I get at least 100 emails every week from readers. Most send me a news snippet or tell me something about themselves and their family, but this last week has been different. Some of the mail I’ve received has just boggled my mind! These past few days, I’ve been inundated with emails from people who claim they and their families are Christians, yet they’re up to their eyeballs in sinful lifestyles!
I don’t mean the, “Oops, I stubbed my toe, and said a bad word,” or thinking, “Mmm, that is one HOT lookin’ man—I got to get me some of that!,” kind of sin; you know, the off the cuff, stupid stuff we all do every day, which we need to ask the Lord’s forgiveness for. Nah, the stuff I’m talking about is big-time, and deliberate.
Now, don’t get me wrong, and start harping on the fact that sin is sin in God’s eyes. Yes, I’m well aware of that. However, we CANNOT claim the name of Jesus and the salvation He died to provide us, and then go about our business living like hell! Uh-uh, I don’t think so! Let me give you some examples.
One gentleman related his sorrow over his ‘Christian’ step-daughter’s upcoming ‘wedding’ to her girlfriend; in a church, of all places! Also, his two cousins are expecting their second babies. He lamented he feels awkward about participating in their upcoming baby showers, since neither woman had ever been married. He could understand that perhaps, they had an ‘accident,’ the first time they got pregnant, but TWO pregnancies?? Oh yeah, those two young ‘ladies’ are ‘Christians’ too!
This poor guy was struggling with the realization that his refusal to acknowledge these events was going to cause bitter feelings within his family, yet he plans to silently take a stand against their sinful lifestyles by choosing not to celebrate with them. He’s decided to display the righteousness God calls us to when we become new creatures in Him, rather than go with the prevailing ‘everything goes’ attitude of today’s society.
Good for him! Luke 6:22-23 “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.”
Another email I received was from a lady in Canada who is a fairly new Christian, in her 30’s with two pre-teen kids. Her current boyfriend led her to the Lord, and she is enormously grateful to him for his witness. However, he is hooked on porn and has NO intention of giving it up! After agreeing to participate with him in his sin du jour, she has decided it’s not for her and is thinking about breaking off the relationship.
Hmmm. Where do I start…
This man claims the blood of the spotless Lamb of God over his soul, yet deliberately chooses, CHOOSES to walk in darkness, indulging in an insidious, immature addiction that demeans women, ruining ANY chance of finding a Godly wife he’ll be satisfied with. She’s tried to talk to him about turning away from his fascination, but he keeps giving lame justifications to excuse his disobedience to God.
Not only is she fornicating with this loser, which is forbidden in the Bible, but she’s condoning his bad behavior by staying in a relationship with him!
I also conversed with a charming man who is an admitted homosexual. He was married, had a few children and ended up divorced. He states he is a Christian and is knowledgeable about what the Bible says about homosexuality. He reminded me quite pointedly that it’s the act of men lying with other men, and women lying with women that is the abomination in God’s eyes; not the temptation itself.
I agreed and assumed he’s a single, celibate man who struggles with homosexual attraction, but elected to put his relationship with the Lord before his fleshly desires. Well, guess again. He explained he has a ‘partner’ and they like to participate in Bible studies. Oh, silly me! *sigh* He knows better, yet is choosing to worship his genitals rather than his Savior. Well? That’s the truth, isn’t it??
I just have one question here.
Are you people completely insane? Seriously! Do you have ANY idea just how close we are to being snatched home, out of harm’s way? Don’t you see what’s happening in society, right in front of your carnal faces that proves the lateness of the hour? You claim the name of Jesus, yet you live like every other heathen around you! I don’t have words for that level of self absorbed, sin-sick, soul-suicidal stupidity!
I know it’s difficult to live in this world, with all its temptations and sparkly baubles. I get that, and I fight falling into the same sins everyone else struggles with! However, 1 Corinthians 10:13 assures us, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Believe me, I’m no perfect automaton by any stretch. But when we accept the free provision of salvation that cost Almighty God His own Son, you’d think we would feel some sort of gratitude for being spared the horrors of an eternity in hell! Au contraire, mon ami. Apparently, some of us don’t!
