Conform Yourself to God’s Truth :: By Nathele Graham

In this life, it can be easy to stray from the correct path. Satan tempts us to follow the way of the world and makes it sound lovely to wallow in sin. When we accept Christ for salvation, we need to put the world behind us and live according to His ways. Scripture is our guide. God gave us Scripture so we can know His will, but we also have the Holy Spirit to lead us. He knows the right path, and if we follow His light, we won’t go astray. The Holy Spirit is God, and He has existed eternally. He was there when the world was created.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:1-2).

When people use their imaginations and come up with their own ideas about creation, all kinds of silly ideas come about. “We were left here by an alien race” is one that keeps making the rounds. “There was an explosion millions of years ago, or was it billions of years ago? … no, maybe it was trillions of years ago.” But smart people believe Scripture.

“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3).

God was there in the beginning, so shouldn’t we believe our infallible God instead of fallible man? The answer to that is “Yes.” When we begin to believe man’s “wisdom” over God’s word, it’s easy to stray from God’s ways. It was a concern for the Apostle Paul that the pastors of the various congregations stay on track and preach God’s truth.

“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:20-21).

Pastors today need to go back to the basics and teach the congregation God’s truth from God’s word. As liberal seminaries question the solid truth of Scripture, liberal ideas begin to be taught from pulpits. Then all manner of evil is accepted.

It’s not up to people to decide what the Holy Spirit meant as He led the men who penned Scripture to write God’s words. Most Scripture is very plain in its meaning, but people don’t like what it says. Christians are to use Scripture when deciding who to marry, who to yoke with in business dealings, and who to allow to join a congregation. If you choose to marry a non-believer, your faith will be compromised. The non-believing spouse will set a very poor example for your children. If you choose to enter a business partnership with a non-believer, what will guide their business ethics? If not guided by God’s word, there will be trouble.

The Corinthian congregation had strayed far from God’s ways. They were surrounded by a pagan culture, and most in that congregation had been a part of pagan practices before accepting Christ. Instead of turning away from the sins embraced by paganism, they were proud of their acceptance of it and allowed people into fellowship who were openly sinning. That sounds a lot like many congregations today. The Apostle Paul wasn’t shy about his disgust over their actions and wrote a very concise letter pointing out their errors. They needed to turn back to Christ rather than embracing the world.

Sexual sin has always been a problem for people. God established a one man/one woman marriage in the Garden of Eden, but people ignore God and justify their own sin nature. That was happening in Corinth, and the leadership of the congregation wasn’t dealing with the sin. Paul, who respected God, wouldn’t turn a blind eye.

“It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned that he hath done this deed might be taken away from among you” (1 Corinthians 5:1-2). A young man was having an affair with his stepmother, and the congregation was proud of their open-mindedness. “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (1 Corinthians 5:6).

When one sin is accepted, people will usually begin accepting more and more sin. Paul told them to put the man out of the congregation until he repented, then welcome him back. “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:4-5).

We all sin, and every err isn’t worthy of shunning, but this sin was especially unacceptable and needed to be dealt with. Today, Christians are way too accepting of sin. The world says it’s okay to sleep around or change your gender, and God says “No.” Who do you believe? Satan is the ruler of this world, so choose carefully whom you will follow. I choose to follow Christ.

Many false teachings are being taught from pulpits today. By knowing Scripture, you can be sure that you’re following God rather than Satan.

Those first Christians had many dilemmas. Most were Jewish but had accepted Christ. They assumed that in order to become a Christian, a Gentile would first have to embrace Judaism. That assumption is easily understood because Jesus came to the nation of Israel first. They were, and still are, God’s chosen people, and the Law was entrusted to them by God. The Law was fulfilled by Jesus Christ, so to think a Gentile must first embrace the Law denies Christ’s finished work on the cross. Some denominations have chosen a few of the Laws, which they force upon the members, but that’s not Scriptural.

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17-18).

We are not under the Law given by Moses, but God’s law will always be valid. We aren’t to have a false god in place of God Almighty; we aren’t to have idols; we aren’t to take God’s name in vain; we are to remember the sabbath to keep it holy (Jesus is our Sabbath rest, so remember Him); honor your father and mother; don’t murder (don’t even murder people in the womb); don’t commit adultery; don’t steal; don’t lie; don’t covet what others have. It really isn’t very difficult to figure out God’s truth.

Our freedom in Christ isn’t a license to sin. We need to follow Jesus’ example and be more like Him. We all have a sin nature that pulls us to disobey God. As Christians, we take the name of Jesus Christ, and therefore we need to deny our selfish feelings and desires.

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

You’ve probably heard someone say, “That’s my cross to bear,” but the context of their statement has nothing to do with what Jesus meant. The cross was death. The condemned person was forced to carry their cross to the place where the crucifixion would be done. Condemned people were usually guilty, but Jesus was perfect and innocent of any and all sin. He took our sin upon Himself, carried His cross to the place where spikes were driven into His flesh, and His innocent blood poured out. His blood was shed for your sins and mine. When we repent of our sin and claim to be a Christian, we need to take up our cross, deny our selfish human sinful desires, and follow Christ. Our sins are forgiven, and the only way we can thank our God who died for our sin is to live for Him.

Once again, the Apostle Paul has Holy Spirit-breathed words for us. “If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:21-24).

We can’t earn our salvation, but we can show our gratitude. The word “conversation” isn’t just the way we talk. It comes from the Greek word “anastrophe” and means “the manner of life, conduct, behaviour, deportment.” In other words, crucify your old way of life and be born again into a life that honors Christ.

How do we know what God expects of our behavior? Study Scripture. Don’t wait for your preacher to do a study on sin. Study what Scripture says, and don’t twist its meaning to show your chosen sin as acceptable.

The Bereans were commended for searching Scripture to be sure that what Paul was preaching was God’s truth. By the way, it was Old Testament Scripture that they searched. Ultimately, you will be accountable for your own sin, and ignorance isn’t an excuse. The whole Bible, from Genesis through Revelation, is God’s word. Men held the writing instruments, but they wrote according to the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Put away the self-help books and study God’s Holy Bible. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

That’s how we know God’s truth. We study what Scripture says, then conform to it rather than making it conform to us. We can all find sins in our life that need to be corrected.

People may not understand the changes you make in order to conform to God’s truth found in Scripture. Stand as a witness for Christ, and whether people understand or not, God does. It’s God we need to please, not our selfish sin nature nor other people.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.

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