Galatians 4:8-9 ESV
Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?
Before and After
Before we trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives we were all enslaved to sin. We were idolaters, liars, thieves, slanderers, gossipers, haters, immoral, impure, sensual, out-of-control, and godless. We did what we did by our sin natures. We lived for ourselves, and we were against God. And therefore we came up short of being approved by God (Rom 3:23).
But when we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we died with Christ to sin that we might live to Christ and to his righteousness. Our old self was crucified with Jesus that we might no longer live under the control of sin but now as slaves of righteousness. For Jesus died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15).
So, we are to no longer live the way that we did before we came to know Jesus Christ (God the Son) as our Lord and Savior. For he set us free from all of that so that we would now follow him with our lives, that we might follow in his footsteps, and that daily we might die with him to sin and to self and walk in obedience to him and his commands (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 8:1-17).
The Sad Reality
The sad reality of this is that many who have professed faith in Jesus Christ have gone back to those weak and miserable ways, or else they never left those ways to begin with, for their professions of faith in Jesus Christ were not genuine. So, they are living in idolatry and in sexual immorality, and they are liars and thieves and adulterers, and therefore they’re hypocrites.
Instead of running to God, they are running away from God. Instead of following him and his commands, they are ignoring and scorning his commands. Instead of owning up to their sins and repenting of them, they are hiding them in secret, and they are hoping to not get caught in their sins. And they are lying about who they are and what they are doing, hoping that no one will know what they are doing when no one else is looking.
Some of them are involved in extramarital affairs, either with people of the same sex or opposite sex, but who they are pining over, and who they are wishing they could be with instead of being with their spouses. They are obsessed with these other people, and they can’t get them out of their minds. They dream about them and about being with them continuously.
But since they are married, they feel like they are in prison and they can’t get out, and so they are torn between the ones they are in love (in lust) with and are pining over, and the ones with whom they are in the bonds of holy matrimony. And in some cases they are appealing to God for him to give them permission to forsake their spouses to join with their “soul mates.”
Therefore, they are on a “never-ending road to Calvary” because they refuse to die with Christ to sin and to live to him and to his righteousness. And so they are buying into the lie which tells them that they will always be addicted to sin and that they will always be trying to get out of that addiction. And so rather than face their pasts, they run from them, they hide from them, and they put on a disguise, and they fake freedom when they are not really free at all, for they are still living according to the flesh.
The Battle for Truth
So, there is a fierce battle here going on for truth and for righteousness which is against all these lies and deceptions which are trapping people in their sins. And those who are buying into the lies of Satan, and who are following after these false gospels, which leave them still in bondage to sin, are fiercely fighting against those who are proclaiming the truth and who are exposing the lies of the enemy.
For, those who are proclaiming the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ are teaching that we must be crucified with Christ in death to sin and that sin should no longer have mastery over our lives. Jesus died not just to forgive us our sins, but he died to deliver us from our slavery to sin so that we would now be enslaved to him and to his righteousness. And so we are to walk in that freedom in obedience to our Lord’s commands.
But many who are still trapped in sin, or who have left the truth of the gospel to return to living in addiction to sin, are strongly opposing those who are teaching the truth, and so they are attacking them verbally, falsely accusing them of things they did not do, accusing them of character traits which are not theirs, and/or of intentions which are not theirs. For every attack has as its goal to silence those who are telling the truth.
And there are casualties of this war. Marriages are being broken apart. Families are being destroyed. Many people are being led astray. Professing Christians are living no different from the world. Those who are following the Lord are now the hated, the despised, the abused, and the rejected, even by others who call themselves Christians but who are wanting to be able to continue living in their sins without someone telling them that they can’t.
And in some cases, those who love their sin will literally put to death anyone who stands in the way of them fulfilling the lusts of their flesh. And if they don’t murder them in the flesh, they will murder them in their hearts by all the false accusations and cutting remarks that they will throw at them in order to silence them so that they will stop speaking the truth and so that they will stop exposing the lies. They stomp on their hearts continually.
Addiction to sin is powerful! And people who are addicted to sin who don’t want to let go of their sin or who don’t want to own up to their sin will do all sorts of evil to others to protect their addictions and their lies so that their sins will not be exposed. They will not take personal responsibility for their actions but they will blame others for the things that they did.
But we who are called to teach the truth of the gospel, which involves exposing the lies and calling sin what it is, and which involves calling people to repentance and to obedient walks of faith in Jesus Christ, must continue. We must not let the enemy’s attacks against us discourage and dishearten us, but we must persevere, for our perseverance in getting out the truth and in exposing the lies is for the salvation of human lives.
So, we must be willing to die, if need be, in order to share the truth of the gospel which will save people’s souls from hell and which will give them new lives in Christ Jesus to be lived for his glory, and which give them a new hope of freedom from slavery to sin and the empowerment of God’s Spirit to walk in holiness and righteousness and in purity of devotion to Christ. For, you don’t have to remain an addict! Jesus died to set you free!
Footprints of Jesus
Lyrics by Mary B. Slade, pub. 1871
Music by Asa B. Everett
Sweetly, Lord, have we heard Thee calling,
Come, follow Me!
And we see where Thy footprints falling
Lead us to Thee.
Though they lead o’er the cold, dark mountains,
Seeking His sheep;
Or along by Siloam’s fountains,
Helping the weak.
If they lead through the temple holy,
Preaching the Word;
Or in homes of the poor and lowly,
Serving the Lord.
If Thy way and its sorrows bearing,
We go again,
Up the slope of the hillside, bearing
Our cross of pain.
Then, at last, when on high He sees us,
Our journey done,
We will rest where the steps of Jesus
End at His throne.
Footprints of Jesus,
That make the pathway glow;
We will follow the steps of Jesus
Where’er they go.
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