Galatians 4:8-11 NIV
“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.”
You Didn’t Know God
When we did not know God, we were slaves to the passions of the flesh. And we worshipped the gods of this world – money, fame, possessions, prestige, entertainment, popularity, beauty, con artists, money changers, liars, deceivers, actors, and/or politicians, etc.
But if we know God via God persuaded faith in Jesus Christ, then we are no longer to be enslaved to the passions of the flesh or to the gods (idols) of this sinful world. For, Jesus set us free from our slavery to sin. And he gave us new lives in Christ Jesus to be lived now for his glory and praise.
Yet so many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ, at least here in America, are living as though they have not been delivered from their slavery to sin, or as though they have not been set free from their slavery to the gods of this world. For they still worship the same things, and they still make sin their way of life, their habit, their practice.
They are still men followers, looking to men (and women) for their salvation and as their hope for what ails this world of ours. They raise them up above God or on an equal plane with God. They believe everything that these men (or women) tell them and they place their undying trust in them unequivocally.
Now, it is possible that those with genuine faith in Jesus Christ can, at some point, return to the ways of their sinful flesh and to the gods of this world. Scripture makes that clear. But it is also true that many who profess faith in Jesus Christ never did believe in him and therefore they never were delivered from their slavery to sin and from the idols of this world.
If either remains the way they are and they don’t turn to or return to the Lord, making him truly owner-master of their lives, walking in obedience to his commands, and daily dying with Christ to sin, the end is the same for either the one who fell away or the one who never had genuine faith.
For, the Scriptures are clear that we are all going to reap what we sow in this life. We are all going to be judged by our works (deeds). If we sow to the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. But if we sow to the Spirit, we will reap eternal life. And if we walk according to the flesh, it ends in death, but if we walk according to the Spirit, it ends in eternal life.
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10; 1 Co 6:9-10]
So, Why Go Back?
So, why do people, after they have believed in Jesus, and they have been regenerated of the Spirit of God, and they have walked in victory over sin and the flesh, and in obedience to their Lord, go back to the way they were before they ever believed in Jesus?
I am certain there are many reasons. Some of these reasons are explained to us in the Parable of the Sower. Some people’s faith is very shallow, and as long as life is going well, their faith holds, but once persecution or the trials of this world hit, then they bail, i.e., they “jump ship.”
Others get entangled all over again by the cares of this world which choke out their faith so that they become fruitless, which God says then results in them being cast off and thrown into the fire (John 15).
Others never had genuine faith to begin with because their faith was based on a lie and not on the truth, so they easily return back to the way they were before because they never truly ever left the way they were before. They never repented of their sin so they were never reborn of the Spirit of God and so they never walked in obedience to the Lord, either.
And “going back” can mean going back to living in sin and/or it can mean going back to the worship of man-made idols such as entertainment, fame, fortune, and the worship of humans as their saviors. Or it can mean going back to living by man-made rules and human traditions which they think add something to their faith, but which do not.
And the concern here is that, if after hearing and/or believing the truth we return to the way we were before, and we remain there, that heaven will not be our eternal destiny, but hell will be, and so those who invested their lives in our walks of faith may fear that they have wasted their efforts.
For, again, we are all going to reap what we sow in this life. And we are slaves of the one we obey. So, if we obey the flesh and sin and we don’t walk in obedience and in submission to our Lord, then our lives will end in eternal death not eternal life. And we all need to take this seriously.
So, if this is where you are, still living in sin, still living to the pleasures of this world, still following after the idols of this world, and not walking in obedience to the Lord in humble submission to him as Lord of your life, then I pray you will repent of your sins today and turn to the Lord, die with him to sin, and now live to him and to his righteousness in his power.
Broken and Contrite
An Original Work / May 13, 2012
I come before You, Lord, my Savior,
With humble heart and crushed in spirit.
I bow before You, I implore You,
Heal my broken heart, I pray.
Love You, Jesus, Lord, my master,
You are the King of my heart.
Lord, purify my heart within me;
Sanctify me, whole within.
Oh, Lord, I long to obey fully
The words You’ve spoken through Your Spirit.
I pray You give me grace and mercy,
Strength and wisdom to obey.
Father God, my heart’s desire,
Won’t You set my heart on fire?
Lord, cleanse my heart of all that hinders
My walk with You, now I pray.
Oh, Jesus, Savior, full of mercy,
My heart cries out for understanding.
I want to follow You in all ways,
Never straying from Your truth.
Holy Spirit, come in power,
Fill me with Your love today.
Lord, mold and make me;
Your hands formed me;
Live Your life through me, I pray.