Monday, December 29, 2014

As Obedient Children

“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;” – 1 Peter 1:13-17

There’s a movement amount popular Christian leaders to express the love God has for us all without expressing the sincere hatred He has for sin.  The problem with that is that we live our lives without fearing God, as rebellious children who know Dad will always love them, no matter what.  To say that God loves everyone – regardless of how they live – is not true.

Contrary to popular belief, the cliché that “God hates the sin and loves the sinner” does not align with His word.  Psalms 5:4-5 says “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with You. The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity.” What is iniquity?  The word comes from the Hebrew 'aven (H205), which means trouble, wickedness, evil, unrighteousness, or in other words – sin.  Think that’s a one-verse-wonder?  Read Psalms 11:4-7.  Read Romans 5:8-10 that says before we are saved we are enemies of God.

For those that belong to God, He will always love us.  Romans 8:38-39 tell us that nothing, not even our own ways, “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” But God does not save us to remain as we are!  There is to be a transformation, a true repentance of our sinful ways.

Peter tells us that we are to be as obedient children, and to continue to live here in fear.  Fear of what?  Fear of our God, which is both a fear of His wrath and respect, as we would give an earthly father.  While our hope is in His mercy and His grace through the salvation afforded us through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, we are not to make a mockery of His sacrifice by continuing to live as sinners.

Yes, sin is in our nature.  But the Holy Spirit that lives within us, our gift at the moment of salvation, guides us and leads us.  To ignore the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, is by definition disobedience to God.  Friends, He would not tell us “Be holy, for I am holy” if it were not possible. 

We cannot hide behind the “I’m only human” mantra any more.  Matthew 7:21 warns that “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.” Knowing that He is Lord and not making Him Lord (ruler, governing body) over your own life, is not accepting Him as Lord at all.  James goes on to say in chapter 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Why would we be told to obey Him if it were not possible?

Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  It’s a simple matter of whether we love Him enough to let Him be Lord over our life, or whether we want to keep that title for ourselves.

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” – Ephesians 5:1-11

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