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.”
The Diluted Gospel
When Jesus Christ died on that cross for our sins, it was so 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. And he redeemed us (bought us back for God) with his blood so we would now honor him with our lives (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Co 6:19-20).
But that has gotten all distorted, so that now what is being taught is that we can “believe” in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and we can have heaven guaranteed us as our eternal destiny, but that we can keep on in our sin, only now without guilt, and with no need for remorse.
This teaching has really been around a long time, it has just been more cloaked regarding what it is actually saying. But now they are just coming out and saying that we can be saved and keep on living in sin, and that repentance, obedience to God, and submission to Christ are not required.
If they do teach repentance or obedience, it is not as a requirement, but more as a recommendation. But since what they are being told is that their behaviors will not impact their eternal security, most appear to lack the desire to follow the Lord wholeheartedly in submission to his will for them.
So, the light (truth, righteousness, holiness) of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been turned off. They have turned off the power of the cross, and they have diluted it and made it into what it is not, and thus it has no power to deliver people from their slavery to sin so they can be slaves of God.
So, those who have done this, who have diluted the gospel and turned off the power of the cross of Christ to deliver people from their bondage to sin, have made the path of the Christian life a “slippery slope” filled with the filth and muck of this world, so that people are slipping and falling into sin.
So, the Lord is speaking to those who have done this, and he is telling them to turn the lights back on and to remove the diluted gospel message, and to teach the truth of the gospel of our salvation so that those who say they believe in Jesus Christ will not continue living in sin, but so they will now, in the power of God’s Spirit, walk in holiness and righteousness.
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.”
The Full Gospel
It is true that we should NOT have learned Christ in the way that most appear to be teaching Him today. We should NOT have learned that we can pray a prayer to receive Christ, and now our sins are forgiven, and now we are on our way to heaven, and that nothing can take that away from us no matter how we live our lives from that moment forward.
And we definitely should not have learned Christ in the way many are teaching Him when they claim that Jesus Christ requires no repentance or obedience or submission to him as Lord, and/or that if we do obey, surrender, and repent, that we are trying to earn our own salvation.
For, the truth which is in Christ Jesus says that we are to die with Christ to sin that we may live to Christ and to his righteousness. And genuine God-persuaded faith in Jesus Christ results in us being crucified with Christ in death to sin and us being resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom 6:1-23).
We are to put away those old lives of living for sin and for self, and we are to be renewed in our minds and hearts (born again) of the Spirit of God, and we are to now walk (in conduct, in practice) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God and NOT according to our sinful flesh (Rom 8:1-17).
Sin is no longer to be our Master. Jesus Christ is to be our only Lord (Master) of our lives. And now we are to live for him, to please him in all that we do and say. And we are now to walk in righteousness and holiness, and to keep on saying “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and “Yes!” to God and to what he desires for our lives (Titus 2:11-14; Lu 9:23-26).
This is not optional.
This is not a mere recommendation or suggestion, though. For, if we continue living in sin, making sin our practice (habit), and righteousness is not what we practice, we will not inherit eternal life with God no matter what prayer we prayed or confession we made (1 Jn 3:4-10).
For, if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in practice) in darkness (sin), we are liars who don’t live by the truth. And if we say that we know God/Christ, but we don’t do what he says, as a matter of practice, again we are liars who don’t live by the truth (1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6).
And if we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction, but if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. For we are all going to be judged of God by what we do, not by what we profess with our lips (Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10).
So, just know that if you buy into the cheap grace gospel which convinces you that how you live in this life will not impact your eternal security, and so you continue to make sin your practice, you will die in your sins. Heaven will not be your eternal destiny (Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10).
So, believe the truth and live the truth which teaches that we must die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness. Obey your Lord. Be doers of the Word and not hearers only. Turn away from living for sin and self and follow the Lord Jesus wherever he leads you from now on.
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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