No Longer Following the Course of this World

Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

What is “the course of this world” today? It is the way of sin, most certainly, but it is also the way of the self-indulgent, the foolish, the selfish, the unwise, the irresponsible, the thoughtless, and the reckless. They are the sons (offspring) of disobedience. They are those who live in the passions of their flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, who are by nature children of wrath, like the rest of humankind.

It is also the way of the devil, Satan, the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. It is not the way of God. It is not the way of salvation from sin, but many who are professing faith in Jesus Christ are on this path to destruction for they are still following after the ways of the devil, and the path of sin, and the ways of self-indulgence and self-gratification, living in the passions of their flesh.

So, why are they doing this? Well, because they are not genuinely saved, for they never died with Christ to sin so they were never raised with him (born again) to walk in newness of life in him. Or, after they had been Christians a while, the things of this world got a hold of them again and so they reverted back to living in sin and to not walking by faith. So, they stepped outside our Lord’s protective care and they returned to their vomit.

Now, as followers of Jesus Christ, this is not what should describe our lives. This should be how we ONCE (in the past) walked (in conduct, in practice), not how we are living presently. Yet, sadly, this is exactly how many professers of faith in Jesus Christ are living because they are being taught that God is okay with them living like that now that they are “saved.” For they are teaching salvation as a one-time decision guaranteeing them heaven when they die, regardless of how they live on this earth.

So, this is the course that many pastors and Bible teachers and elders within the gatherings of the church are following, too, for they are following after business marketing schemes and books written by men (not under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit), many of whom are teaching what is false and who are teaching Scriptures out of context and are twisting them to say what they want them to say to appease the flesh of humans.

Although they are the ones who should be upholding and instructing us in the commands of God (New Covenant), they are following the course of this world and Satan who is now at work in the sons of disobedience. For they are following and teaching an altered gospel message which makes no requirements at all for repentance, obedience, sanctification, and submission to Christ as Lord (Owner-Master) of their lives.

Many of them are those who have crept in unnoticed into the gatherings of the church, who are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (Jude 1:4). And this is exactly what is taking place in the church at large in America, and it is moving ahead with speed, and the vast majority of those calling themselves Christians today appear to have bought into this perversion of grace.

For it began with teaching our salvation as a one-time decision we make in our lives to believe (undefined) in Jesus which guarantees us full forgiveness of all sins (past, present, and future) and heaven as our eternal destiny. Holiness may or may not have been taught to some, but what was/is taught was/is that our salvation can never be taken away from us no matter how we live, no matter how much we sin.

And so people came to believe that they were now saved unto eternity with God because of that one-time decision they made to believe in Jesus and that if they did sin that their sins would no longer count against them, and that is half true. We don’t lose our salvation every time we sin. But we can’t walk in sin, in conduct, in practice from here to eternity and have eternal life with God. The Scriptures say “No!” to that type of thinking.

Ephesians 2:4-7 ESV

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Okay, so now we know that God’s grace is not free license to continue in deliberate and habitual sin. It is not a license for sensuality. It does not give us carte blanche to continue living the way we were before. Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died to free us from our slavery to sin so that sin would no longer have dominion over our lives and so that we might now become slaves of God and of his righteousness.

Also, our salvation from sin is not a one-time experience in our lives which guarantees us heaven when we die regardless of how we live our lives on this earth. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns to take his bride to be with him forever, provided that we continue in him in faithful obedience and we do not continue living in sin and that this is how we live to the very end.

And that is why we have so many Scriptures that teach us that if we walk in sin, and if righteousness and obedience to God are not what we practice, and if we do not love our fellow humans that we will not inherit eternal life with God. For our salvation from sin is contingent on our walks of faith and obedience to our Lord and on us persevering in such faith until the end. For we are saved by grace THROUGH FAITH, which comes from God.

But even though our faith comes from God, it is something we must walk in, according to the Scriptures, and it involves action and obedience, like in the faith chapter of the Bible, Hebrews 11, where we read that by faith they did such and such or by faith they obeyed and so they received the promise. For all God’s promises have stipulations (conditions) which we must meet if we are to receive those promises.

For this is what it means to be made alive together with Christ. We are now alive to God and to his righteousness and we are no longer enslaved to sin. And when we are raised up with him and seated with him in the heavenly places, we are raised to walk (in conduct, in practice) in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. No longer should sin have mastery over our lives, for Jesus Christ set us free!

[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 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 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; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

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