Ephesians 4:17-19 ESV
“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.”
When we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, it isn’t just so we can be forgiven of our sins and have the promise and hope of eternal life with God when we leave this earth. Then our hope is not for this life at all, but only for the life after this, but which can be a false hope, too.
I still remember, as a child, sitting on a hard bench in an open pavilion on a hot summer day at summer camp listening to the preacher preach the gospel and then to give the invitation to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. He called for people to go forward, but I remained in my seat.
And I didn’t remain in my seat because I was refusing the invitation, but because the Lord and I were having an intimate conversation about what I had just heard the preacher preach, and tears were streaming down my cheeks. I felt the weight of my sin, and I grieved over my sin.
I wanted the Lord to change me from the inside out. I wasn’t looking to be forgiven just so I could go to heaven one day. I wanted a changed life. I wanted hope and healing for my life while I was still living on the earth. I didn’t want the life I had before, but I wanted the new life he was offering.
And I didn’t want to just go through the motions of having a religion. I had seen too much of that hypocrisy with my dad and with others, and I wanted no part of that. I wanted a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ that altered how I lived my life, so that I now lived for God.
And that is how we are all to approach the gospel and the message of salvation from sin, for Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet 2:24).
For, Jesus Christ died on that cross to deliver us from our slavery to sin so that we could now live as slaves of God and of his righteousness (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Tit 2:11-14).
Ephesians 4:20-24 ESV
“But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Not everyone is being taught the truth of the gospel, though. Not everyone is being given the whole story (the whole counsel of God). Many are being taught a half-truth gospel. And a deliberate half-truth is a lie, not the truth. For many are being told only that Jesus died to forgive us our sins so that we escape punishment for our sin so we can go to heaven when we die.
Their gospel message is all about escaping hell and going to heaven when they die, but most of these messages willfully delete the fact that faith in Jesus Christ means we die with Christ to sin that we might live to Christ and to his righteousness, and that we are slaves of the one we obey (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; 1 Jn 1:5-9).
If we obey sin, it leads to death, but if we obey obedience, it leads to righteousness which then ends in eternal life with God. And if we walk (in conduct, in practice) in sin, we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God. But if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we will live. And if we are walking in obedience to our Lord’s commands, then we have eternal life with God (Rom 6:16-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 2:3-6).
For, you see, Jesus died on that cross to transform us and to conform us to his likeness. He died to change our hearts, not to put a Band-Aid over our sin wounds. He doesn’t dress our sin wounds as though they are not serious like many humans do who don’t want to change their sinful lifestyles.
So, if you are being told that you can just confess Jesus as Lord and believe God raised him from the dead and you will be saved, that is not the whole truth, and if not understood in its context, it can be and is being misinterpreted, leading to many false confessions of faith in Jesus Christ.
And if you are being told that if you just repeat some words after someone else in a prayer to “receive Christ,” or to join his family, and then after you repeat the words you are informed that you have now joined the family of God and heaven is now guaranteed you when you die, that is a lie.
Truth vs. The Lies
Now, I don’t know people’s hearts, so I can’t say that no one is ever saved that way, but that it is not what the Scriptures teach, and that many false confessions of faith in Jesus Christ have come from such experiences.
So, just know the truth that it is in Christ Jesus that faith in Jesus Christ means we put away from ourselves, by the Spirit, those old lives of living in sin and for self, and by the Spirit we are to be changed in heart and mind away from living in sin to now living for Christ and for his righteousness.
We are to die with Christ to sin so that we no longer live in sin (Rom 6:1-23). And then we are to walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh (Rom 8:1-17).
The ability to do any of this comes from God, but we must apply it to our lives via submission to him. We must yield control of our lives over to the Lord, and we must let him now have his way in our lives. We are to present ourselves to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, which is our acceptable worship of him (Rom 12:1-2).
But so many people are being led astray by messages which tell them that they don’t have to repent of their sins or obey the Lord but that they can still believe in Jesus and have eternal life with him. But that is a lie. It is not what the Scriptures teach.
Again, the Scriptures teach that if we make sin our practice, i.e., if we continue living in sin, that we do not have eternal life with God, but we will die in our sins. So, please take this to heart, and please pray for all those who are being captivated by the lies that their eyes will be opened.
[Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10]
Pray, Pray, Pray
An Original Work / September 6, 2012
Based off Various Scriptures
Pray that eyes may enlightened be,
So they may know Christ.
Pray that they may Him better know,
Strengthened by His pow’r.
Pray that they may grasp
How wide and long
And high and deep
Is Christ’s love.
Pray that they may be filled
To the fullness of God’s love.
Pray with thanksgiving.
Pray for an open door for me,
So I may share Christ.
Pray when the gospel is proclaimed –
Shared with clarity.
Pray words are given me so
I declare the gospel fearlessly.
I pray for you to be active
Sharing your faith, too.
We oft not know for what to pray,
So we ask for help.
The Spirit intercedes for us –
Words cannot express.
Just keep on praying for the saints
With all kinds of requests to God.
Pray they may have faith to
Please their God in ev’ry way.
Pray with joyfulness.