You may be asking yourself, why the Grace teacher of all grace teachers, is writing this teaching. You may have read my teachings before; and learned that our relationship with God is based on the complete work of Jesus on the cross and in His Resurrection, and not on our performance. If so, you may wonder why I would author a piece about right and wrong.
It is true that we cannot manipulate God with our behavior. It is also true that God does not withhold the blessings that He has promised and guaranteed with the blood of Jesus. It is also true that all sin and come short of the glory of God.
It is also true that we are not to use the Grace of God as an excuse to please our flesh and sin. Read the teachings of Paul on this subject:
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? GOD FORBID. (The literal translation of these words in the Greek and Hebrew is much closer to “Hell No!” than to the English translation of “GOD FORBID”.) Know you not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should …………………….WALK IN NEWNESS OF LIFE!”
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should…NOT SERVE SIN.”
“FOR HE THAT IS DEAD IS FREE FROM SIN. LET NOT SIN THEREFORE REIGN IN YOUR MORTAL BODY, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof.” (Romans 6:1-5,7&11)
“FOR SIN SHALL NOT HAVE DOMINION OVER YOU; FOR YOU ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW, BUT UNDER GRACE.” (Romans 7-14)
Paul declares in the above teaching that because we are now in a new relationship with God based on grace (God’s willingness, ability and power to do those things for us; that we can not, or will not do for ourselves.) and not on our performance; we should be all the more constrained in our behavior. We should try to do what is pleasing to God not out of compulsion or threat of punishment, but as a free will decision to please the God who loves us so much that He paid the price for our sins with His Own Blood.
In his brilliant and Holy Ghost inspired letter to the church at Phillipi, Paul explained how we should manage our minds, in order to stay above the fray of the flesh led life, consider:
“Be anxious for nothing; but in all things through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God, And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
“FINALLY, BROTHERS, Whatsoever things are TRUE, whatsoever things are HONEST, whatsoever things are JUST, whatsoever things are PURE, whatsoever things are LOVELY, whatsoever things are of GOOD REPORT; if there be any VIRTUE, and if there be any PRAISE think on these things.” (Philippians 4:6-8)
Let’s combine some teachings of Paul and consider how our lives would be different if we lived by them. At the same time remembering the instruction of Paul to focus on the above.
“THEREFORE, IF ANY MAN BE IN CHRIST, HE IS A NEW CREATURE; old things are passed away; behold ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; TO WIT, GOD WAS IN CHRIST, RECONCILING THE WORLD UNTO HIMSELF; NOT COUNTING THEIR SINS AGAINST THEM. And has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2Corinthians5: 17-19)
In this teaching, Paul informs us that; once we have accepted Jesus as our Lord, we become new creations. That our old sinful person no longer exists. Therefore as new Creations of God, we should look and behave differently.
Think about this:
“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Gentile. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, THE JUST…………. (those found not guilty by the decision to believe in their hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, and the verbal confession that Jesus is LORD)……………..SHALL LIVE BY FAITH!” (Romans 1:16&17)
To live by faith is to live: (1) In this present moment. One moment at a time. (2) With joyful expectation…of (3) The unseen. The Kingdom and promises of God. “(1) …NOW… (2) …FAITH IS THE SUBSTANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR …(3) …THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN” (Hebrews 11:1)
Would we be capable of living in continual sin if:
(1) We were anxious for nothing but were thankful in all things. Asking God for our requests but thanking Him in advance of receipt of those things, because we have made a decision to believe beyond the shadow of a doubt, that when we pray and ask we receive…regardless of whether we see those things or not.
(2) We were focused on whatsoever is: TRUE, HONEST, JUST, PURE, LOVELY, OF GOOD REPORT, VIRTUOUS AND PRAISE TO GOD.
(3) We lived as New Creations in Jesus. Knowing that He died to pay for our sins and that our old sin nature is dead and buried at the cost of the blood of Jesus.
(4) We made a conscious decision to live in this present moment with joyful expectation of the things that we cannot see.
I think not! As a matter of fact, Number (2) would eliminate most of our sin. It would take out the evening news, the Communist News Network, Magazines, most movies and the filth of this world.
Sometimes, I think that I have blown into a parallel universe. When I was a kid, Superman found himself in a world that was the complete opposite of the real world; it was called Bizzaro World. In this upside down world, right was wrong and wrong was right.
Have you watched a movie, or television show, or news report lately? You can say and do anything now. There is no censorship. The emails about sexual enhancements, that we routinely delete, are blasted to the next generation on prime time television.
The “F bomb” that couldn’t be uttered in movies just a few years ago, is blasted on television all day every day courtesy of the “comedy” channel. The comedy channel isn’t funny. A never-ending dialog about male and now female body parts and bowel movements is not amusing. Now the “MF bomb” is blasted in the guttural dialect, that the next generation is being taught 24-7 in the multi-media world, in which they live. The English language has been replaced with a collection of grunts, groans and yo-yo’s.
Not long ago, we were concerned that Johnny could not read. Now, Johnny can’t speak. The music that Johnny used to listen to was about love. Now, Johnny’s music is about killing people by popping caps in their backsides.
When Elvis was in his prime, our parents were outraged by his swerving pelvis. They called him Elvis the Pelvis. Every generation is concerned about the eroding dignity of the next. But this is much different. Women are demeaned. Beautiful is ugly. And bad is good. What used to be called gangster rap is today’s Elvis music.
Mocking God has been elevated to an art form by air-headed Hollywooders, who rule the “ENTERTAIN ME” generation. The ACLU and the murderer Ted Kennedy have become the moral compasses of the United States.
The Constitution, written by a group of Godly and literate men; has been miss-interpreted by an un-Godly generation of illiterates, to say that the clause prohibiting the establishment of a state religion or the free exercise thereof, was written to protect us FROM religion.
We as a country, as a free will decision, have locked God out of every area of our lives. The world we live in is insane. Ronald Regan saw the opportunity for America and challenged us to become the “Shining City on the Hill”; instead, we have become the amoral example that ghihadists use to justify their murderous abominations.
We can make our voices heard in the ballot boxes and at the box offices. But by far, the best thing that we can do as Jesus followers; is to lead others by the example of our behavior. We can teach others about the God who leads by love.
If we who have been appointed the Ambassadors of Jesus, accept that responsibility and teach the unedited Gospel of Jesus, we can turn the World back to it’s creator.
Paul explained it like this:
“For as much as you are manifestly declared to be THE EPISTLE OF CHRIST (the examples, the letters spread abroad, the testament), ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the SPIRIT OF THE LIVING GOD; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” (2Corinthians 3:2&3)
The message of this teaching is that we followers of Jesus; above all, should not be caught up in the affairs and flesh minded things of this world. Rather, we who are saved by the Love of God by Grace, through faith, should live lives worthy of the blood of Jesus. So that others will be drawn to Jesus through our examples.