Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Hebrews 1:1-3 ESV
In Old Testament times, God spoke to people, in particular his chosen people, through men of God, who God had called to be his prophets, his messengers, to say his exact words to the people with the authority of God behind them. Jesus, who is both God and the Son of God, then came to the earth, and when he began to speak to the people, his words were God’s exact words, because he was and is God.
Then, Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He was then resurrected from the dead, he appeared to many people, and then he went back to the Father in heaven. From there he sent his Holy Spirit to indwell and to empower his followers. And, we who are his followers are now his messengers. Thus, we are to take His Word to the people, with the authority of God behind it, and we are to share with them the gospel of our salvation from sin, as is taught in the holy scriptures.
But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
Hebrews 1:8-9 ESV
God the Father here referred to Jesus Christ, his Son, as God, which is just one of many proof texts to show that Jesus is not only the Son of God, but he is God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
And, this is what Jesus and his kingdom is about. It is about uprightness, righteousness, godliness, purity, morality, faithfulness, and honesty, etc. For, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He does not change. And, he hates wickedness, immorality, betrayal, lies and deception.
Righteousness is the sign or the representation or character of his kingdom, of which we are a part if we belong to God through God-given faith in Jesus Christ. So, righteousness should also be our mark, our character, i.e. what we represent by our lifestyles.
We should be living holy lives, set apart from the world of sin and unto God. We should be living godly lives free from the influences of this sinful world. And, we should be walking in our Lord’s righteousness daily, by his grace, and in his power within us.
We should have left our former lives of living for sin and self behind us. We should have closed that door, never to go back there again. We should have deserted worldliness and godlessness and living for self-pleasure. And, we should now be walking in the calling God has placed on our lives to live in purity, honesty, uprightness, self-control, morality, faithfulness and the like.
But, when we do… when we truly leave our old lives behind us to follow our Lord in purity of devotion to him, to go where he sends us, to say what he commands us to say, and to be who he created us to be, we will be opposed. And, it won’t just be people out in the world who are going to oppose us, either. Much of our opposition will also come from the worldly market-driven and flesh-driven institutional church.
For, within the institutional church, many are teaching a gospel lite, which is a mixture of truth and lies, which does not require death to sin and living to righteousness. Instead, it encourages worldliness and self-pleasure and it coddles people in their sin and instructs the righteous to “stay in your own lane” and to not say anything to offend the people of the world.
But, it isn’t just that they will oppose us and the true gospel, but that they will scold us or chide us because we love righteousness and we hate wickedness. They will try to convince us that isn’t “normal,” and even that we “need help” because they think we should be more like the world. For, in today’s Christian society here in America, it is not normal to be sold out to Jesus and to living godly and holy lives, pleasing to him.
“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment,
like a robe you will roll them up,
like a garment they will be changed.
But you are the same,
and your years will have no end.”
Hebrews 1:10-12 ESV
But, all that is of this world is going to pass away. The present universe will one day be gone and there will be a new heaven and a new earth. And, all those who have held on to this world of sin, because they loved wickedness and hated righteousness, are going to rolled up right with it, and they will perish in their sins. They will perish because they loved their sins and they would not give them up to walk with God in holiness.
And, this is not just talking about people who never made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. This is talking about all those who say “Lord, Lord,” but it is lip service only, for their hearts are far from him. He isn’t their Lord at all, for they are still masters of their own hearts. They may fake righteousness and act as though they are followers of Jesus, but they never really left their lifestyles of sin behind them to follow our Lord in obedience.
For, the scriptures teach that it is only those who walk (in practice) according to the Spirit of God who have eternal life with God. And, they teach that if we don’t forsake our sins, and we don’t follow our Lord in obedience, that we don’t have eternal life with God, either (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? Hebrews 2:1-3 ESV
We have to take this seriously. We can’t ignore what the scriptures teach and hold on to only a few hand-picked scriptures which we feel assure us of eternal life with God regardless of how we live our lives on this earth. For, the vast majority of teachings in the New Testament on the subject of salvation from sin and eternal life with God make it clear that our walks are what determine our eternal destiny.
Now, lest you think I am teaching works-based salvation, let me clarify that. Yes, we are only saved by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ. We can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. Our own works are like filthy rags in God’s sight. We will never be good enough!
BUT… God’s grace to us instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and worldly passions and desires and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return. He died that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him. The righteous requirement of the law is fully met in us who walk (in lifestyle, in practice) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh (Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24; Rom. 8:1-17; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Eph. 4:17-24).
We must know here that we are all going to reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction (corruption, decay, death). But, if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:7-8). So, don’t be stupid! Don’t ignore these truths. Know what the scripture teaches and then walk in obedience to the truth. Let Jesus change your life and purify you from all unrighteousness, and walk in his truth and in his righteousness the rest of your days on this earth.
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!