darkness, still living by their flesh. Yet, some of them put some Christians to shame, for some of them live more righteously, at least by human standards, than do many who profess to be followers of Jesus. For, there are people who do not believe in Jesus who live moral lives, who do good deeds, and who minister to the poor and needy. Yet, their good deeds will not save them.
For, not one of us, no matter how moral we are, and no matter how many good deeds we do, can be good enough to gain God’s divine approval. For, we have all sinned, and we have all come up short of God’s glory, i.e. of his divine approval and his holiness and righteousness. For, not one of us is without sin, and sin is what separates us from God (Rom. 3:23).
Yet, this does not mean that holiness is not a requirement of God for salvation. And, it does not mean that we can “believe” in Jesus and still walk in sin, thinking our sins are forgiven and we have our ticket into heaven. For, the whole reason Jesus died on that cross is that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Rom. 6:1-23).
So, faith in Jesus Christ, which is God-given and God-persuaded, submits to the Lord Jesus Christ in surrender and in obedience to his will and purposes for our lives. So, this is not our flesh trying to be good enough to earn our own salvation, on our own terms. But, this is our faith in Jesus working out through our lives, by the power of God’s Spirit now living within us, empowering us to die daily to sin and self, and to live daily to Christ and to his righteousness.
Thus, we are no longer to be under the control of sin and the flesh and Satan. We are no longer to be those who make sin our practice. We should not be among those who are living in immorality, in the lusts of their flesh, in the pride of life, doing what is evil, wicked and impure. We are not to be those who ignore God’s commands so that we can engage in evil deeds. This should not be what defines us, and it should not be what rules in our hearts.
Ephesians 4:20-24 ESV
But that is not the way you learned Christ! — assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
So, what is the way that you learned Christ? Were you told that a mere acknowledgement of Jesus was enough to secure your salvation from sin? Or, were you led to believe that a mere acceptance of God’s grace would secure you heaven as your eternal home? Or, were you told that if you repeated some words after someone in a prayer that it meant that now you were God’s child, that heaven is guaranteed you, and that nothing can take that away from you, no matter what?
Were you instructed that if you received Jesus Christ into your heart that you were now saved from your sins? And, were you told that this was forever, and that it didn’t matter how you lived from this moment forward, because God’s grace now covers it all? Or, were you even told that God requires from you no repentance (no turning away from sin), no obedience to Christ and his commands, and no submission to Jesus as Lord (master)? And, were you given the impression that God no longer sees when you sin?
Or, instead, were you taught the truth that is in Christ Jesus that you are to put off your old self, your former way of life which is corrupt through deceitful desires? Were you told that faith in Jesus Christ means you die with Christ to sin that you might live to Christ and his righteousness? Were you taught that when you come to faith in Jesus Christ that the Spirit of God turns you away from darkness (sin) to the light of righteousness, and from the power and control of Satan to God – to Jesus, to follow (obey) him?
And, were you taught, too, that involved in this life transformation is the Spirit of God transforming (renewing) you in your mind away from a lifestyle of sin to surrender to Christ, and to a life of walking in obedience to him? And, that this is what it means to be “born again”?
And, then were you instructed to put on your new self in Christ Jesus, to apply what Jesus did for you via his death and resurrection to your new life in him? For, this new self is not like the old self. It is radically transformed of the Spirit of God in death to sin and in living to righteousness. For, in your new birth you are created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. For, this is why Jesus died, to free you from your slavery to sin, not so you would continue in your sinful lifestyles without guilt.
But, this is not saying we will be perfect. None of us will reach perfection until we are with Jesus for eternity. For, as long as we live in these flesh bodies, we still have the propensity to sin against God. We are still tempted to sin against God. And, we will most likely fail in one area or another from time to time. For, if we could be perfect, Jesus wouldn’t have had to die.
BUT… lack of perfection, or the fact that we still live in flesh bodies is never an excuse for continued willful sinful practices against God; against Jesus. For, in Jesus’ death on that cross, he became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. In his death and resurrection, he provided the way for us to be delivered out of our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin, and he provided the empowerment of the Spirit of God to live righteously.
And, he set the standard for true faith in Jesus Christ and the punishment for those who do not put that faith into practice. For, his word teaches us that if we live (walk, conduct our lives, in practice) according to our flesh, to do what it desires, that we are going to die in our sins, no matter what we profess with our lips. Yet, he says that if we, by the Spirit, are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and if we are walking (in lifestyle) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God, then we have eternal life with God.
So, know the truth, and live the truth, because your life depends on it.
[See: Lu. 9:23-25; Jn. 6:35-66; Jn. 10:27-30; Ac. 26:16-18; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Gal. 1:3-5; Gal. 2:20; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 2:8-10; Eph. 4:17-24; Eph. 5:3-6; Col. 1:13-14, 21-23; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 1:13-16; 1 Pet. 2:9-10; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; & 1 Jn. 1:5-9.]
An Original Work / February 21, 2013
Based off Luke 9:22-25
Jesus, Son of God,
Died for us on a cross.
Anyone who would come to Him
Must deny himself and follow.
He must take up his cross daily;
Die to sin and self each day.
Father, God above,
Loved us so: gave His Son.
If you want to save your old life;
Keep on sinning, follow your ways,
You will lose your life forever;
Hope of heaven gone away.
Spirit of our God
Gives us life in God’s Son.
Nonetheless, if you die to self;
Forsake your sin; follow Jesus,
You will live with God in heaven,
And forever praise His name!
Monday, April 29, 2019