Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
He Endured the Cross
The whole purpose of Jesus’ death on that cross was to put our sins to death with him so that, by genuine faith in him, we would die with Christ to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. And so we would live for Jesus and no longer for ourselves. For he shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we would now be God’s possession and so we would now honor him with our bodies (with our lives).
[1 Peter 2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:15,21; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Romans 6]
And Jesus said that if anyone would come after him that 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 living in sin and for self), we will lose them for eternity. But if we lose our lives for Jesus’ sake, i.e. if we die with him to sin that we might live to him and to his righteousness, then we have the hope of eternal life with God (Luke 9:23-26; cf. Romans 8:1-14).
And God’s grace, which brings salvation, trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return (Titus 2:11-14). For if we continue to live in deliberate and habitual sin, without regard for God and for his commands (New Covenant), the Scriptures teach that we will die in our sins and we will not have eternal life with God no matter what our lips profess.
[Lu 9:23-26; 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; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
So, when you hear people telling you that you can be saved from your sins and now have heaven guaranteed you for when you die, but they don’t teach the above Scriptures, and they, instead, teach the opposite of that, please know that they are not teaching the true gospel of salvation but a fake one which is dishonest, sneaky, and underhanded, with the intention to deceive and to lead people to continue in their sins with a false hope of heaven.
For if their gospel message does not lead you to repent of your sins, i.e. to die with Christ to sin and to follow Jesus in obedience to his commands, then they are not teaching the true gospel of Christ. And that means that you are still dead in your sins, and you are still on your way to hell, only now with a false promise of forgiveness of sins and of heaven guaranteed you as your eternal destiny. And that is a lie straight from hell.
The Sin Which Clings so Closely
Probably the most prominent and destructive sin in the church today is that of sexual immorality and sexual idolatry, which are running rampant in the gatherings of what is called “church” today. So many people are making false professions of faith in Jesus Christ without death to sin and living in obedient walks of faith in Jesus Christ. And since they are being guaranteed heaven when they die, they feel the freedom to keep on in their sin.
So many lies are being fed to them from multiple sources which are coddling them in their sins and which are permitting them to keep on in deliberate and habitual sin against God and against other humans. And they are regurgitating those lies to others as a way of comforting themselves in their sins so that they don’t feel guilty about doing what they absolutely do know is wrong. For God put within all of us the knowledge of right and wrong.
So, even though they may be professing faith in Jesus Christ and claiming for themselves heaven as their eternal destiny, and they may even spend some time each day in prayer and in the reading of the Scriptures, still they are charting their own course, and they are going their own way, and they are doing what brings them pleasure, and what is entertaining, frivolous, playful, amusing, idle, vain, shallow and lacking all seriousness of purpose.
They do not take God and his word seriously. They feel the freedom to keep on in their sin, and they convince themselves that God will not judge them and that he will not send them to hell. And so many of them are engaged in secret sin and in secretive relationships and in sexual immorality in its various forms of expression. So they are the self-indulgent who are all about sensual pleasures and not at all about pleasing God with their lives.
And since they convince themselves that their sinful lifestyles will not impact their eternal security, they go on in their sins, living for self-pleasure, being foolish and self-indulgent and narcissistic and proud. And they are very skilled at this for this is their habit, their practice, their lifestyle to live for themselves and for their sinful pleasures without regard for God and without regard for who gets hurt in the process, too, for it is all about them.
But Jesus Christ gave his life up for us on that cross to free us from our slavery (addiction) to sin. He endured that cross for the joy of our salvation from bondage to sin so that, by God-given faith in him, we can now throw off every weight (hindrance, burden of sin) and every sin which clings so closely (which is addictive and which has people in bondage). And so we can now run the race God has marked for us to run with endurance.
We cannot do this in our own flesh, so if you are trying to be free from a particular sinful habit, if you try to do it in your own flesh, chances are pretty good that eventually you will go right back to it. For our flesh is contrary to the things of the Spirit, and flesh cannot put flesh to death. So, in order to be free, we have to surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, die daily to sin and to self, and follow him in obedience in his strength and power.
[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 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13]
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.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
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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