Love in Truth

Romans 12:1 ESV

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, this is not merely about Jesus forgiving us our sins so that we can go to be with him in heaven one day. This is about the Spirit of God transforming our hearts and minds away from lifestyles of living for sin and self to following Jesus Christ with our lives. For, Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

Therefore, because Jesus Christ, God the Son, gave his life up for us on that cross, and then rose from the dead to give us life with him eternally, and because his purpose in sacrificing himself for us was to put our old lives to death and to give us new lives in him to be lived for him, we are to give our lives to him wholly as living sacrifices to him, holy and pleasing to God.

For, Jesus’ sacrifice on that cross for our sins was not to liberate us to keep on in our sinful practices, only now without guilt and remorse. For, when he took our place on that cross, and he shed his blood for us, it was to buy us back for God that we would now be God’s possession, and that we would now honor God with our lives. For, Jesus died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (2 Co. 5:15).

Thus, our lives are to be dedicated to him and to his service. We are to leave our old lives behind us to follow him in surrender to his will for our lives. For, this is true worship of God, not some shallow and superficial displays of what some falsely call worship. For, it is not worship of God to go on living for sin and self, thinking that God’s grace covers it all. We are not worshiping God, too, just because we sing songs about him, either, if we are withholding our hearts from him, and if we are still choosing to go our own way.

Romans 12:2 ESV

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

So many people these days are making a mockery of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins by teaching people that they can “believe” in Jesus Christ and yet continue on in their sinful addictions. For, Jesus’ purpose in dying for us was to put sin to death in our flesh and to empower us to live holy lives, pleasing to God. It was not merely to forgive us our sins, but to deliver us out of our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17).

Therefore, we are no longer to be conformed to the ways of this sinful world. We aren’t supposed to look like, act like, and talk like the world of sin. We should be distinctly different from the world, set apart for God and for his service. So, we shouldn’t be watching the same garbage much of the world does, and we shouldn’t be making gossip, lying, cheating, committing adultery, lusting, and/or stealing our practice, as a matter of course.

And, we shouldn’t be allowing ourselves to be entertained by such, either. We shouldn’t be applauding, laughing with, or supporting in any way rebellion against Almighty God and lifestyles which are given over to fulfilling the lusts of our flesh and to causing harm to others, which is hate, not love.

Instead, we are to be transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God. Our minds are to be renewed. They aren’t supposed to be just like they were before. Now, our minds should be set on the Lord to follow him in his will and in his ways, instead of having minds set on pleasing our sinful flesh. And, we are to discern what the will of God is for our lives – his good, acceptable and perfect will for our lives – and in his power and strength, we are to do his will.

Romans 12:3-5 ESV

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

So many people who profess the name of Jesus are puffed up with this notion that, now that they are “saved” from their sins, and that heaven is secured them, they can keep on in their sinful practices and that God doesn’t even see when they sin against him, or that his grace covers it all. Some people look at their salvation from sin merely as fire insurance to get them out of hell and to guarantee they will go to heaven when they die.

So, they think of themselves more highly than they ought because they have never truly humbled themselves before God in true repentance. They never submitted to his Lordship over their lives, and they never submitted to his will and purposes. It is like they have this entitlement mindset that God should just grant his grace to them, but that they don’t have to obey him in return. And, many of them have convinced themselves that walks of holiness is works-based salvation, and thus they don’t have to obey the Lord.

As well, there are those who profess the name of Jesus who look down on everyone who isn’t like them. Now, I am not talking about showing genuine concern over brothers and sisters in Christ who are caught up in sinful practices. It is not conceited or puffed up to care that others are living in sin and to reach out to them, in love, to help lift them up out of their pits, and to encourage them toward holy living. Jesus did that.

I am talking about legalists who try to put yokes on people that God does not intend, such as trying to force customs or traditions of men on believers in Jesus Christ, and to try to guilt-trip Christians into following these customs. This is what the Judaizers did, and were chastised for it. So, we must be cautious against judging one another based on our own personal prejudices, customs, and traditions which are of man, not of God.

And, then, as members of the body of Christ, we are not to be conceited or puffed up about whatever gifts or talents or roles within the body of Christ that God has given to us. For, if it comes from God, then it is not from us, and thus we have no reason to be puffed up and to think that we are somehow better than someone else because of our giftedness. But, we are to realize that God made us all unique, and he has different parts for each of us, and only by God’s grace can we even do our parts, so all glory to God!

Romans 12:9 ESV

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.

When the Bible tells us to love one another, and to walk in love, this is not talking about this “feel good” mushy-gushy kind of love which is based in human flesh and in our feelings. It is talking about agape love, which is God-like, and which prefers what God prefers, which is what is moral, holy and righteous. Thus, this kind of love will not practice sinning against one another. It will not cheat on, lie to, commit adultery against, lust after, gossip about, or take advantage of another in any way, in practice.

It will also not fake love to someone’s face while we stab them in the back when they aren’t looking. Genuine love will be truthful and it will be sincere, not phony, not a performance, and not just something we do to make people think we love them when truly we are just loving ourselves. It will not be lip service only, too, spouting out all kinds of verbal expressions of affection while behind closed doors it sins against those it promises to love. Thus, genuine love will not lie to others, either, whether it is to cover up sin, or to try to make others feel good. For, lies are never kind.

Genuine love, thus, abhors (hates, despises) all that is evil. So, if we love others, we are not going to willfully sin against them, as a matter of course, but we will cling to what is good, instead, not just in theory, though, but in daily practice, as a matter of habit. And, this also means that we will be burdened for those who are still living in sin, and that we will be honest with them about sin, and that we will share with them the way to victory over sin and to walks of holiness in the power of God.

Walking in The Light

An Original Work / November 16, 2011
Based off 1 John 1-2

When I lift up my voice, and
Sing praise unto God,
I will fellowship with my
Lord and Savior, King.
In Him there is no darkness.
He is in the light of truth.
If we walk in His light,
From sin He purifies.

If we repent of our sins,
He’ll forgive us now,
When we humble ourselves, and
Before Jesus bow.
The man who says, “I know Him,”
But does not obey His truth,
There is no truth in him.
In darkness still he’s found.

Do not love the world of sin,
For it is hell bound.
If you follow the world, you’ll
Not in Christ be found.
The world and its desires
Will not last; they’ll expire.
The one who does God’s will,
Receives eternal life.

See that what you have heard from
Christ remains in you.
Then, you’ll remain in Christ, and
In His Father, too.
This is what He promised us –
His eternal life with God.
So, continue in Him, and
You’ll receive a crown.

 

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