Hebrews 10:26-31 NIV
“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
The Big Lie
Many people today approach “faith” in Jesus Christ, their relationship with him, and their salvation from sin much like the lyrics to this song, “I Have Nothing,” sung by Whitney Houston:
“Share my life, take me for what I am
‘Cause I’ll never change all my colors for you
Take my love, I’ll never ask for too much
Just all that you are and everything that you do”
They will let Jesus “share” their lives with them, but he is supposed to take them for who they are. For they have no intention of changing who they are to conform to his will and purposes for their lives. They don’t intend to change their personalities, their characters, their mannerisms, and their behaviors. But they expect God to give to them all that He is and everything that He does. He is to do it all, and they are to give nothing in return.
Does that sound like a love relationship to you? Especially on the basis of how our relationship with Jesus Christ is described in Scripture as that of a husband and a wife, with Jesus as the husband, and with us who believe in him as his bride. NO! It doesn’t! But that is exactly the modern approach to faith in Jesus Christ and to salvation from sin. Jesus is to forgive them of their sin and to promise them heaven, but they won’t give him their all.
The lyrics continue with such phrases as this: “I don’t wanna have to go where you don’t follow,” “Stay in my arms if you dare,” and “Don’t walk away from me. I have nothing if I don’t have you.” The “love” being declared is absolutely self-centered. It is all about the person and what she wants out of the relationship, but it has nothing to do with what the other person wants out of the relationship. He is to follow her, not the other way around.
And this is the “gospel” message that is largely being taught, spread, and widely accepted in today’s church, at least here in America. It is all about what Jesus can do for us, but we don’t have to do anything in return, for he does it all for us. They are teaching that if we “do” anything in love response to the Lord Jesus for all that he has done for us that we are trying to earn our own salvation and so they call that “works-based salvation.”
For, they teach against works, but not just fleshly works, but even against repentance, obedience, and submission to our Lord, and against the works God prepared in advance that we should walk in them. And so many people are accepting this different gospel and another Jesus other than the one of Scriptures because they don’t have to change. They can remain in their sin, be forgiven their sin, and still go to heaven when they die, so they think.
But can you imagine with me a minute a wedding in which the bride quotes the first four lines to this song, “I Have Nothing,” as her marital vows to her husband? She lets him know she has no intention of altering her lifestyle whatsoever so he is to take her as she is and he is to share her life with her. But she expects him to give it all to her. And he is to follow her where she goes. And whatever he does, he must not ever walk away from her. Wow!
Seems ridiculous? Well, this is exactly the “marriage vows” many people are making to Jesus Christ. This is the level of commitment they are willing to give to him as their “husband.” For, they are accepting the lie being taught by those who make it their practice to deceive, to trick, to con, and to fool people. And that lie says they can be forgiven their sins and have heaven secured them, but that they don’t have to change how they live.
The Only Truth
But this kind of thinking and behaving is an insult to the spirit of grace. Why? Because Jesus Christ shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so that we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us, and so we would honor him with our bodies. And he died on that cross not just to forgive our sins but so we would die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness.
As well, God’s grace to us trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. The truth in Jesus we should have been taught is that we are to put off our old self, which is being corrupted by it deceitful desires, we are to be made new in the attitude of our minds, and we are to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
And faith in Jesus Christ, which comes from God, persuades us as to God’s holiness and righteousness and of our need to forsake our sins and to follow Jesus in obedience. Even Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self and take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of sin we will lose them for eternity. We will not inherit eternal life with God.
For, if we deliberately keep on sinning (habitually, addictively) after we have received the knowledge of the truth (the gospel message), what awaits us is not forgiveness of our sins and eternal life with God, but what awaits us is a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire which will consume the enemies of God. For, we are his enemies if we refuse to do what he says and if we choose to go our own way, instead.
So, we need to take this seriously. Not many people do, though. For they are holding on to the lies and they are rejecting the truth, so they don’t believe God will really judge them. But we are all going to stand before God one day, and he is going to judge us according to our works. And if we sowed to please the flesh, we will reap destruction. But if we sowed to please the Spirit, then we will reap eternal life.
[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 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-10; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Matt 5:13-16]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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