Imagine for a moment that you discovered your closest loved one is addicted to a very strong drug. And if this loved one continued using this drug, it would eventually cost them their lives. Doing your best to intervene, you convince them to check into a rehab clinic for a few weeks. There, your loved one is around others with the same addiction that he or she has. The addicts are meeting daily with a councilor from the clinic who is telling them to be clean, they must completely turn from their drug use. The councilor is telling them that they must replace the time they once used seeking this drug with a more positive pastime. They must develop new desires.
There are some addicts that really take these words to heart. But a few of the addicts have a different mindset. A few troubled addicts begin to tell your loved one that in recovering from any addiction, its alright to fall of the wagon every now and then. They tell your loved one that they should strive not to use drugs, but if the urge gets too strong, its alright to use. Because they tell your loved one that eventually, they will get things right.
So your loved one comes out of the rehab clinic and back into society. But the first week after getting out of rehab, you catch your loved one using the very same drug once again. Very concerned, you ask them what they are thinking! Your loved one responds, “Its alright, I am a new person since going to rehab. I met a very nice councilor and I am following his advice of staying clean. But other addicts have told me that its ok if I get high now and then. Because no one is perfect and everyone does it.”
You can never be free from a drug if you keep allowing yourself to be enslaved to it. And it would be apparent to you that your loved one cared more about what other drug users said about rehabbing than the councilor who honestly knew how to recover. Your loved one tells you that the clinic councilor is a person who can help them become a clean person. And so even though they continue to use, since they have spent time around the councilor, they are clean. But that is ridiculous. Because a drug addict can never be clean unless they take the advice of the councilor and turn from that drug completely.
One of the most joyous things in ministry is to hear someone say that they want to know the Lord. But it can also be very frustrating. Because when someone claims that they are following Jesus and living a sinful lifestyle at the same time, their actions betray their profession of faith. You cannot claim to be a follower of Christ and continue to live in addiction to sin. You cannot claim to be a Christian and yet use the excuse of God being a forgiving God. And just as the loved one decided to believe in other drug addicts methods of recovering from addiction, you cannot listen to other sinners and use the excuse, “We all sin, so God understands.”
If a drug addict continues in his rehab saying, “We all fall off the wagon once in a while so my use in rehab is justified”, it will eventually cost him his life. Sin is addictive. Maybe even more so than a drug. And just like a drug, if you continue living in it with no repentance, or turning from it, then it will lead to an eternal death. A drug councilor is a healer. But he cant heal you unless you turn from the drugs. And God is forgiving. But he offers no salvation unless you repent from sins in your life.
People twist scripture to make it mold more to their sinful lifestyle.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23.
This is one of the most quoted verses in the Bible. And it is true. We have all fallen short of the glory of God in sin. No one is without sin except the Lord Jesus Christ. So since we are all sinners by nature, and it says this in the Bible, cant we just live however we want knowing that God forgives? I mean doesnt our sin magnify the grace of God since he is forgiving? If our sins make Christ’s grace even greater, then we can just continue sinning, right?
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:1-4.
What the apostle Paul is saying in this passage of scripture is that if anyone can use Christ’s grace as an excuse to go on sinning, then they do not know Christ. The resurrection of Jesus is representative of our sinful life. Just as Christ died under the weight of our sin, he rose to new life. In the same way, when we say we know Jesus as our savior, we are claiming to put to death striving to fulfill our fleshly desires and being a new way of life in seeking to live as Christ.
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. ” Colossians 3:5-10.
Paul tells us once we begin to follow Christ, the sign of a true believer is one who puts away all evil desires. Everyone sins. But notice what Paul says. He acknowledges this, saying those who are saved in Christ ONCE walked in these evil desires. In the life the ONCE lived! But now they live their lives striving to avoid sin and live for Jesus.
So many people profession to know God make statements that show their true hearts. I heard Pastor Mark Driscoll tell the story of a man who came into his office for counseling. Pastor Mark was surprised to see this man, because he had been a very faithful church member. What he said floored Pastor Mark. The man said that he was divorcing his wife and leaving his kids to be raised by her. When Pastor Mark asked why, this faithful church member said that he wanted to live life for himself for a while. He openly admitted that he wanted to date around, to party, and to just have fun while he was young. He said he knew biblically it was wrong, but claimed that everyone sinned and that God would forgive him. In spite of Pastor Mark’s efforts to change this man’s mind, he ended up divorcing his wife and doing as he pleased.
No regard to the hurt he had caused in his wife and the pain to come when his kids got older. And he justified his sin by claiming the God loves everyone and he would be forgiven. But what this man was doing was committing idolatry. He was making God into a God he felt comfortable with. He was changing certain aspects of Jesus and twisting scripture so that he may be justified in his sin. God is loving. But God doesnt love everyone. He loves those who love him and repent. Those who do not love God show it by not obeying his commands. They are not children of God but Children of wrath.
“If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15.
We can claim to love God. But if we disregard his commands in exchange for loving our sins more than him, our words are empty. If you refuse to turn from your sins and choose sin over Christ, you do not know God, you are not saved, and you are on a road leading to Hell. Jesus does forgive, but in order to receive that forgiveness, you must die to your old self and begin new life living under his Lordship. You either follow Christ or follow your fleshly desires. And only following Jesus will lead to eternal life.
