Mark 8:31-33 ESV
And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
When I read this passage of scripture this morning, what immediately came to mind is how Jesus said that we would suffer as he suffered, and also how so many people today are rebuking those of us who are teaching this truth, saying it isn’t so. And, truly it is because they are not setting their minds on the things of God, but on the things of man. So, we need to not listen to what they are saying.
For, what so many of them are saying is that faith in Jesus Christ is a mere acknowledgment or profession of faith in Jesus Christ, but that their faith does not have to alter their lifestyles. Change is recommended, in some cases, but it is considered optional. Or, in some cases, the necessity of change is even discouraged, claiming it is works-based salvation. Sin is rarely talked about, and death to sin and living to righteousness, as required for our salvation, is not being taught by the majority.
The grace they are teaching, thus, is a cheap (false) grace which leaves people still dead in their sins, bound for hell, while promising them heaven as their eternal destiny. And, so many people have bought into this lie. Thus, when they die, they are going to hear the Lord say to them, “Depart from me. I never knew you.” And, they are going to be surprised, because they believed they were going to heaven, because they believed the lie.
Mark 8:34-37 ESV
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?”
Jesus made it quite clear the cost of following him. Yes, his grace is a free gift to us, but that free gift is not just forgiveness of sins. It is deliverance from our bondage to sin, which requires death to sin and living to righteousness. And, it is empowerment of the Spirit of God to live new lives in Christ Jesus, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Yes, it is true that we can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. No amount of good works done in the flesh will ever result in us being saved from our sins and bound for heaven. It is only by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ that any of us can be saved and have eternal life with God. But, if the faith is from God, then it will submit to God, and it will leave lifestyles of sin behind to follow Jesus in obedience.
For, God-given faith in Jesus Christ is crucified with Christ in death to sin, and it lives to Christ and to his righteousness, all in the power of God’s Spirit now living within the life of the true believer in Jesus Christ. And, this kind of faith, which is necessary for salvation, now walks (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. It does not demand absolute perfection, otherwise Jesus would not have had to die, but it does demand that we die daily to sin and self and that we walk in obedience to God.
For, if we hold on to our old sinful lifestyles (practices, habits), we will lose our lives for eternity, and we will hear, “Depart from me. I never knew you.” But, if willingly we die to our old lives, and we now walk in obedience and in submission to Christ as Lord of our lives, then we are promised eternal life with God, for this is what it means to believe in Jesus Christ. This is the kind of faith we must have to have the promise of heaven as our eternal destiny, and this faith must be ongoing until the end of time, too.
[Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Co. 6:20; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8]
Mark 8:38 ESV
“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Being ashamed of our Lord and his Words is not just about denying him and his word with our lips. But, this has to do with denying him by our lifestyles. So, someone can profess faith in Jesus Christ outwardly, and they may even be great expositors of scripture, and be those who have great biblical knowledge. But, if they do not put the Word of God into practice in their daily lives, and if they, instead, are following after the ways of their flesh, then they are ashamed of the Lord and his Word.
So, what this means is that, when our Lord returns for his bride, that those who chose to walk in the flesh rather than according to the Spirit, he will deny, and they will not enter into his heaven. For, faith in Jesus Christ has to be more than just a feeling or a thought or a religion or some acknowledgment of Christ as Savior. True faith is proved genuine by what we do; by what we live.
There are many people today who are literally at death’s door, and who think that they are going to heaven when they die merely because, at one point in their lives, they made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Or, they will think so based on church attendance, and tithing to the church, or good works. But, by their lifestyles, they denied the Lord and they did not love him or his Word or his gospel message, but they had in mind the things of man, instead.
So, if that is where you are today, please take note of what this scripture and the ones noted really teach. For, if you live to the flesh, you will die in your sins, not have eternal life with God, no matter what you profess with your lips. But, if you live to the Spirit, then you will live with Christ eternally. So, please make Jesus Christ the Lord of your life today, for not one of us knows if we have tomorrow. Don’t gain the world but forfeit your soul.
Mighty in Power
An Original Work / June 17, 2019
Jesus, our Savior, reigneth forever;
Mighty in power, His name we honor.
He’s our refuge from all evil.
God our righteous, He’s our fill.
He satisfies us with all His blessings.
We magnify Him. Our praise to Him sing.
Glory and honor, praise to the Father,
Perfect in wisdom, He is our vision.
He delivered us from all sin
So, in Christ, we’d be forgiven.
He purifies us. His love will guide us.
He is beside us, holy and righteous.
Our Holy Spirit, comfort in sorrow,
Strength in our weakness, hope for tomorrow.
He gives courage to be bold in
Witnessing for Jesus Christ.
He teaches all things about our Savior.
New life in Jesus, we found His favor.
Thursday, June 20, 2019