Mark 9:42 NIV
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.”
Jesus was teaching on humility, servanthood, and on welcoming, in the name of Jesus, those who one might regard as less. So, the term “little ones” is not just speaking of children but of babes in Christ or of anyone regarded as insignificant, yet specifically of those believing in Jesus.
If anyone causes willful harm to, or causes one believing in Jesus to fall into a trap (a snare), so that the believer falls into sin or is harmed in some way, that person is going to face the wrath of God. This reminds me of this:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” Matt 23:13-15
What I see here is the cheap grace gospel. There are many people today who are teaching that you can believe in Jesus (once), have your sins forgiven, and have heaven assured you as your eternal destiny, but it doesn’t matter how you live your life once you “believe.”
Some people take it even further than that and they are teaching that we are not to repent of our sins, that we are not to obey the Lord, and that we are not to submit to Christ as Lord (boss) of our lives or do what he says because, they say, that is “works-based salvation” and it is wrong.
So, what they are essentially saying is that to love God, to obey him, to cease to live in sin, and to give the Lord the honor and respect due him is wrong, and that what is right is for us to claim Jesus does it all for us so we can continue living in our sin, dishonoring God, and disobeying Him.
So, they are causing many of those who might believe in Jesus to stumble because they are setting a trap for them to fall into, which is the cheap grace gospel, which many are falling for. Or they find convincing ways to tell them that their sin is okay by calling it something other than what it is.
For example, as long as you put the term “struggling” in front of your sinful addiction it makes it acceptable, no matter how many years you continue to “struggle,” which usually means to habitually give in to that sin. They call themselves “recovering” addicts, so that also makes it acceptable, even though they are still addicted to sin.
Now, I fully realize that we don’t become perfect overnight and that our salvation (our sanctification) is a process. But that is never to be used as an excuse for continued habitual and deliberate and often premeditated sinning against God and against other humans.
For, the Scriptures could not be more clear. If we live in sin, and we make sin our practice, our habit, and we walk (in conduct) according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit, we will die in our sins. We will not have eternal life with God no matter what the cheap grace teachers say.
[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; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10]
Mark 9:43-48 NIV
“If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where
“‘the worms that eat them do not die,
and the fire is not quenched.’”
Now, I know this seems a bit extreme, but the principle here is this. If there are things in our lives, which may include some people, which are leading us into sin, we need to cut them out of our lives. We need to get rid of those evil influences in our lives which are leading us down a path of sin.
Now, we have a responsibility before God to resist the devil, to flee temptation, to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. So, this is not saying that we need to just run away from anything and everyone whenever we are tempted.
But if the people we are hanging out with are trying to lead us into sin, those are not the people we need to be making our best friends. I am not saying to totally cut them out of your lives, for you may still have a testimony with them, but that you need to limit your exposure to those who are pushing you into sin. So, sometimes you need to say “No!” to people, too.
Nonetheless, if your church pastor is teaching the cheap grace gospel and is trying to convince you that your sin no longer matters to God or that your sin (habitual) will not matter to your eternity, then I would recommend you find another fellowship of believers where the true gospel is being taught.
Don’t let other humans decide for you what is right and what is wrong. Study the Scriptures in context. Learn what they teach. Then obey the word of the Lord and not people if people are leading you away from the truth and into sin.
Also, stay away from TV shows, movies, music, video games, social media, and/or the news media, etc. where you are being influenced or encouraged to sin against God. You have probably heard the saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” If we take garbage into our minds, it will come out in our attitudes, thinking and behaviors.
If we do not take sin seriously, and if we play with fire, figuratively speaking, we are bound to get burned. For, again, if we walk in sin, if sin is what we practice, it doesn’t matter what we profess, we will die in our sins. We will not have eternal life with God, but we will face the wrath of God.
For, Jesus died on that cross that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. He bought us back for God with his blood shed on that cross that we might now honor God with our lives.
When we believe on Jesus with God-persuaded faith, we die with Christ to sin and we are raised with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. We were once enslaved to sin, but Jesus delivered us from our bondage to sin so that we would now become slaves of his righteousness.
[1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15, 21; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Tit 2:11-14; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 10:27; 1 Jn 2:3-6]
Thank You, Lord
An Original Work / May 19, 2011
Thank You, Lord, for saving me;
From my sins set free.
Crucified and risen Lord,
They hung on a tree.
They thought they had finished You.
You came back to life;
Triumphed over hell and sin;
You gave eternal life.
Thank You, Lord, for victory
Over all my sin,
So that I might live with You;
You cleansed me within;
Filled me with your love and pow’r;
Give me strength each day,
So that I might live for You,
To love You and obey.
Thank You, Lord, for your return.
Soon You will arrive
To receive Your bride to You;
Meet You in the sky.
You’ll wipe away all our tears;
Free us from our fears;
Crown our heads in victory.
We’ll praise You with our cheers!