Isaiah 1:4 ESV
“Ah, sinful nation,
a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the Lord,
they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
they are utterly estranged.”
A People laden with Iniquity
Israel (of God) today is not a physical nation, and physical Jerusalem is no longer the Holy City, for she is of Hagar, the slave woman, who is still in slavery to sin with her children. Israel (of God) today is the body of Christ, the church, comprised of all who have genuine faith in Jesus Christ.
[Rom. 9:6-8; Gal. 3:10, 16, 26-29; Gal. 4:22-31; Eph. 2:14-18; 1 Jn. 2:22]
The church (not a building, not a business, not a denomination) is a living organism. We are God’s building. We are living stones in that building, and Christ is our cornerstone. We have died with Christ to sin, we have been resurrected with Christ to new lives in him, and we should be living for him.
Many people call themselves Christians. Many people get together weekly with other people at or in something called “church.” But the majority of them are not genuinely believing in and following Jesus Christ, for the majority of them are still living in sin, at least here in America.
How do I know that? Listen to what they say. Listen to what they say about the gospel or if they ever even mention the gospel. Look at what they post on social media or on their blogs or on Christian discussion sites. Watch their church services and listen to their preachers. Very telling!
Pay attention to what authors they read or what preachers they follow or what songs they listen to, or what they talk about the most, or what movies they watch. Now, I am not saying that one can’t be genuinely saved and still watch movies, or that one must have reached full maturity to be saved.
But what I am saying is what the Scriptures say, and that is if we walk (in practice) in deliberate sin and if we are not walking in obedience to our Lord, that we don’t know God, we are not in fellowship with him, and we are liars if we say we know him and if we say that we are in fellowship with him.
Now, I am also not saying that a genuine believer in Jesus Christ will never sin or that he/she won’t fall back into sin for any specific period of time. For, the Scriptures do warn against this and they do indicate this is possible, and that is why we have so many instructions in how to avoid this.
But they do warn that if this is our present condition, and if we do not repent, and if we do not return to our Lord, but if we continue on a course of deliberate sinful addiction (practices) that it will end in death, not in life eternal with God. So, we need to take these biblical warnings to heart.
[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; 1 Co 6:9-10; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-31]
Isaiah 1:5-6 ESV
“Why will you still be struck down?
Why will you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint.
From the sole of the foot even to the head,
there is no soundness in it,
but bruises and sores
and raw wounds;
they are not pressed out or bound up
or softened with oil.”
Why Continue to Rebel?
Not everyone is presently suffering the consequences of their sins. The wicked often seem to be at ease while the righteous often seem to be suffering much at the hands of the wicked. But everyone will be judged by what they do some day, if not now (Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10).
But there are those who are suffering the consequences of their sins and their wrong choices. Some of that is physical suffering, and some is emotional suffering. And God is allowing it to get their attention, I believe, to draw them back to or to the Lord for the first time ever.
Some people are very stubborn, though. They are very hard-headed, and it takes a lot of suffering before they finally surrender. Some people hold on to their flesh and will not let go, no matter how much they suffer. And many of them stubbornly refuse to yield to God even to the death.
Many of them are addicted to sin, and so they habitually lie to cover up their sins, and they will refuse to tell the truth, even if it means them dying or losing everything they have. For sin can have a strong grip on people’s lives. And this is why so many people are flocking to the cheap grace gospel.
For the cheap grace gospel is telling them that they can “believe” in Jesus Christ and still continue living in their sin, only now without guilt and without remorse, and that heaven is guaranteed them as their eternal destiny.
The cheap grace gospel may be as simple as saying one can pray a prayer to receive Christ and then heaven is guaranteed them no matter how they live from that point forward, or it can be as some are teaching that belief in Jesus Christ does not require repentance, obedience or submission to Christ.
The latter are not just saying these things are not required, though, but they are outright saying it is wrong to repent of sins, to obey Christ, and to submit to Jesus as Lord of their lives. For, they call this works-based salvation. And they attack those who are teaching it.
Repent and Return
If this is where you are, living in deliberate rebellion against the Lord, against the instructions given us in the Scriptures, in deliberate sinful practices, fulfilling the sinful desires of your flesh, I pray you will take this seriously, and that you will turn from your sins to follow Jesus Christ with your lives.
For, God’s word will not return empty. He will do everything he said he would do. And he will judge us all by our works, by what we did with him and with his teachings and with his grace and his salvation and his gospel message, whether we obeyed him or we continued living in our sin.
In the Hour of Trial
Lyrics by James Montgomery (1771-1854)
Music by Spencer Lane (1843-1903)
In the hour of trial, Jesus, pray for me,
Lest by base denial, I depart from Thee;
When Thou seest me waver, with a look recall,
Nor for fear or favor suffer me to fall.
With its witching pleasures, would this vain world charm
Or its sordid treasures spread to work me harm,
Bring to my remembrance sad Gethsemane
Or, in darker semblance, cross-crowned Calvary.
If with sore affliction, Thou in love chastise,
Pour Thy benediction on the sacrifice.
Then upon Thine altar, freely offered up,
Though the flesh may falter, faith shall drink the cup.
When in dust and ashes, to the grave I sink,
While heaven’s glory flashes o’er the shelving brink,
On Thy truth relying, through that mortal strife,
Lord, receive me, dying, to eternal life.
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