So, you believe that you trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of your life. You repented of your sins. You turned away from your old life of sin to follow Jesus in obedience to his will and to his ways. You believe he saved you from your sins, and that he has given you eternal life in Him.
So, now what? What comes next? What does this new life in Jesus Christ look like? How are you supposed to live now differently from how you lived before? And, does it really matter how you live your life now?
“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” I Peter 2:1-5 ESV
Our new lives in Jesus Christ aren’t supposed to look like our old lives. We aren’t supposed to follow the same old sinful practices that we did before we trusted in Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior. All those sins we practiced before, that stood opposed to God and his purposes for our lives, we are to put them away – all of them!
So, if before we met Jesus we were people who were mean and hateful towards others, just because we didn’t like something about them or what they did or what they believed, then we need to put that off, and we need to put on love and kindness. If we were spiteful, and we practiced getting even with others, now we need to be forgiving and restoring of relationships.
If before we met Jesus we practiced lying and deceiving others and pretending to be one way while we knew we lived another, then we need to put these away, too. And, we need to be truth tellers, in love. And, we need to be transparent and real and not fake and phony. And, we should be honest about what we are doing instead of hiding it and lying about it.
But, we don’t do this in our flesh. We do this in the Spirit of God, in his power, strength and wisdom. We still have to do it. We can’t just pray for God to just take these things away. He did that already, on the cross. And, he provided the way of escape for us out from underneath temptation to sin. We just have to take the way out he provided, and we have to do what he says we must do, and we have to let him have control of our lives, too.
Instead of craving and going after what our flesh desires and what all the world is offering us in the way of entertainment and self-pleasure, now we are to seek God with all our hearts. We are to get into his Word daily, to feast on it, to take it in, and to then apply its truths to our lives and to our spiritual walks with Christ. We are not to be hearers only of the Word, James said, but we are to be doers of the Word who put the Word in practice.
We are not saved from our sins just so we can go to heaven when we die. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died to deliver us out of our slavery to sin and to make us slaves to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet. 2:24; Rom. 6:1-23; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).
So, when we come to faith in Jesus Christ, if it is genuine faith, then the Holy Spirit of God transforms our hearts and minds away from living for sin and self to walks of obedience to our Lord Jesus. But, then this must be maintained on a daily basis, daily dying to sin and self and daily putting on Christ and his righteousness (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
And, the spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God, that we are to offer up to God, are broken and contrite hearts, and lives surrendered to Jesus Christ and to his will for our lives. They are lives which are being lived in the power of God in purity, holiness and righteousness for the praise and glory of God, and which are pleasing to God. And, they are that we are no longer conformed (of the same shape) to the sinful patterns of this world, but that we are transformed of God in the renewing of our minds, learning and doing what is the acceptable will of God for our lives (Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:17-24).
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” I Peter 2:9-10 ESV
God has called us to be a holy people who are separate (unlike, different) from this sinful world, and separate unto God and to his service, who are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. So, we aren’t supposed to be doing all the same things that the people of the world do who have no faith in Jesus Christ. We aren’t supposed to blend in with the world to be acceptable to the world, but we are to live holy lives unto God.
For, we are now God’s possession, for Jesus Christ bought us back for God with his blood shed for our sins. So, we are to now honor God with our lives. And, he is to truly be Lord (king, owner, master) of our lives, and not us!
And, we are to proclaim his excellencies and his gospel of salvation from sin, regarding how he took us from our lives of sin, and how he now changed us so that we are now walking in his righteousness, in his power and strength within us. But, this is not lip service only. It is not just spouting out a bunch of religious phrases or theology or empty platitudes, either.
This is about sharing what is real, what is true, and what is really happening in our lives, not what we think everyone else wants to hear. And, it is being honest about our shortcomings, too. And, it is walking the talk and not just talking the walk. It is giving real life testimonies of how this is being realized in our own lives, and then it is living what we preach, too. It doesn’t mean we are perfect, for we are still clay vessels in the Potter’s hands, but it does mean we are not walking in sin, but that we are walking by the Spirit of God.
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” I Peter 2:11-12, 16 ESV
So, what does this Christian life look like? We are to live like we don’t belong here, as though we are just strangers passing through. We are not to be attached to this world, for we belong to Jesus Christ. This world should have no hold on our lives. It should have no sway over our lives. Our lives should now be led and directed of the Holy Spirit of God, and Him alone.
So, we are to abstain (refrain) from the passions of our sinful flesh. We are not to give in to them. We are not to indulge in them. We are not to take into our lives, or into our minds, our eyes and our ears what is unwholesome and what is worldly, evil, lewd and morally impure. They should have no part of our lives. We should not be entertained by what is sinful and wicked.
We are to keep our conduct pure, honest, upright, godly and moral. We are to live honorable lives, not engaging ourselves in any forms of wickedness. And, we are not to use our freedom in Christ as free license to continue in sinful practices, either, or as a cover-up for evil. We are not free to practice sin! If we make sin our practice, we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God!! (Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
But, we are to live our lives on this earth as servants of our Lord and of his righteousness, to the glory and praise of God. And, we are to do what is pleasing to him, which is to obey his commands and to love others.
Songs in the Night
An Original Work / December 18, 2013
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84
Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.
I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!
Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.
I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!
Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.
Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!