“For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.” 1 Corinthians 10:1-5 ESV
So, we can profess faith in Jesus Christ, we can go to church services every week, and we can tithe our income and give to the church. We can serve on committees and be in small groups, and we can sing in the praise band or the choir. We can attend Bible studies and support group meetings, too. And, we can participate in all the special events the church fellowship is having. And, we can go through all sorts of religious rituals, as well, and still not be saved from our sins or have eternal life with God in heaven.
For, what it all comes down to is whether or not God is pleased with us. And, what determines whether or not he is pleased with us? Our faith in him has to be genuine God-given and divinely persuaded faith which results in turning away from lifestyles of sin to walks of obedience to our Lord Jesus (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 4:17-24; Eph. 5:3-6; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Jas. 1:21-25).
“Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.’ We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” 1 Corinthians 10:6-11 ESV
So, what is this saying to us? It is saying that our conduct matters. And, it is saying that our faith is revealed genuine by what we do, not just by what we say we believe. We must walk (in practice) according to the Spirit of God and NOT according to our flesh if we want to have eternal life with God. We must not make sin our practice, but righteousness should be what we practice, in the power and strength of God’s Spirit living within us.
For, if we make it our practice, our habit, to engage in sexual immorality, and/or if we are idolaters because we give our devotion, obedience and our passion to self-indulgence and self-pleasure, and/or if we continually oppose our Lord by our ungrateful attitudes regarding his sacrifice of his life for us, then we must know that we are going to reap what we sow.
For, if we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction (death). But, if by the Spirit we sow to please the Spirit, then from the Spirit we will reap eternal life with God (Gal. 6:7-8; cf. Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 4:17-24; Eph. 5:3-6; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Tit. 2:11-14).
“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
We are not in good standing with God based on some profession of faith in Jesus Christ. We are not in good stead with our Lord based on doing “good deeds,” either. And, we are not acceptable to God via our religious performances, as well. We are only acceptable to God by his grace through genuine God-given faith in Jesus Christ which forsakes our lifestyles of sin to follow our Lord in obedience and in surrender to his will (Eph. 4:17-24).
So, if we think we stand secure with Christ by faith in him, and yet we do not honor him as the holy God that he is, and we do not obey his commands, and we do not forsake our idols and our sinful practices, then what we think is not in agreement with what God says, and we will fall. For, His Word says that if we walk (in practice) according to our flesh, that we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Yet, too many professers of faith in Jesus Christ these days think that God’s grace gives them free license to continue in their sinful practices while still guaranteeing them eternal life with God in heaven. But, scriptures teach the opposite of that.
And/or these professers of Christ will make continual excuses for why they can’t get free of their sinful addictions, as though they don’t know the way out. But, our Lord already provided the way out. They just have to take the way he provided, but many of them don’t want to do that. And, so they create all kinds of reasons in their minds for why they are not yet free.
And, it isn’t that they don’t know how to be free. They just don’t want to take the way out Jesus provided for them because they want to remain in their sinful practices (addictions, slavery). So, they are without excuse.
“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. …You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?” 1 Corinthians 10:14-17, 21-22 ESV
We will never have victory over sinful practices (habits, addiction, slavery) if we refuse to flee from those practices. We have to daily, by the Spirit, be putting the flesh to death. We have to resist Satan, and flee temptation, and draw near to God. We have to daily say “No” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and live self-controlled, upright and godly lives, by the Spirit of God.
Scripture after scripture in the New Testament instruct us in how to live godly lives and how to be free from our slavery to sin. We just have to follow the instructions God has given to us. And, it isn’t just a matter of forsaking sinful practices, but we need to cut out of our lives all that is leading us into sin, too. And, we have to follow Jesus in obedience to his commands if we want to not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Jn. 8:12; Heb. 12:1-17).
Too many professers of faith in Jesus Christ, although professing with their lips that they believe in Jesus Christ, are partaking in the table of demons. For, they make sin their practice and they resist God instead of resisting Satan. They obey the flesh and sin instead of obeying God. They think they are “free,” but they aren’t free, for they are still living under the control of sin resulting in death. So, they are still enslaved to sin.
So, if we truly want to be free from the control of sin over our lives, and if we truly want to be saved from our sins and to have eternal life with God, then we need to do what God’s Word teaches us we must do. We must believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith which dies with Christ to sin and lives with Christ to righteousness. We must forsake our former lives of living for sin and self, and we must follow our Lord in obedience to his will for our lives (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Then, and only then will we have peace with God, and have the assurance of eternal life with God. And, only then will we be free from addiction to sin, too. For, a life that is not surrendered to the Lord Jesus, but that is still living to please the flesh is not a saved life, no matter what one professes with his or her lips.
Seek the Lord
An Original Work / July 20, 2012
Based off Isaiah 55
“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.
“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”