We all want “Freedom”

Each one of us either wants freedom from God’s righteous way to live the way we want to – or freedom from our sinful ways to live the way God wants us to.

There is God’s way and there is the way of the world,  and those two are at odds with each other. This is why many practice religion once a week just to live their own lives the rest of the week. They know what is the right way, but they do not want it. They know about God, but they do not love Him.

Many have found something they love better than God and His ways, and it is themselves and their ways.

Yes, He makes it clear that these things lead to destruction –

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
I Corinthians 6:9‭-‬10 NKJV

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19‭-‬21 NKJV

Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are  dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
Revelation 22:14‭-‬15 NKJV

“Christian”, I do not tell you these things to stand as your accuser. I do not condemn you,  nor does Jesus Christ condemn you. But if you are still living this way, you must examine your heart and ask if you are still condemned like the world and its ways of sin. You must ask yourself what it is you truly desire. You must ask yourself who it is you really serve with your heart. And if it is not the Lord, if He is not Lord of your life, have you ever truly known Him as Savior? Has He ever truly known you as servant, follower, disciple, child of God?

Please, don’t rely on a religious ceremony or promise – the Pharisees did this (selling forgiveness and profiting off of the guilt of people) and were rebuked heavily by Jesus Christ, God come in the flesh, for misleading the people with empty religious practice. Rely on the Lord and the Lord alone – fall in love with Him and His ways.

If you can’t say that you love Him but you want to learn how, or you know that you need to love Him more now than you have in the past, that is a wonderful place to be – setting your eyes and your heart and your trust on the Lord. This is called repentance – it is turning away from sin, turning away from self, turning away from the world to seek God first and foremost and singularly in your life. He died on the cross so that you could repent and receive His Holy Spirit to guide and teach you.

Yes, repentance is a big step. Yes, it is a huge turning point in your life – and you get to maintain this repentance daily, even moment to moment for the rest of your life as you choose freedom from sin and temptation and death in a new life,  walking with a new Lord of your life. This is called walking in the Spirit instead of in the flesh,  and it produces the fruit of His nature in your life –

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who  are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22‭-‬25 NKJV

Don’t settle for powerless religion that ends in death because it offers you a promise of freedom to feel comfortable continuing in sin – that is a lie from the devil himself – those are not “Christians”, nor do they love God – they are the synagogue of Satan.

Settle only for walking as a new creation,  because if Christ has set you free, you are free indeed.

The “AND” really does matter

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
– Hebrews 12:14 ESV

Peace and Holiness.
Christ as Savior and Lord.
Forgiveness received and Repentance lived.

Do we see the AND?

Many will fall to one side or the other, interested in one but not the other,  because that is the goal of the enemy – that there would be those that fail to receive grace. Yes, the very next verse warns us of this great danger.

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. – Hebrews 12:15-17 ESV

If we want peace, but have no interest in holiness, the enemy can falsify peace by giving us a life of wealth, comfort, false security or worldly pleasures in this life so that we might ignore and avoid any interest or urgings towards being holy. He will speaks lies of all kinds to keep people on this carnal path of lasciviousness and worldliness – even letting them call themselves Christians and participate in religious ceremonies and practices as long as they keep God at a distance from their actual lives.

If we want holiness,  but have no interest in peace,  the enemy can falsify this by encouraging an air of spiritual pride, offering us works and honor amongst men and the ability to sew and point out the specks in others eyes without seeing the log in our own – so that we might know about law and scripture but know little about love and peace amongst our brothers and sisters. He will speak lies of all kinds to keep people on this prideful path of legalism and loveless religious practice and bitterness towards the lost, the hurting, and the afflicted – even Leyva them call themselves Christians and be leaders as long as they keep others at a distance from the forgiveness and love that they have to offer.

Yes, the path of the AND is critical,  because without it, “no one will see the Lord”. And that path is narrow and few will find it,  but will be satisfied with those broad ways that go to destruction.

Which gutter is the enemy trying to drag you into today? Which of the two would you rather avoid and instead cling to the other? God seeks a greater righteousness be born and grow in us than that of the lawless sinners or the loveless religious hypocrites. This is the Law of Christ. And when strived for as peace with everyone AND with holiness towards God – we understand His commandment:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
– Matthew 22:36-40 ESV

Just like the churches in Revelation needed to examine themselves to recognize their strengths and their weaknesses and then act – we need to examine ourselves and then act.

The life of a Christian is not passive – it is not a powerless mentality of “once saved always saved because I’ve baptized” and “I’m just a sinner saved by grace that will continue to sin every day” – with people existing their remaining a slave to sin when Christ doesn’t just set us free from the consequences of sin – He sets us free indeed to walk as a new creation!

The life of a Christian is not war against flesh and blood or building a tower of works to get to heaven either. It is nothing that would have us standing in front of others, proud of what we have done. If something is commendable in our lives,  He must receive the praise and honor and I must humble myself with the realization that it was Him who lives in me and not me.

Whichever of these two you are most comfortable accepting is not the one that you need to work more on – and that is our tendency – to fall into one ditch and keep digging deeper.

We must climb out. We must get back on the narrow path.