”to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” – Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV
How often have we used the excuses, “I’m only human…””or “I’m just a sinner…” to justify our continuing to not walk in obedience? That is not profitable, friends, nor is the example that the Word of God lays out for us.
There is a word that Jesus used to describe those who talked about God and who attended religious services but who had no real interest in living close to God. Jesus called them “Hypocrites”.
You hypocrites (play-actors, pretenders), rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you when he said, ‘This people honors Me with their lips , But their heart is far away from Me . ‘But in vain do they worship Me , For they teach as doctrines the precepts of men .’” – MATTHEW 15:7-9 AMP
We are not meant to just “play church” on Sundays and then return to “real life” the rest of the week. Our tithes, our songs, our saying amen to the points of a sermon, out confessing our sins yet again – these are not the weekly sacrifices that God wants from us so that He will leave us alone and forget about what we’ve done once again. No, that is the mind of a lost, religious person who is far from God and desires no real relationship with God, even though they understand and recognize the difference between right and wrong.
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” – 2 Peter 2:20-22 ESV
Grace is not an excuse to remain in sin. If this is your concept of grace, one that pushes you further and further away from God’s will, I encourage you to examine yourself.
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! – 2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV
We who are His, who are called Children of God, who hear His voice and follow Him, who He abides and walks and talks with, who walking in Spirit and Truth not in flesh and confusion – we have a purpose and a calling today, and it is not to be proven children of disobedience who cry out “Lord, Lord” but, who have no intention of loving and serving God.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ – Matthew 7:21-23 ESV
So if we say we believe, let it be true. Let it be evident in our lives, not so that we would look religious and be honored by others, but so that we might bear the fruit of a surrendered life.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20 ESV
And let’s encourage one another with our love of God, love of His instruction, and love of our fellow brothers and sisters.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. – Hebrews 10:23-31 ESV
Let’s live it out for His glory, as our reasonable service, the result of our grattitude for this undeserved gift of grace.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:1-2 ESV
Lord, focus our hearts and minds on your purposes today. Lead us along the path of righteousness for your own name’s sake. Deliver us from evil and prove yourself victorious through the living testimony of our living and serving you today, Lord. Help us to see past the tricks of the enemy and to set our eyes firmly upon you today, Lord. We believe, Lord, we are yours with Christ as our solid foundation – we confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and we believe that He is risen from the dead to sit in authority and power to judge between the born again and the dead. Prove us to be alive with your Holy Spirit. Bring us through the fiery trials of this life and show the see aroma of your presence, your peace, your Love, your very nature and character, alive and evident in us today. Demonstrate that we are not “merely human”, but are born again, new creations. Amen.