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?”
The Gospel Message
When we believe in Jesus Christ with genuine God-given faith, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self is crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we will no longer be enslaved to sin but to God and to his righteousness (Romans 6:1-23; Ephesians 4:17-24).
Nonetheless that is not what is mostly being taught today. What is mostly being taught today is that Jesus died on that cross to put our sin to death with him so that by faith in him we are now forgiven our sins and now we can escape hell and have heaven guaranteed us when we die. Now that is half true but it is half a lie, so that makes it a lie, especially since they add to it that no works are required – no death to sin and no obedience to God.
So, is it true that Jesus died to put our sin to death with him? Yes! Is it true that he did this so that we can be forgiven of our sins and so that we will escape eternal punishment in hell and so that we will have the hope of heaven when we die? Yes! But if that is where we leave it, and if we then leave people with the impression that faith in Jesus is all about just escaping hell and going to heaven when they die, then we have sold the gospel short.
And not only have we sold the gospel short but we have deceived our listeners into believing that they can “believe” (not biblically defined) in Jesus, be forgiven their sins, and now be guaranteed heaven when they die regardless of how they live between the time they “believe” and when they die. And that lie is sending many people straight to hell on the false promise of forgiveness of sins and of eternal life with God.
So, what is the truth? The truth is that Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who died and who was raised from the dead, on our behalf. And he shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so that we will now honor God with our bodies (1 Peter 2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:15; 1 Corinthians 19-20).
And Jesus taught that if anyone would come after him that he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our lives of living in sin and for self, we will lose them for eternity. But if for the sake of Jesus we do die with him to sin that we might live to him and to his righteousness, then we have eternal life in him (see Luke 9:23-26; cf. 1 John 1:5-9; 1 John 2:3-6; 1 John 3:4-10).
He also taught that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven. For one day we are all going to stand before God and we will be judged by our works. And on that day many will say to Jesus, “Lord, Lord,” and they will list for him all the things they believe they did for him in his name, but he will declare to them, “I never knew you. Depart from me you workers of lawlessness” (see Matthew 7:21-23).
[See also: Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
How Can We?
In context, this passage of Scripture is addressing the issue of the Jews who had believed in Jesus now turning back to following some of the Old Covenant ceremonial, purification, and liturgical laws and customs, in particular circumcision, but also the observing of special days, months, seasons and years, etc. They evidently were believing that these things must accompany their faith in order for them to be saved from their sins.
But the Scriptures also address the topic of people who have professed faith in Jesus Christ either continuing in deliberate and habitual sin or returning to the sins from which they had been delivered, and that is what we are addressing here. Remember Romans 6 where it begins, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” Exactly! How can we?
The problem primarily arises because so many people are not teaching the truth of the gospel but a false gospel of men which does not put sin to death in the life of the sinner, and which requires no walks of obedience to the Lord Jesus. Therefore, many people have come to believe that they can believe in Jesus and yet continue in their sinful practices, only now without conscience or consequences. But the real problem remains in the heart.
The real problem comes from the fact that so many people don’t want to let go of their sins. They may make a pretense of having been delivered from their sins, or not, but even if they claim to be free of their sinful addiction they aren’t really, and so that is why they keep going back to it, because it still has a hold on their lives. So they pretend their ship is not sinking, but it is. They pretend that they are doing okay when really they are not.
And again, that is because they don’t really want to let go of their sinful addictions (slavery to sin) but they just don’t want to admit that, and they don’t want anyone to know, and so they will fake that they are living in freedom from sin when they are not, while they still keep going back to the same old sins and the same old weak and worthless methods of trying to conquer their sinful habits in the flesh.
And it isn’t that most of them don’t know the way to deliverance from sin but that they don’t want to permanently part ways with their pet sins. And the thing of it is that this is a heart issue. For the evil person out of his evil treasure in his heart produces evil. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, and slander, etc. (Lu 6:45; Matt 15:17-20).
And so if your heart is not cleansed by the blood of Jesus, and if these things are still stored up in your heart, and if you refuse to let them go, and this is what you hold on to, these will continue to be what you crave and do repeatedly, because it is what you want more than anything else. So, for the behaviors to change the heart has to change first. You have to die to sin and obey Jesus if you want to live to God and to his righteousness.
An Original Work / August 29, 2018
Your bond is broken
With your Lord and Savior
And your testimony is
Separate from Him.
Your words not matching
Your actions today.
Repent of your sin and
Bow down and pray.
Live what you testify
In truth always.
Purity’s lacking in
Your life and witness,
For you profess one thing,
But other you do.
Not moral, spiritual.
Still of the flesh.
Not living in truth to
What you confess.
Lying about it
Puts you in a mess.
Living a lie is your practice,
‘tis true of you.
Masquerade righteousness –
None of it true.
Your heart is not given
To your Lord God.
Because of how you live,
You are a fraud.
Turn from your sin and
Give your life to God.