Righteous are you, O Lord,
and right are your rules.
You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness
and in all faithfulness.
My zeal consumes me,
because my foes forget your words.
Your promise is well tried,
and your servant loves it.
Psalm 119:137-140 ESV
What the Lord Jesus is impressing upon my heart this morning is how so many people are buying into false doctrines or a false gospel of salvation because it has the appearance of righteousness. It has the appearance of truth. But, when you look inside, it is a different story. It may look like the gospel of Jesus Christ on the outside, but inside it is truly a gospel of men, of human wisdom, not of God’s wisdom.
So, how do you know the difference? How can one distinguish the true gospel from a false gospel of men’s wisdom (human wisdom) if on the outside it appears to be the true gospel?
We have to look inside. We have to examine what is inside. We have to test the contents of this gospel against the teachings of Jesus and of his NT apostles in the context of the whole of the New Testament and against the whole counsel of God, which Paul said that he taught, and he did.
We have to ask, “Does what I just read or heard line up with scripture?” But, we can’t look at just a handful of “cherry picked” scriptures, but we have to look at the whole of what the Bible teaches regarding the doctrines of the Christian faith and practice, and regarding our salvation from sin and eternal life with God. For, we can easily support most any doctrine if we take scriptures out of context to make them say what we want to believe.
I am small and despised,
yet I do not forget your precepts.
Your righteousness is righteous forever,
and your law is true.
Trouble and anguish have found me out,
but your commandments are my delight.
Your testimonies are righteous forever;
give me understanding that I may live.
Psalm 119:141-144 ESV
This brings to mind the narrow road that leads to eternal life which few find, for it is “small and despised.”
What is popular and loved by most people is the broad road that many travel which leads to destruction. But, to gain followers for the broad road, false shepherds of the people have had to discredit the narrow road so that people will be discouraged from following that pathway, and their plot is working.
For, the narrow road which leads to eternal life, which few travel, is restricted, and so they accuse it of being “works-based salvation.” Yes, the gift of God’s grace is free, but we need to know what the gift is and what grace is in order to understand what this free gift really entails.
For, God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return. And, the free gift is deliverance from our slavery to sin and empowerment to live righteously before God (Tit. 2:11-14; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!
I will keep your statutes.
I call to you; save me,
that I may observe your testimonies.
I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I hope in your words.
My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promise.
Psalm 119:145-148 ESV
I believe what is really at risk here is the truth of the gospel. It is coming under fire from men in their deceitful scheming, and they are giving it a bad reputation. And, it is being replaced with a gospel of men, of men’s wisdom, which is also including aspects of other religions and their false gods, too.
So, the truth of the gospel needs to be rescued from those who would malign it and distort it. And, the only way this is going to happen is if more people would begin to speak out about what the gospel really teaches, and if they would expose the teachings which are false and are of Satan, and are not of God.
For, so many people these days have been deceived, and they are blinded to the truth, and they think that the gospel they have come to accept is the true gospel, and so they are holding on to that belief, some of them truly not knowing that they are believing a lie instead of the truth.
Yet, there are many who willfully ignore the truth they know in order to embrace the lies, because the lies give them permission to continue living in their sin without guilt.
Hear my voice according to your steadfast love;
O Lord, according to your justice give me life.
They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose;
they are far from your law.
But you are near, O Lord,
and all your commandments are true.
Long have I known from your testimonies
that you have founded them forever.
Psalm 119:149-152 ESV
The true gospel of our salvation needs to be brought back to life in the hearts of men and women across this globe. Those who are persecuting the true gospel of Christ are definitely far from God’s law, because they believe they don’t have to obey Jesus’s commands, and that they don’t have to surrender their lives to Christ, and that they don’t have to turn away from their sin.
So, those of us who know the truth of the gospel need to be spreading that truth far and wide so that many will hear, and so they will have the opportunity to be saved from their sins and to have eternal life with God. But, we are fighting against the lies of the enemy of our souls, so we have to also be those who will expose the lies for what they are, for they are fighting against the truth.
And, the truth is this: Jesus Christ died on that cross so that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. Jesus, when he died on that cross, bought us back for God with his blood so that we are now God’s possession, and so that we now honor God with our lives (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Co. 6:20; Tit. 2:14; Eph. 2:10).
The truth that is in Christ Jesus teaches that we must forsake our former lives of living for sin and self, that we must be renewed in our minds of the Spirit of God, and that we must now put on Christ and his righteousness. It also teaches us that we must now walk (in practice) according to the Spirit of God, and not according to our flesh, if we want to have eternal life with God.
[Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 4:17-24; Eph. 5:3-6; 1 Jn. 1:5-9]
So, the truth of the gospel is not that we can pray some prayer or make some acknowledgment of Christ and what he did for us on that cross and that we now are saved from our sins and that we are guaranteed eternal life with God no matter how we live our lives from that moment forward.
The truth is that how we live our lives from that moment on does matter. It is not us trying to earn or to deserve our salvation, but it a heart response to God for giving us salvation and eternal life, that we want to obey him and to do what he says. We want to leave our former lives of living for sin behind us, and we want to now walk in Christ’s righteousness in the power of God.
And, so we surrender our hearts to Jesus Christ, and we choose to walk in his ways and in his truth. And, our heart’s desire is for him and not for the things and the trappings of this sinful world.
And, we understand, too, that the faith that we proclaim to have in Jesus Christ must not only be true faith which does leave lifestyles of sin behind to follow Jesus, but it must continue to the very end if we want to have eternal life with God.
The Spirit Calling
An Original Work / November 12, 2019
Hear the Spirit calling.
He’ll keep you from falling.
Tenderly He’s calling,
“Come and follow Him.”
Walk with Jesus daily.
Don’t give in to lazy.
Folks may call you crazy.
Fellowship with Him.
Follow where He leads you.
Eat what Jesus feeds you.
His love will renew you
If you follow Him.
Do what Jesus tells you.
Don’t let your faith fail you.
His love will avail you
If you walk with Him.
Jesus, Lord and Savior,
Reigneth now forever.
He gave us His favor
So we’d live with Him.
Turning now from our sin,
Holy Spirit live-in.
Holiness we walk in,
Purified by Him.
Friday, November 15, 2019