This appears to be the third in a series of devotions the Lord Jesus is giving me on the subject of feelings vs. faith, and feelings vs. love for God and for others.
“Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Corinthians 5:11-15 NIV
Do you know what it is to fear the Lord? It is not to be terrified by him, unless, of course, you are living in open rebellion against him and you are living as his enemy. But, it is to respect, honor, value, esteem, worship and obey him. It is to take him and his Word seriously, and to do what he says. And, he says we must die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness, by the Spirit of God, if we want to have eternal life with God (Rom. 8:1-17).
So, as servants of the Lord, and as his messengers, we should be working in the power of God’s Spirit in service to our Lord in sharing with people the truth of the gospel of our salvation in hopes to persuade them to leave their sinful lifestyles behind them to follow our Lord Jesus in surrender to his will.
Nonetheless, our task must now go beyond that, for we are having to convince many who call themselves Christians, and who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ, regarding the foundations of our Christian faith and practice. And, we are having to persuade them to follow our Lord in obedience to His Word and to not follow after the lies of Satan which are distorting God’s gospel into something which appeals to human flesh.
So, we are being called upon to defend the gospel to the church and to those who profess faith in Jesus Christ because so many have been led astray to follow after a cheap grace substitute, which is a supplanter for God’s true gospel of grace. And, this should not be! The Lord shouldn’t have to keep defending his gospel against a cheap grace substitute and to those who profess to know him and who profess that he is their Lord. But, so many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ are not listening to the truth, and they are embracing the lies, and so our Lord continues to come to the defense of his true gospel of grace and to refute the lies against it.
The Cheap Grace Substitute
So, what is this cheap grace substitute for God’s true grace? It is a lie, first and foremost. For, it is a distortion of truth. It contains elements of truth, but it also is a mixture with lies, and even the truth has been distorted. For, they pull scriptures out of context to make them say what they want them to say. And, on a surface read, it does sound exactly like that is what they are saying, in many cases, until you read them in the context in which they were written. And, only then do you get the whole big picture God intended.
For example, they use Romans 10:9-10 often as their key salvation message which says if we confess with our mouths Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead that we will be saved. So, if you read that by itself it sounds like all you have to do is say “Jesus is Lord” and have some element of intellectual assent to the fact that God did raise Jesus from the dead, and that is all God requires, end of story.
But, the book of Romans is one complete work which must be read in context, and in context we read that we must walk (in practice, in lifestyle) according to the Spirit of God and not according to the flesh if we want to have salvation from our sins and eternal life with God. And, we read that to believe in Jesus means death to sin and living to God and to his righteousness, and that we are either enslaved to sin, which leads to death, or we are enslaved to righteousness, which then leads to eternal life with God (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17). And, we read this in Romans 2:6-8:
“God ‘will repay each person according to what they have done.’ To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.” (cf. Gal. 6:7-8)
Thus, the authority over the mind of this cheap grace is not God. And, the foundation for this cheap grace is not the truth of God’s Word, but a lie. For, it leaves its adherents still bound in their sin while promising them heaven when they die. For, it requires no repentance, no submission to the Lordship of Christ, and no obedience to his commands as a matter of lifestyle and as a requirement for eternal life with God and forgiveness of sins.
And, Satan is the one behind this cheap grace gospel, for he is the one who wants to destroy Jesus Christ and his gospel and his messengers and he is the one who wants people to follow after him, instead. So he and his servants supplanted God’s true grace with this cheap grace so that its followers would remain loyal to Satan and to the flesh and so that they would not turn away from their sinful lifestyles to follow Jesus in obedience.
And, so he made the door into God’s eternal kingdom an open door that anyone can enter regardless of lifestyle or of what they really believe. For all anyone has to do is acknowledge Jesus Christ or accept his grace and they are told heaven is now guaranteed them and that it can’t be taken away. And, then if they start to feel guilty over their sinful lifestyles, he tells them to just claim who they are “in Christ,” even if they aren’t “in Christ,” but in order to console themselves in their sins thinking that God is ok with them.
But, the Bible predicted that this day would come, particularly in Revelation 13 and in Matthew 24 and in Jude and in other New Testament and Old Testament books that prophesied a great falling away from the truth and of people falling after the lies. So, what we are seeing take place in much of today’s church is a massive falling away from the truth to follow after Satan and his lies.
The Reason Jesus Died
But, Jesus didn’t die on that cross just to forgive us our sins and to promise us heaven when we die. He died that we might die with him to sin and that we might live to him and to his righteousness. And, he died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. And, he bought us back for God with his blood that we might now honor God with our lives – with our thinking, attitudes, speech and with our conduct, too.
This cheap grace gospel feels good to many people because it consoles them in their sin and it tells them that no matter how much or how often they sin against God that they still have heaven guaranteed them, so no worries. So, it is based on the flesh and off human emotions and feelings rather than off the truth of God’s Word. And, it appeals to human flesh and to the notion that if it feels good then it must be good. And, they turn God’s grace into some feel-good thing which makes us feel good about ourselves even if we are engrossed in sinful rebellion against God, and that is a huge LIE!
So, we need to base our Christian walks not off what feels good or even off what feels right, but we need to base our faith and our Christian walks off the truth of scripture read in context. For, if we do, we will see that God’s Word teaches that if we walk (in practice) according to our flesh, we are going to die in our sins no matter what we feel in our hearts, and no matter what we profess with our lips.
Thus, if we want the hope of salvation from sin and eternal life with God, we must walk (in practice) in accord (agreement) with the Spirit of God and God’s Word and not according to our flesh (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 2:6-8; Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 5:3-6).
So, don’t trust in what feels good. Trust in the Word of God and do what His Word teaches us that we must do to inherit eternal life with God – all of it!
Feelings / Greg X. Volz
If it feels good, they say it can’t be wrong
But love is more than a Kaliope song…
Feelings come and feelings go
But feelings are so deceiving
I place my faith in the word of the Lord
Nothing else is worth believing