Jesus told his followers in Matthew 10:37-39 “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”
In other words, salvation is a free gift of God. BUT, being a disciple of Christ will cost us everything. Everything! Nothing is to come before Jesus in our heart. Exodus 20:3 “Thou shalt have NO other gods before me.” Period. That’s as ancient and back to basics as it gets.
Jesus said in Mark 12:30, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” Does this describe living our lives in the manner we please?
Take a look at Romans 8:5-8. “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the spirit the things of the spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
This continues in verse 13 “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” So what does all this mean? Well, when we were saved, the Bible says Jesus ‘redeemed’ us by His blood. Before we were saved, we were slaves to sin, but Jesus paid our way out of that slavery. Because of this, we now belong to Him, and HE is our Master. And lest you think otherwise, we ALL serve one of two masters; either satan or Jesus. That’s just the way it is.
Since we now belong to Jesus, we serve Him. We are to obey his commands and follow his ways. After all, He bought us and He deserves our full allegiance. We do not take orders from anyone else, including friends, family, kids, bosses, society, Wall Street, TV, Madison Avenue, our government, entertainers, celebrities, or even ourselves. That means, we have to say ‘no’ a lot! We have to deny ourselves some of the things of this world that entice and tempt us.
We are supposed to live by the Ten Commandments. We are to live as righteously as possible with the aid of the Holy Spirit, who lives IN us! 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 says “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Even these mortal bodies no longer belong to us! Therefore, doing drugs or getting drunk or overeating or sleeping around or living with a partner and having sex outside of the bounds of a Godly marriage is wrong! Just like lying, stealing, adultery, murder and so on. Sorry, Charlie. That’s the price we pay for following Christ. Denying ourselves those fleshly desires is what is meant by ‘taking up our cross’ and it’s something we have to do every day.
Bummer? Well, to our sinful nature, yes. But that’s what our Master expects, and being obedient is the very least we can do to show our gratitude for what He’s done for us! We can’t have it both ways. We cannot be forgiven if we deliberately continue living a sinful lifestyle, with NO intention of fighting those desires with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Remember what Jesus warned in Matthew 7:21-23? “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” How horrifying to think you’re right with God, only to find out you’ve been fooling yourself!
How can you know you’re saved and ready to go when that wonderful trumpet sounds? Easy. Fruit. Jesus described a true disciple by comparing us with the attributes of the Holy Spirit, called fruit. As we yield more of ourselves to the Lord, resisting the temptations of this life, our personalities and temperament will reflect the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at Galatians 5.
In verse one, Paul says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” We are not to be bound to sin any longer. In verses 16-25 we are told “This I say then, Walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” (Pay attention here!) “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
The hard-core evidence of a soul that’s been regenerated by Jesus is seen when the fruit of the Spirit is evident in that person’s life. They will refuse to participate in the sins of their past, and will deny themselves those fleshly desires that go against God’s word. If this is not happening with you, you had better examine whether you truly belong to Him.
We all struggle with sin, even after we’re saved. But that’s the key. We STRUGGLE. We don’t flagrantly choose to continue living the same lifestyle we did before we were saved, nor do we indulge in our pet sins secretly. If you decide you still want to participate in those things; if the price of being a disciple of Jesus is too high, then fine. If you refuse to put Him above everything and everyone else in your heart, then you’re not worthy of Him. That’s your choice.
Do the rest of us a favor. Don’t run around claiming to be a Christian, only to live like every other godless heathen out there. Fair warning; the time to decide which master you’re going to serve is rapidly running out. Believe me; you do NOT want to be left behind after our Savior snatches us home. If you want to be spared the most horrific era in the history of mankind, you’d better knock it off, and get yourself straight with God!