I Now Tell You With Tears

Philippians 3:17-21 ESV

“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”

Enemies of the Cross of Christ

I honestly don’t know another human being today who I feel as though I could imitate. So many people today in America who profess faith in Jesus Christ are living worldly lives, caught up in the trappings of the world, and they are given over to fleshly desires. Their conversations are centered far more on the things this world has to offer than they are focused at all on Jesus Christ and his teachings and on walks of faithful obedience to our Lord. And I am not saying that such people worthy of being imitated don’t exist. I just don’t know them, or I don’t know them well enough.

I do know that there are many people who walk as enemies of the cross of Christ, and some (or many) of them profess faith in Jesus Christ, and they confess heaven as their eternal home. And some of them are pastors of church congregations, too. But their minds are set on earthly things, and they are largely following the ways of the world and the ways of the flesh, and not the ways of the Spirit. And they make their judgments based on the flesh and not on the Spirit, and they also walk by the flesh and not by the Spirit, for their god is their fleshly appetites, and they glory in their shame.

These are people who are being ruled (led) by the flesh and not by the Spirit, and so they tend to follow after their own feelings and emotions and not after God. Usually they have a twisted concept of what love is, thinking that it is what gives them some type of emotional high or a tingling feeling in their bodies, and so they chase after what can give them that while they abandon true love. And if they can’t get what they desire in real life, they will get it through a fantasy, via an invention of a lover’s dream, which can be solely in their own minds or via watching particular videos or movies.

And usually they will try to keep these sins hidden from others, especially from their spouses and other family members or even from others who profess faith in Jesus Christ. And so they will make up lies in advance or after the fact in order to keep their secret lifestyles hidden. And they may even put on a show of righteousness, acting as though they are doing well in their relationships with the Lord, and they may even use that as a coverup for the evil that they are committing in secret. And they may also engage in trickery and mind games as another way of hiding their secretive sins.

Some of them will actually engage in sexual immorality with other people in person, and not just via a video or a text, while others are content with their imaginary lives. And some of them will engage in a fantasy with another person in reality, such as in a romantic affair or flirtation but where there is no actual physical conduct. But these types of things can lead to physical relationships which are adulterous and outside the confines of a marriage relationship. And so the faithful spouse may end up being the target of a smear campaign in order to remove him/her from the picture.

But those who live like this will not inherit eternal life with God, regardless of what their lips profess. They will not enter the kingdom of heaven because they chose their flesh over God, and over spouse, too, if married. They chose to walk in the ways of the flesh and not in the ways of the Spirit, and to gratify the sinful cravings of the flesh, and not to please the Spirit. So their professions of faith in Jesus Christ are a lie, and they are empty, for their end is destruction, not life eternal with God. For pleasing their flesh has become their god in place of the One True God of heaven and earth.

Our Citizenship

But for those of us who have died with Christ to sin, and who are continuing to die to sin, in practice, and to follow our Lord in obedience, our citizenship is in heaven. And we have that hope and promise of eternal life with God provided that we continue steadfast in faith to the end in walks of obedience to our Lord and in living in righteousness and in holiness, in the power of God, in his strength and wisdom, and to the glory of God. And we are waiting for our Lord’s return when he comes to take his faithful bride to be with him for eternity, which is when our salvation will be complete.

And when Jesus takes us to be with him for eternity he will transform our earthly bodies and we will have heavenly bodies, not of this earth. And we will be with our Lord forever, no longer in pain, no longer suffering, no longer tempted to sin, no longer in weakness, and no longer being hurt by those who are supposed to love us but who love their flesh more. And sin will not be where we are, praise Jesus! And Jesus will wipe away the tears from our eyes, and we will rejoice that we are now with him for eternity. I know that I look forward to that day with great anticipation.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 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.

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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