“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV
We live in a day and age where people are being encouraged to follow their feelings more than ever before, I believe. And, this philosophy has also crept into the church and has largely been adopted by the church, too. And, this thought has also been blended in with the gospel of our salvation, too.
Feelings, though, in and of themselves are not evil. God created us to be people who feel emotions of happiness, sadness, and anger and joy, etc. He created us to express emotion in praise to him, too. For, we are to delight in our Lord, not just in secret inside of us, but outwardly and in audible ways – in singing, dancing, and in playing musical instruments, and the like.
But, our feelings are not to be what direct or rule our lives. And, we can’t base our faith or our worship of God on our feelings, either. So, just because we have some emotional experience, and it feels like it is from God, it doesn’t mean it is from God. We have to test the spirits to see if they are from God. And, we have to test our religious experiences against the Word of God (in context), too, to see if what we are feeling, or if what we are experiencing lines up with the Word of God.
For, although we are to have childlike faith in order to be genuinely saved from our sins, we are not to be childish, immature, irresponsible and self-indulgent, living life for our sinful pleasures, doing what makes us feel good in our flesh. We are to have a simple trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, but “simple” is not “stupid.” It is not out of control. It is under the control of the Holy Spirit, and it is moral, upright, honest and faithful.
So, if you have people telling you that faith in Jesus Christ is some experience that you go through once and then you are good to go and heaven is now guaranteed you no matter what, don’t listen to them.
And, if they are telling you that all you have to do is just make some profession of faith in Jesus Christ or just acknowledge him in some way, or just accept his gift of grace, and now you have your “fire insurance” which guarantees you heaven when you die, no matter how you live from that moment forward, don’t listen to them, either. For, what these deceitful schemers are telling you is a lie straight from hell, for it is opposite of what Jesus taught.
What they are trying to do is to pull you away from the biblical Jesus Christ and to make you their followers and slaves of depravity. So, they have supplanted the true gospel with a fake gospel, and God’s true grace with a fake grace, and the Jesus of the Bible with a fake Jesus, and the true worship of God with fake worship based on our feelings, not on true faith.
For, they are workers of iniquity who serve the devil, not God, and so they are out to conquer and subdue you and to make you their slaves, instead of you being slaves of God’s righteousness (Rom. 6:1-23). So, their goal is to deceive you with clever stories they have made up which appeal to human flesh, and which lead you away from the gospel of redemption to a flesh-driven gospel (see Revelation 13; Jude 1; 2 Peter and Matthew 23).
They want you tossed here and there by every wind of doctrine of men so that you are not on solid ground in your faith, so that you are on sinking sand, so that you go by your feelings and not by God-given and divinely persuaded faith in Jesus Christ, which surrenders to the Lordship of Christ. They want you living by your flesh believing you are saved from your sins and that you have eternal life guaranteed, even if you live like hell.
And, this is why we need to pray for God to raise up a mighty army of spiritual warriors to do battle against this lie of Satan, to expose it for what it is, and to tell people the truth so that the people who are now living to the flesh will forsake their sinful lifestyles, and so they will follow our Lord in obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives, so that they will have the promise of heaven and eternal life with God guaranteed (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 5:3-6; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
My Jesus, I Love Thee
Hymn lyrics by William R. Featherstone, 1864
Music by Adoniram J. Gordon, 1876
My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:17-24 ESV
Works-based salvation and a salvation that does not deliver people from their slavery to sin, but which coddles them in their sin, come from the same sources – Satan and the flesh of man. They are both man-made. They are two extremes going in opposite directions of what Jesus and his NT apostles taught regarding our salvation from sin and our eternal life with God.
For, one tries to earn one’s salvation by fleshly works, religious performance, man-made rules, and strict adherence to religious rituals, rites and traditions, which are all external in nature, and which do nothing to change the heart of man. And, the other gives free license to continue in willful sinful practices while claiming God’s love and grace covers them all, and while promising their adherents heaven when they die. But, that also does nothing to change the heart of man, and to move it toward the heart of God.
For both serve the flesh. Both worship the flesh. Both bow to and submit to the flesh, not to God. And, they are both self-serving, not pleasing to God. For, they are both trying to be saved from their sins by another way other than through Jesus Christ – which is through death to sin and living to righteousness, by God’s grace. And, so their flesh keeps getting in the way between them and a genuine believing relationship with Jesus Christ, the Lord.
For they are trying to be saved or they are trying to live for God by human effort. Both legalism and the cheap grace gospel are man-made efforts to be right with God and to go to heaven when they die. But, these man-made gospels have put themselves above God. They do not submit to God – neither one of them do. And, what they bow to is their own flesh. And, this is because in their pride they think they know better than God. So, they ignore the commands of God which are not pleasing to their flesh. And, in their pride they maintain control over their own lives. They don’t yield to the control of the Holy Spirit over their lives, and so they yield to the flesh.
Now, a professed Christian and singer, Debby Boone, daughter to Pat Boone, in 1977 sang a hit song called, “You light up my life,” and the “You” in the song was not Jesus Christ. The “You” was not identified. But it was hinted at. For, at the end of the song she said, “It can’t be wrong when it feels so right, ‘cause you light up my life.” And she said of this unidentified “you,” that he gave her hope to carry on, and he filled her nights with song. So, who tells her that it can’t be wrong if it feels so right? It is not God. It is Satan and the flesh. And, it is a cheap grace gospel, too.
And, there are many people who are promoting this cheap grace gospel in churches and on the internet, on blogs, on Facebook, on Twitter and on Christian discussion sites, too. And, they have a strong influence over the naïve, the immature, and those who have no knowledge of the Bible, or of Jesus Christ, except from what they hear from others and from TV, too.
So, if you profess faith in Jesus Christ, examine your life against these scriptures here to see if your faith is from God or from your own flesh. For, if it is from God, then it submits to Jesus Christ as Lord, it leaves sinful lifestyles behind us, and it turns to God to follow him in obedience to his commands.
And, if you speak or you write out in public and/or on the internet, please realize that your words really matter, and please make sure what you are teaching, with regard to our salvation from sin, matches what is taught here in Ephesians 4, that we must put off our old lives of sin, be renewed in our hearts and minds of the Spirit of God, and that by God’s grace and in his power and strength we must put on Christ and his righteousness daily.
For, we are all going to reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, we will reap destruction, but if we sow to please the Spirit, we will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:7-8).
Lord, Send Me Anywhere
David Livingstone, 1813-1873
Frank Garlock, b. 1930
Lord, send me anywhere, Only go with me;
Lay any burden on me, Only sustain me.
Sever any tie, Save the tie that binds me to Thy heart—
Lord Jesus, my King, I consecrate my life, Lord, to Thee.