First off, I want to acknowledge the source of my title phrase, it comes from the “Be Better Not Bitter” Blog, and this excellent post. My thanks to Shenine and her excellent work! When I first read Shenine’s phrase about being married to Jesus I knew I had to expand a little on it, so, here goes.
Many Christians would like to believe that they can have their salvation with the Lord, and still play around with their favorite sins now and then. They want to profess a relationship with Jesus on the one hand, but still have a little fling from time to time, to keep things interesting. In other words, they want to be married to their Lord, but still maintain an adulterous relationship with Satan. Here is what the Bible says about that idea:
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. – Joshua 24:10 (KJV)
The Bible does not leave us free to serve the Lord part-time and then turn around and serve Satan part-time. The Bible calls on us to choose, and choose today, who will we serve? This choice is not to be taken lightly, much is at stake here so it is up to us to choose wisely. The Bible says:
15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
16 In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lordthy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
20 That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. – Deuteronomy 30:15-20
What will we follow? Will we follow life and good? Or will we follow death and evil? Jesus, or Satan? We can’t follow both.
The prophet Elijah asks the same question:
And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” – i Kings 18:21 (NKJV)
We have a choice to make: Who is our God? Is it Jesus? Is it Satan? Is it our flesh? The world and its pleasures? But Jesus says:
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. – Luke 9:23 (KJV)
Notice, Jesus does not say that we are to indulge our flesh when we wish or take a little time away to keep company with the world? No, he said that we are to deny ourselves.
And finally, it is not enough that we call Jesus our Savior and then don’t do the things that He says. Jesus put it this way:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. – Matthew 7:21 (KJV)
Remember, we are to:
Enter (ye) in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. – Matthew 7:13,14 (KJV)
Well, I was reading John 17 today, “The High Priestly Prayer” of Jesus, and the answer jumped out at me. I will quote part of it here:
18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
Jesus prays specifically that His Church be united, and in verses 21 and 23 He gives the reason, ”that the world may believe that You sent Me” and “and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me“. When we are One Body in Christ, united under One Lord, we are a powerful force in the world, proclaiming through our unity, that Jesus is the Christ, sent be God as a Savior to the world. That is what God intended for His Church from the beginning.
But it seems we have listened to Satan rather than to our Father and to our Lord Jesus Christ, and instead of being a unified body, we have divisions everywhere! We have one group that believes, “Once saved, always saved” and another that believes you can lose your salvation. We have one group that believes that anyone can be saved, and another that believes that only a group specifically elected to salvation by God can be saved. I could go on and on, but that would be boring, and I think you have gotten my point. So, we have hundreds of denominations and sects, all of them believing that they are right, and all others are wrong.
Rather than listening to God’s Holy Spirit that dwells within us, and clinging to His simple Gospel message, we have chosen rather to allow Satan to stir up our pride and to divide us against ourselves and against our Lord, making us complicit in his attack against our God and His (our) Church, our very own Spiritual Body.
Divisions in the Church were first addressed by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians and since that day, divisions among us have only gotten worse!
The really sad thing is, it never had to be this way. In Christ, we are more than conquerors, over Satan and over every enemy of the Church. It has always been in our power to stop divisions, but sadly, we never have.
And, can I share the really, really sad thing? If we were half the followers of Christ that we claim to be (and I do include myself) this NEVER would have happened! How can we say that we are His followers, and that Christ lives in us and through us, and then, through our inaction allow this situation to be perpetuated?
This is not something that we will change in a year, or even five or ten. It is something that we could change in a generation.
But only if we start today! Won’t you join us?
If I were to ask any born again Christian if they believe that Jesus died for all of their sins, I know that nearly all of them would answer with an unequivocal “Yes!”. And that is great, because Jesus truly did die for all of our sins. And, if that were all there was to it, I wouldn’t be writing this blog.
Unfortunately, probably a majority of those who answered “yes” to the first question would, if asked, “What do you make of verses like John 1:9 then?”, would answer with something to the effect of we need to keep short accounts with God, otherwise we will be out of fellowship with Him. It is that issue that I would like to address in this post.
If Jesus truly died for all of our sins, and I believe there is ample evidence to conclude this decisively, then there are no sins left for God to hold against us, correct? If God is still holding my sins against me, then it must not really be forgiven. If it is not forgiven, how can it be dealt with? It seems to me that if any of my sins are yet unforgiven that Jesus would have to die once again to make payment for it. And we know the Bible is clear, that is not going to happen. The Bible says that Christ died for sins once!
