No Longer Walk this Way
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.”
Have you ever noticed that this is a running theme throughout the Scriptures, including in the New Testament? God’s purpose for us, and his purpose in sending Jesus Christ to die for us on that cross, is that we might no longer live in sin but that we would now live for the Lord and for his righteousness. He died to transform us, not just to forgive us our sins.
So, how is it that so many people today professing faith in Jesus Christ are totally missing this? It has to be that either they are not reading the Scriptures for themselves, but that they are relying on others to tell them what the Bible teaches, or else they are willfully ignoring the Scriptures that teach that they must forsake their sins and follow Jesus in obedience.
For, I hear so many professing Christians claim that Jesus forgave them their sins and so their sins no longer matter to God. They will even say that God can no longer see when they sin, but that all he sees when he looks at them is Jesus, and that he delights in them, even when they are steeped in deliberate and habitual immorality, lying, and abusing others.
They have this false idea, which is what they are being taught, that belief in Jesus is a one-time thing in their lives whereby they prayed a prayer, or they accepted God’s forgiveness for their sins, or they accepted his grace and his love for them, and so they believe that heaven is guaranteed them when they die no matter how they live from this moment forward.
These lies, which are coming from a false half-truth gospel, are permeating the church of today, at least here in America, and they are leading many people astray. They are promising them heaven when they die even though they are leaving them still bound in their sins, because they are not teaching that they must die to sin and live to righteousness.
But all throughout the Scriptures we are taught that we must no longer walk in sin if we are going to be in relationship with Almighty God. God is not pleased with us if we are living in immorality and impurity. For Jesus died to change our hearts, not so we could continue to have hardened hearts towards his commands. If we love Jesus, our desire will be to obey him.
The Way You Learned Christ
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.”
Many are learning Christ in the wrong way. They are being taught only that Jesus died to forgive them their sins and to free them from the punishment of sin, and that he guarantees them life eternal with God, regardless of how they live their lives from that moment forward. And so they have this false notion that they can continue in sin without punishment.
But that is not how they should have learned Christ. For the truth in Jesus paints a different picture for us. The truth in Christ Jesus is that Jesus died for us on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and that he died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us.
Jesus died to change us, not just to forgive us our sins. By God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, we put off our old self which belongs to our former way of life. And “former” means just what it says. How we used to live, living for sin and self, is no longer how we are to live. But now we are to live for our Lord to please him in all that we do and say.
For, our former way of life was corrupt through deceitful desires. This should no longer describe how we live in the present. We should no longer be lying, cheating, stealing, committing adultery, abusing others, taking advantage of others, gossiping, slandering, and hating, etc. Now we are to be walking in holiness, righteousness, and purity of devotion to our Lord.
Are we, as followers of Jesus, all perfect? No. But lack of perfection is never to be used as an excuse for continued, deliberate, habitual, and premeditated sin against our Lord and against other humans, especially not against those we are supposed to be loving and caring for and nurturing in the Lord and in his holiness and righteousness.
For, Jesus Christ gave his life up for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so that we would now be God’s possession, and so he would be our Lord (owner-master) and so that we would honor and glorify the Lord by our lives, with our bodies, and by the things that we do and say.
Jesus died on that cross to deliver us from our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin so that we would now be slaves to God and to his righteousness, not so that we can continue living in sin guilt free. So, please believe this, for the Scriptures teach that if you continue to make sin your practice, you will not inherit eternal life with God, but you will die in your sins.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
Near the Cross
Hymn lyrics by Fanny J. Crosby, 1869
Music by William H. Doane, 1869
Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.
Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
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