Proverbs 14 (Select verses) ESV
8 The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way,
but the folly of fools is deceiving.
9 Fools mock at the guilt offering,
but the upright enjoy acceptance.
10 The heart knows its own bitterness,
and no stranger shares its joy.
11 The house of the wicked will be destroyed,
but the tent of the upright will flourish.
Why would a holy God, who loves us, his creation, send Jesus Christ to die a cruel death on a cross, if it only meant that we were now forgiven our sin so we could go to heaven one day? But, it meant we were still in slavery to sin with no hope of deliverance?
He wouldn’t! That would be cruel to Jesus, who is God, and it would be cruel to all who put their faith in Jesus Christ, too.
Yet many people today are teaching a gospel of salvation which delivers no one from slavery to sin, but which leaves them still bound in their sin believing there really is no way they can live godly and holy lives in moral purity. And, so they accept that they will always “struggle” with (meaning they will regularly give in to) their sinful addictions, and that their only consolation is that one day they will go to heaven where they will be free.
And so, in this sense, they are those who foolishly mock at the guilt offering. For, that offering for us was Jesus’ death on a cross for our sins so that we could be without guilt because, by God’s grace, we are now walking in purity, and in holiness, and in righteousness in the power of God’s Spirit now living within us. We don’t have to go around feeling guilty all the time now, or trying to find ways to ease that guilt by telling ourselves lies.
So, we need to be those who discern what is right and what is wrong. For, a lot of lies are being spread throughout the church that are leading people to believe that they can’t be delivered from their slavery to sin (or that they don’t have to live in freedom from sinful addiction), and then they call that “grace.” But God’s grace sets us free from sinful addiction, and it empowers us to walk in the holiness and righteousness of God. Amen! Praise Jesus!
12 There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.
14 The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways,
and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.
15 The simple believes everything,
but the prudent gives thought to his steps.
16 One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil,
but a fool is reckless and careless.
These are wise words here. And, we would all do well to listen to them and to take them to heart. For, many people are following a way that “seems” right to them, because it feels good, but it will lead to destruction. For, they are buying into a cheap grace gospel which tells them that they don’t have to change their wicked ways and yet God will still accept them and that they are guaranteed that he will receive them into his heaven no matter what.
But, one day we are all going to reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from that flesh we will reap destruction. But, if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 2:6-8).
If we walk (in practice) in darkness (in sin) according to the ways of our sinful flesh, but we claim we are in fellowship (in relationship) with God through faith in Jesus Christ, we are liars who don’t live by the truth. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we have eternal life with God (1 Jn. 1:5-9; Rom. 8:1-17; Rom. 6:1-23; Lu. 9:23-26; Gal. 5:16-21).
So, we can be wise and we can believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith which turns away from sin (away from evil) and which turns to God (to Jesus) to follow him in obedience to his ways of holiness and righteousness. Or, we can be foolish and keep on in our sinful ways, and instead of our lives ending in life everlasting with our Lord, they will end in death (damnation).
So, we can choose God’s way for us, which is life, or we can choose our own way, and we can go after the way that “seems” right to us in our own eyes, but it will end in death.
22 Do they not go astray who devise evil?
Those who devise good meet steadfast love and faithfulness.
25 A truthful witness saves lives,
but one who breathes out lies is deceitful.
27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
that one may turn away from the snares of death.
29 Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding,
but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
Faith in Jesus Christ is not some one-time experience which happens in our lives, then we are good to go no matter how we live our lives from that moment forward. For, genuine faith in Jesus is from God, it is gifted to us by God, and it is divinely persuaded to follow after the ways of God.
And, so it submits to God and it surrenders to his purposes. It dies with Christ to sin that we might live with Christ to his righteousness. But, this is not a one-time deal. This is a choice to have a change of lifestyle by God’s Spirit. It is like we were going left, then we turn 180 degrees, and now we are going right, in the opposite direction of where we were headed. And, this is what it means to repent (to have a change of mind).
Is adultery, hate, lust, stealing, cheating, abusing others and lying, etc. a good way to go? NO! So, why do we get this idea that God is somehow okay with us living in hate, adultery, deception, and the like now that we are “under grace”? That is not what scriptures teach, that grace somehow frees us from the guilt and punishment of our sin but that it gives permission for us to keep on in our sinful practices unhindered.
The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
that one may turn away from the snares of death.
Amen! Can I get an amen? Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, paid much too high a price for us to have our souls just stirred emotionally at times and yet never truly changed.
For, He shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God so that we would now be God’s possession, and so that we would now honor God with our lives; with our whole being. Jesus Christ died that cruel death on that cross so that you and I might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. And, he died that we would no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Co. 6:20; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Pet. 2:24).
He died to transform us, not just to forgive us. And, He died to give us NEW lives in him FREE from slavery to sin, not just to free us from punishment so that we could go on living in sin guilt free (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
Much Too High a Price
Phil McHugh and Greg Nelson
You paid much too high a price for me, Your tears, Your blood, the pain –
To have my soul just stirred at times yet never truly changed.
You deserve a fiery love that won’t ignore your sacrifice
Because You paid much too high a price.
Your grace inspires my heart to rise above the sin
And all the earthly vanity that seeks to draw me in.
I want to tell a jaded world of love that truly saved my life,
A love that paid so high a price…
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