Another explanation I have heard is that today, we get our sins forgiven by confessing them to God and then repenting of them. Really? If sins can be forgiven by confession and repentance, then why did Christ have to die? If we believe that sins can be forgiven so easily today, then we are doing two things, first, we are drastically under estimating the seriousness of sin, and second, we are drastically under valuing the preciousness of Christ’s blood. We are saying that our (works) confession and repentance are of equal value to Christ’s blood. I would call that pretty close to blasphemy, wouldn’t you?
No, the title of this piece says it all. When we sin, there is nothing that we can do but fall on our face in worship and thanksgiving that our God has already forgiven our sin when Jesus spilled His precious blood on our behalf and accept His free gift of Love for His children.
The person who lives a life of confession and repentance lives in constant fear that he might have missed a sin, or that maybe his confession or repentance is not sincere enough.
The person who lives a life knowing that His sins are already forgiven lives in continual thanksgiving, worship, and praise of His Lord for the gracious gift He has provided.
“The Motions” by Matthew West is a very thought-provoking song. West released this song on his album “Something To Say” which was the first album published after he underwent “voice threatening surgery” of his vocal chords in 2007. I have not been able to verify this anywhere, but I like to believe that he wrote “The Motions” during his 2-month period of silence and vocal rest following his surgery, while still unsure if he would be able to sing again.
Whether that is absolutely true or not, the story certainly gives me pause. West’s surgical experience, which took place very shortly after the problem, polyps on the larynx that were causing hemorrhaging, was made, reminding me that a life changing event could come at any time. So, I wonder, if such an event took place in my life, would I be comfortable knowing that, while I had the chance, I gave my everything to this Christian life, or would I spend the rest of my life asking, “What if I had given everything instead of just going through the motions?”.
I searched for the proper adjective to use in my title and settled for “wonderful”. I say settled because there really is no word to describe the greatness, the wonder, the awesomeness of what I am about to share.
So, what is this good news? I will let Paul the Apostle share it first. Paul said:
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8
To condense what Paul said, Jesus Christ died as a sacrifice for our sins, and then rose from the dead so that we might enjoy eternal life with God.
To put it another way, the Bible teaches that we are all sinners. We have all fallen short of God’s expectation, which is sinless perfection. (Romans 3:23) Therefore, the Holy Spirit of God does not dwell in us, and as a result, we are dead, spiritually, and upon our physical death, we will be eternally separated from God.
Remember, this is not God’s plan for us, we, all of us have sinned willfully and brought about our own spiritual deaths. It is not God who caused our separation from Him. We did this to ourselves.
That’s the bad news. The good news we have already heard from the Apostle Paul. God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9) but that all should come to repentance. Therefore, He sent His Son, Jesus, to take te punishment for our sins on our behalf. This is called propitiation. A favorite saying of mine is, “Jesus paid a debt He did not owe, for us who owed a debt we could not pay”. The just died for the unjust, in order that the unjust should be justified before God.
But that is only part of the good news. Once Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf was accepted by God, Jesus rose from the dead, victorious, not only over sin, but over death itself! As a result of Jesus’ sacrifice, His righteousness is imputed to us. And, as a result of Jesus being raised from the dead, His Life is imputed to us as well.
This gift of eternal life is given freely to any who will believe in Jesus. So, what exactly does that mean, “believe in Jesus”?
First, we must acknowledge before God that we are a sinner. Second, we must acknowledge that Jesus died for our sins. Third, we must ask God for the salvation that He has provided through His Son, Jesus Christ. And last, we must trust in Jesus alone for our salvation. His sacrifice was sufficient. There is nothing else that we must do to obtain, or to maintain our salvation, only trust in Him for what He has already accomplished on our behalf.
If you would like to know more about becoming a Christian, please do not hesitate to contact me, either b leaving a comment here, or by sending me an email at email@example.com
God bless you.
Recently, the Lord has been leading me to surrender certain areas of my life that I have been holding on to, so I have been placing those areas under His Lordship and acknowledging that He is Lord of all parts of my life and that it is all His to do with, to use, or to discard, as He wills.
So, in church this morning I came to realize as our Pastor was preaching on The Good Samaritan, that I had never surrendered this blog to Jesus’ Lordship. I quickly jotted a note so as not to forget and so I could let go the thought and listen to our Pastor’s message.
