Romans 6:12-14 ESV
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”
Believers in Jesus Christ, we are NOT to continue living in sin. We are NOT to let sin have dominion (rule, control) over our lives. Not one of us should be addicted to sin. We are NOT to give in to the sinful passions of our flesh. We are NOT to obey the passions (desires) of our flesh, especially habitually.
God’s grace to us is NOT freedom to continue living in sin without guilt. His grace instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14).
Jesus died on that cross, not just to forgive us our sins, and not just to promise us heaven when we die. He died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15).
Jesus died for us on that cross to deliver us from our bondage to sin and to free us to walk in his righteousness in the power of God’s Spirit living within us. Our lives (minds, bodies, hearts) are to be his vessels of righteousness, not of unrighteousness (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24).
Romans 6:15-16 ESV
“What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”
The “church” at large in America is not just “the church.” Its gatherings and memberships are comprised of the government, wolves in sheep’s clothing, the ungodly, the unbelieving, the people of the world, the lecherous, the self-indulgent, the adulterous church, the obedient church, those who demand what they believe are their rights to live however they choose, and those who will coddle them in their sins, and who will refuse to confront them, or to call for repentance, out of fear of offending them.
The church in America, overall, is being modeled, not after Christ, and not after the Scriptures, but after business models for how to “grow” your “churches,” i.e. businesses called “church.” Thus, the model or the design for the American “church” of today is that of a playground or an amusement park, catering to the feelings of people and their fleshy passions (desires).
So, rather than confront people with their sin, they entertain them, and sometimes that entertainment includes what is fleshly, worldly, and even sensual. For, they might have women dressed sensually, swaying their hips, singing like bar singers in very sensual tones. Or they may show movie clips from movies which contain much sensuality, immorality, and even nudity.
Pastors will sometimes make jokes about the Bible which mock the Scriptures, or they will make lewd and inappropriate remarks which should not be something coming from the mouths of spiritual leaders. Many pastors have turned into clowns and actors to entertain the people and to keep them laughing and coming back for more of the same. This should not be.
They are living outside God’s design, will, and purpose for his church, and thus they have fallen into much immorality and wickedness. And the church, overall, is on a massive spiritual and moral decline. And, that is because they refuse to accept our Lord’s plan of redemption, and they have sought out their own cheapened version of his gospel of grace.
Sympathy vs Harshness
I am finding that there are those, of the legalistic churches, who pick out specific sins, while ignoring others, and they treat those sinners much like the Pharisees treated the woman caught in adultery. And, then the pendulum swings the other direction, and there are those who are so concerned about people’s feelings that they will never tell them the truth of the gospel but will dilute it to make sinners feel good about themselves.
Jesus didn’t swing either direction. He was direct, but he was loving, kind and compassionate, too. He spoke the truth in love, but he said it with grace, and he seasoned it with salt. We can be loving to people and still get the seriousness of the truth of the cross of Christ across to them. We can be compassionate but not coddle them in their sins.
So, we don’t have to compromise the truth of the gospel to spare people’s feelings or to show them sympathy. And, we don’t have to hit them over the head with a hammer to get the truth across, either.
But now there are times when that might be called for, and that is when people claim to be Christians, but they are living hypocritical lives and are leading others to sin, and when they are living in open rebellion against God and are refusing to repent by continuing to live in rebellion. For, they are hurting other people and are damaging lives, much like the Pharisees did.
But, the point of the gospel, and the point of our salvation from sin, is to deliver us from slavery to sin, and to empower us to live godly, holy, pure, and unadulterated Christian lives. And, part of that is also that we must love God, and we must love other people. And, love is neither overly and unnecessarily harsh, nor is it lenient and bending towards freedom to sin.
The reality here is that we are slaves of the one whom we obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness. So, if we walk according to the Spirit, we will live eternally with God. But if we walk according to the flesh, according to our own fleshly desires, we will die in our sins. We will NOT have eternal life with God. Truth! In love!!
Feelings / Greg X. Volz
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
If it feels good, they say it can’t be wrong
But love is more than a Kaliope song
How can I get back to where I belong?
Get off this Farris wheel; you’ve got to trust what is real.
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