Some may not like my reply and may try to justify themselves like the Jews did. Some may say, “Hey, wait a minute! I’m already a Christian.”
In the book of John, Jesus is basically telling the Jews that they are not children of God due to their sin. The Jews argue back with Jesus. If we were to put this story in todays terms, ts kind of like they were saying to Jesus, “Dont judge me, Im a Christian.” Look at what the Jews say to Jesus.
“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” John 8:41-47.
If you are claiming to be a Christian yet choosing to continue on in sin instead of repenting, my reply would be much like Jesus’ reply in these verses.”If you are a Christian, then why do you continue to do the things that the devil does? Why do you continue to sin? The whole world is under the control of the evil one and yet you love things that are in the world; therefore, God’s love is NOT in you!
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Fatheris not in them.” I John 2:15.
” Then I would say, “Turn from your sin and realize that God provides a way for you to stand up under EVERY temptation.
“No temptationhas overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be temptedbeyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” I Cor. 10:13.
Have faith in God. Rely on Him. In the Hebrew language, Holy means to be set apart or separate from. We are to be separate from the ways of the world. Make every effort to be holy.
“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14.
If there is no difference between how we as followers of Christ act, and those who live for themselves, we will not inherit eternal life!
“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially,live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.” I Peter 1:13-17.
If you are in Christ, you are not following the ways of the world.
“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
These two verses sum everything up. Our WHOLE duty is to fear God and keep His commandments. Yet, there are so many who claim that this is an impossible duty to fulfill. “Sure,” they say, “we can obey God sometimes, but of course we will still sin.” They say this despite the fact that they have no Scripture to back up what they claim. So, many professing believers EXPECT to continue to sin and therefore they do because without faith in God to keep them from sin, they will surely fall–guaranteed.
“They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him” (Titus 1:16). They have a form of godliness going to church every week and being “spiritual” MOST of the time, but when it comes down to it, they have not accepted God’s provision to overcome sin and thus they deny the power to be godly. What is this provision that God has made for Christians to overcome sin? It is the grace given us by God sending His Son. Through the blood of Jesus, we can overcome, “for everyone born of God overcomes the world” (I John 5:4). Many professing believers have read passages like Romans 6 and I John 3 that state VERY CLEARLY that we are no longer slaves to sin and that those who are in Christ do NOT continue to sin:
“We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Romans 6:2
“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (Rom. 6:18).
“No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him” (I John 3:6).
Despite these and MANY other clear passages throughout the Bible, many do not have the faith to fully believe, so they may turn to ask a friend who helps them twist scripture and condones their sin. Then they FEEL much better thinking that they can continue in sin. So these people are like seed sown along a path: they “hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts” (Luke 8:12). So I ask you, do you have faith to believe the Bible? Have you accepted God’s provision to overcome sin in YOUR life? Do you really know what it means to be a SLAVE of righteousness? I pray that you will consider these things. I long to see more people living a victorious life in Christ overcoming sin.
We grow in holiness when we begin to follow the Lord. And His power will sustain you and keep you from falling. I pray that you will listen and believe the Bible and come to true faith in God. Give up those sins in your life and repent. The more you grow in your relationship to Christ, the more distant you will begin to feel from those evil desires. And the more you will begin to desire the things of God.
Just as a person who was once addicted to drugs cannot imagine living without the pleasure the drug provides them, when they are truly clean from it, they cannot imagine going back to it. Because their lives are so much more fruitful. And they have new desires that are good. Sin is no different. Be it drug addiction, sexual addiction, or simply living contrary to Gods word for your own fleshly desires sake, the life God has planned for you is far more satisfying than anything the devil’s world has to offer. But the only way to realize those new desires is to die to the old ones. And to begin to follow Jesus Christ with your whole heart and life. Everyone one sins. But not everyone continues willingly living in their sins.
Belief in Christ is not enough. For even Satan believes in Christ, but he chose to live contrary to the commands of Jesus. Satan believes in Jesus, but never repented and changed. Therefore his belief is not enough to save him. Satan will spend an eternity in Hell. So many are spitting images of Satan. They claim to believe in Christ, but they choose to live in their sins instead of following Christ. Because of this, as the verse above in John 8 pointed out, they are not sons of God. According to Jesus, their father is Satan. And because of their lack of repentance, they will spend eternity with their father in Hell.
God knows the desires of your heart. Desires that you may have yet to even realize. Because you’ve never really sought Christ.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33.
We get so mad at God when our lives get in a mess, and blessings are not added to our lives. But maybe it is because we have been seeking the wrong desires. Maybe it is because we have yet to seek God first, and to die to ourselves. Seek him, knowing that there is joy unspeakable in knowing Christ. Seek him, knowing the growing in holiness is more exciting than any sin Satan has to offer. And seek him knowing that judgement is closer than we think. And on that day, we will be judged according to the life we lived. God will declare you lived as a child of God or a child or wrath. The measuring stick will not be what the world did or what our friends convinced us would be ok. Rather it will be Jesus Christ and the example give to us in scripture. Who are you listening too right now to justify your life? Your friends and society, or the word of God? It is your choice. Choose carefully. Your eternal destination depends on it.