No Longer Walk That 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.”
We live in a day and time in America where such teachings as this are being largely ignored. Many men (and some women) are teaching a half-truth (lie) gospel, instead, in order to appease the sinful flesh of human beings. For they are teaching a belief in Jesus Christ which denies him as Lord, and which refuses to forsake one’s sins to follow Jesus in obedience.
Therefore, they are not teaching that we must no longer walk as the ungodly do and that we must not give ourselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. Some of them are even rebuking such teaching by calling it “works-based salvation” and they are encouraging their adherents to reject any teaching that says we must obey Jesus and forsake our sins.
Others are not so blatant, but they are more subtle, but the result is still the same, which is a large number of people professing faith in Jesus Christ who are convinced that they are going to heaven when they die but who are continuing to live in deliberate and habitual sin against God, for they are convinced all their sins are forgiven so their sin no longer matters to God.
Now there are some people who will espouse the true gospel at times, and then at other times they will proclaim the cheap grace gospel when it suits their purposes. They are those who, like the Pharisees, put on a show of righteousness on the outside while they hide all their sins inside. So, they will try to find ways around their sins to excuse them away.
But since they refuse to obey the truth, they don’t insist on obedience to God to any of their adherents. So, their “converts” become twice as much sons (or daughters) of hell as they are, for they have not humbled themselves before God in surrender of their lives to Jesus Christ in true repentance and in obedience to our Lord and to his commands (New Covenant).
And the way in which they are able to lead so many people astray is that they distort the truth. They twist it, and they misquote Scriptures out of their context to make them say what they don’t say if quoted in context. On a surface read or listen, what they say may sound biblical, but on a closer examination it becomes apparent that what they are teaching is a lie, or what they are teaching in no way resembles God’s true message of grace.
So, this is a very strong encouragement which also serves as a warning to not walk (conduct our lives) as the ungodly do in living in sin, in making sin our practice, for if we do, we will be alienated from the life of God. For, those who walk (in practice) in sin, according to the flesh, will die in their sins. They will not inherit eternal life with God.
And if you keep repeating the same exact sins over and over again, deliberately, habitually, cyclically, and premeditatedly, in direct defiance and disobedience to God, knowing that is what you are doing, then according to Scripture you do not know God, you do not love God, and he does not know you, and one day, unless you truly repent, you are going to hear God say, “Depart from me you worker of iniquity! I never knew you!”
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 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; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23]
The Truth in Jesus 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.”
If you were taught the truth that is in Christ Jesus, which not many are being taught these days, especially in America where I live, you would have learned that genuine faith in Jesus Christ results in dying with Christ to sin and living to Christ and to his righteousness. You would have learned that Jesus died on that cross that you might no longer live for self but for Him.
You would have learned that you can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws you to Christ, and that faith comes from God, and that Jesus is the founder and perfecter of our faith, and that our faith is a gift from God and is not from ourselves. And you might have learned that faith means “divine persuasion” as to God’s will for our lives.
So, perhaps you would have understood that faith which comes from God is going to align itself with God’s will and purpose for your life. And you should have been taught that God’s will for us is that we forsake our lifestyles of sin to follow him in obedience to his ways and to his truth. Jesus taught this when he said if we are to come after him that we must deny self and take up our cross daily and follow him (Lu 9:23-26).
Jesus and his apostles did not teach the modernized version of the gospel that is largely being taught today. They taught death to sin and living to righteousness and walks of obedience to our Lord and to his commands as required aspects of genuine faith and for salvation from sin and for eternal life with God.
And they taught that if we continue making sin our practice that we are going to die in our sins because we refused to die with Christ to our sins. For, God always taught faith as obedience and disobedience as unbelief, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament (See Hebrews 3).
So, if you have not yet done so, by faith in Jesus Christ put off your old self which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires. Don’t continue living in sin, making excuses for why you are still living under the control of sin and for why you are not walking in holiness and in righteousness. But in the power of God, walk in freedom from bondage to sin and now walk according to the Spirit, by the Spirit.
And don’t be a Pharisee. Don’t make a show of righteousness on the outside while you sin in secret when you think no one else can see. God sees. And he does care. And his word is truth, and he will do what he said he would do if you continue to make sin your practice. So don’t play games with God.
An Original Work / May 31, 2012
Based off Matthew 23
Woe to you, teachers of the law;
Hypocrites, you keep men from God.
You refuse to obey the truth,
Nor will you permit others to.
You travel o’er land and sea
To win a single convert to you.
When he becomes one
You make him twice as much
A “son of hell” as you are.
Woe to you, blind guides of mankind.
You distort the words of your God.
By your practices you declare
Your oaths mean nothing, though you swear.
You give a tenth of your spices,
But you neglect justice, mercy.
When you focus your
Time and talents on
What is external, you miss out.
Woe to you, who appear so clean,
When inside you are crass and mean.
You work hard to look so upright,
While you hide all your sins inside.
You deceive yourselves when you think
You would not have done what others
Did to God’s messengers
And prophets of old,
For you will do much the same.
You’re to blame.