Psalm 33:8-12 ESV
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.
The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
the plans of his heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
Too many people these days take God for granted, or else they minimize him and who he is. They reduce him to nothing more than a genie in the sky, or to a doting grandfather there to grant people’s every desire and request. They have an entitlement mindset with regard to God, thinking that God is there solely for them, but that they owe nothing to God.
But, God created us to worship him, to revere him, and to give him honor, respect, and true praise and adoration. As new creatures in Christ Jesus, we were created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. As born again believers in Jesus Christ, if we are truly in him by faith, we died with him to our old lives of sin that we might live to him and to his righteousness. For, he died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (Eph. 4:17-24; Rom. 6:1-23; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).
So, it isn’t “let all the earth believe in Jesus so that they can go on in their sinful lifestyles without guilt,” but it is “let all the earth fear the Lord.” And, to fear the Lord means to give him honor, praise, loyalty, devotion, worship, respect, and obedience.
To fear him is to give our lives fully to the Lord as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, which is our true worship of him. We are to be no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but we are to be transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God away from sinful practices to following our Lord in surrender and in obedience to his Word (Rom. 12:1-2).
So, those who are teaching a cheap grace gospel that saves no one from their sins, because it delivers no one from slavery to sin, will go nowhere with God. Their plans will come to nothing. For, what they are teaching is a lie. What they are teaching is of human origin, and is intended to tickle itching ears and to appeal to and to pacify human flesh.
For, Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow (obey) him. He said that if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self) we will lose them for eternity. But, if we lose our lives (die to sin and self) for the sake of his name, we will then have eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-25; cf. Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Psalm 33:13-17 ESV
The Lord looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.
The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.
Some people have the mistaken notion that, once they “believe” in Jesus, he no longer sees their sins, and that all he sees when he looks down on us is Jesus. So, they feel as though they can continue in their sinful practices because God no longer sees their sins and that his grace covers them all.
But, the whole of the New Testament “blows that notion out of the water” (an expression). Yes, when we believe in Jesus Christ for our salvation, he forgives our sins, and they are no longer held against us. We are no longer under condemnation. But, true belief in Jesus involves death to sin and living to righteousness, and it is continuous until the very end of time.
And, all throughout the New Testament, those who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives are warned against continuing in sinful practices, and they are instructed to put off their sinful ways and to put on Christ and his holiness and purity, and to do this daily. So, if God can no longer see our sins, why all the warnings to the church against sinning?
Also, since the scriptures are real clear that it is those who are walking according to the Spirit who have eternal life with God, and that those who are still walking (in practice) according to the flesh will die in their sins, this means that God does indeed still see when we sin, and that true faith in Jesus Christ involves walking by the Spirit and not by the flesh (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).
And, since nothing is hidden from God, and he does truly see everything that we do, and we will be judged by our deeds (see noted scriptures above), then we have to know that a mere profession of faith in Jesus Christ is not going to save us from our sins or guarantee us heaven when we die. For, it is based in the flesh, not in the Spirit, and thus it cannot rescue us from our slavery to sin, for it refuses to die with Christ to sin that we might live with Christ to his righteousness.
Psalm 33:18-22 ESV
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
So, it is those who walk in the fear of the Lord who have the hope of eternal life with God, not those who merely give him lip service. And, this is not works-based salvation. For, we can do nothing in ourselves to earn or to deserve our own salvation. Yet, our salvation from sin involves us dying with Christ daily to sin and self and daily living to him and to his righteousness, all in his power and strength at work within us. This is true faith!
For, the faith to believe in Jesus Christ is a gift from God to us. It is divine persuasion as to God’s will and purpose for our lives, too. And, if persuaded of God, we will submit to the Lordship of Christ over our lives, and we will surrender our lives to the Lord to do his will in his power and strength. And, we will walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. Yet, it doesn’t mean we will be perfect, or that we will never sin again, but that sin is no longer our master, but Jesus Christ is our only Lord.
So, true faith in Jesus Christ means dying with Christ to sin and living with Christ to his righteousness. It means we are committed to following our Lord in surrender and in obedience to his will for our lives. Our dependency is on him, and not on our own strength. Our lives are now given to him.
An Original Work / June 19, 2013
Based off Acts 20-22, 26; Mt. 28:18-20; Ac. 1:8
Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?
I’m fully ready to suffer for Christ.
If I must die for the sake of His name,
I am convinced it will not be in vain.
Glory to God and to His Son Jesus,
Who has redeemed us; bought with His blood.
May I speak to you? Jesus came to me;
Asked of me, “Why do you persecute me?”
He said, “Now get up and stand on your feet.
Go, and you’ll be told all I have for you.
I have appointed you as a servant,
And as a witness; you have been sent.”
“Go into the world and preach the gospel.
Open the blind eyes. They will receive sight.
Turn them from darkness to the light of Christ;
From power of the evil one to God,
So they may receive forgiveness of sins,
And a place among those who’re in heav’n.”
Thursday, July 4, 2019