The Lord has been speaking to me for some time about spending more time with this blog but I never knew how I might accomplish that. I just have never had a steady stream of ideas coming that I should be able to write more frequently. Until today. The Lord showed me the way, and it had only to do with His leading, and was not dependent at all on me coming up with ideas. And it was only after that revelation that I realized that I had never truly given this blog over to the Lord’s care. It was always my blog. I maintained it, and I was the one responsible for the writing.
So, today I write for the purpose of dedicating this blog to the Lord. I will write as directed by the Lord, and respond to posts in the same way.
Lord Jesus, I bow humbly before you now as I dedicate this blog to You. From now on, may You be solely responsible for its content, and may the work that I do for it be always in keeping with Your will. Amen.
Have you ever broken any of the Ten Commandments? Come on now, be honest. Have you ever lied? Have you ever seen something that belonged to another and wanted it for your own? Have you ever stolen anything? Even a small thing? Have you ever committed adultery? Remember, Jesus said that if you have ever looked on a woman to lust after her, that you have committed adultery with her in your heart. How about murder? Jesus said that if you are angry with your brother that you are subject to the judgment.
So, the average person, in God’s eyes is a Lying, covetous, thieving, adulterer who may very well be a murderer as well. If you or I were to stand before God with a record like that, what do you think the outcome would be?
If God is just, and He is, the only possible verdict that He could reach is the verdict of guilty, with the punishment being death, permanent spiritual separation from God. In fact, that is the judgment that each of us has in our future. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23)
The wages of sin is death, and we are all guilty of it. We are all guilty because we all have sinned. That’s pretty bad news for all of us, devastating! But it doesn’t have to be.
You see, I left off the second half of Romans 6:23. Here is the whole verse:
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23
From the first verse that talks about sin and death, we might get the impression that God hates us. But really, just the opposite is true. The reason we are sinners is our own personal choice. We sinned, and death, or separation from God is the natural consequence of sin. Just as gravity is a law of the physical universe, the law of sin and death is a law of the spiritual realm. If we step off a cliff, we fall. If we sin, we die.
If God did not care about His creation, He could have left things that way. We made a choice, and it is only right that we should pay the price.
But God loves us!
He was not willing to leave us in our condition of spiritual death, so, He offered His Son, Jesus, The Christ, to die in our place and pay the full price for every sin we ever committed and for every sin that we ever will commit. Jesus, truly God in human flesh, and truly human as well. He was tempted in every way, even as we are, and yet, without sin. (see Hebrews 4:15) Having lived a sinless life, He was in a position to take on the punishment of others, of you and me.
When Jesus died on the cross, it was not a tragic accident, it was the fulfillment of why He came to earth in the first place.
And, to everyone who will acknowledge that they are a sinner and in need of God’s mercy, and will trust in The Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, God extends the gift of new and eternal life. The Bible says it this way:
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; – Romans 10:9
God loves each of us enough that He was willing to take our just punishment so that we might live with Him forever. And if you accept His Son, Jesus, as your own Savior, that is just what will happen. The Bible says:
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8:1-2
Won’t you accept God’s gift of eternal life now? It is as simple as admitting to God that you are a sinner and need the salvation that He has provided in His Son. Do it now, ask God to forgive your sin and you will receive His gift of eternal life.
If you have accepted God’s gift of life, I hope that you will take a few minutes and leave a comment here and tell others what you have done. Or, if that makes you feel uncomfortable, you are always welcome to send me an email.
God bless you!
His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and no shoes. This was literally is wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He is brilliant. Kind of esoteric and very, very bright. He became a Christian recently while attending college.
Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and So Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat.
The church is completely packed and he can’t find a seat. By now people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit and, when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet. (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this church before!
By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick. About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, an Elder is slowly making his way toward Bill. Now the Elder is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying To themselves that you can’t blame him for what he’s going to do.
How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor? It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man’s cane.
All eyes are focused on him. You can’t even hear anyone breathing. The minister can’t even preach the sermon until the Elder does what he has to do. And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won’t be alone.
Everyone chokes up with emotion. When the minister gains control, he says, “What I’m about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget. Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read.”
This story was found on Godvine (www.godvine.com) and was presented without attribution. So, Godvine is the only attribution I know to give.
In answer to the question:
“What do you think are the reasons why more Christians aren’t helping to spread the Good News? How can we encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ to share Jesus with their family, friends, & co-workers?”