The Scriptures Teach
The Scriptures are filled with instructions and warnings which are for our good, to keep us from setting our hearts on evil like the Israelites of old did, and to keep us from falling into the devil’s trap, and into sin. They teach us that we must, as followers of Jesus, die daily to sin and to self, and that we must follow Jesus in obedience to his ways and to his commands.
The Scriptures also teach us that we must test everything against the word of God and in prayer, and that we are to test preachers and teachers of the word to make certain that what they are teaching is truth, and not lies. And this would include testing memes or tweets or status updates on social media and posts on Christian discussion sites and in the blogging world.
For, many people are teaching a gospel of Jesus Christ which is not the true gospel, but which is a gospel which tickles itching ears. It is a gospel of human origin which is agreeable to human flesh, which is easy on the ears, and which is sweet sounding. For, it does not put sin to death, but it appeases it, and it even gives permission to keep on living in sin.
People are buying into this cheap grace gospel by the droves because it doesn’t demand that they change how they are living. And it makes no demands for repentance and for obedience to the Lord. And they aren’t testing it against the word of God and in prayer because they like how it sounds and because it doesn’t make them feel uncomfortable or judged.
Yet, the Lord Jesus is sending out messengers into his harvest field with the truth of the gospel which does not tickle itching ears, and which does not give out feel-good messages. But the masses are rejecting the truth in favor of the lies because the truth demands change. The truth demands death to sin and living to God and to his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23; Lu 9:23-26).
And since many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ are preferring the cheap grace gospel message to the true gospel which teaches repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as Lord, the vast majority of the church, at least here in America, is living in sinful rebellion against the Lord, and they are following other humans and the flesh instead of following God.
As a direct result of this, the church (at large) has bought into the ways of the world, and they have joined forces with the world, and now their sins against God are piled high to heaven (Rev 18) because they refused to listen to the truth, but they adopted the lie, instead. And now judgment is near, just as God promised, and they are running out of time.
A Psalm of Repentance
Psalms 51:1-12 ESV
“Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
“For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
The Joy of Our Salvation
After King David had sinned against God by committing adultery, and then murder, in order to cover up his sin, and after he was confronted with his sin by God’s servant Nathan, David repented of his sin against God. But he was still going to have to suffer natural consequences of his sin against God, because he ignored God’s commands and he did what he knew was evil.
So, if you are engaged in sinful rebellion against the Lord presently because you are not testing the spirits to see if they are of God, and because you have been rejecting the true gospel of our salvation in favor of a gospel which doesn’t convict you of your sin, then the encouragement here is to own up to your sins and to turn away from them, and to obey Jesus.
For, Jesus Christ died on that cross, not just to forgive you of your sins so that you can escape hell and go to heaven when you die, but so you would die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. For, Jesus died on that cross to free us from our slavery to sin so we would now become slaves of God and of his righteousness, in the power of God’s Spirit.
The object of Jesus’ death on that cross for our sins wasn’t just to free us from the punishment of sin, but it was to free us from our slavery to sin, and to create within us clean hearts willing to obey him and to do what he says. He put our sins to death with him so that we would no longer be under the control of sin, but so we would now be under the control of righteousness.
For, the joy of our salvation is that we are no longer under the control of sin, living in addiction to sin, but we are now walking according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, in the power of God. By the Spirit we are able to daily put to death the deeds of the flesh and to walk in holiness and righteousness, living lives pleasing unto God. That is freedom!
So, don’t delay in coming to grips with your sinful practices and in truly repenting of your sins, turning away from them, and turning to God to follow him in his ways and in his truth. For, time is not forever. We are near the end of time, and even if we weren’t, none of us knows when we will breathe our last breath, or if we will even have another opportunity to repent of our sins.
So, just know what the Scriptures teach, for they do not teach that you are going to heaven when you die on a mere profession of faith in Jesus Christ. They teach that if you continue living in deliberate sin, in practice, that you will die in your sins, no matter what you professed with your lips or thought you believed in your heart, because you refused to die to your sins.
They teach that all of us are going to stand before God and we will have to give an account for our deeds. We will be judged by our works. And if we sowed to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. But if we sowed to please the Spirit, then from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. And if we obey sin, it ends in death. But if we obey obedience, it ends in 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; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]
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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