April 27, 2017
Most Christians know Paul’s life story. His family was well-to-do and he was a brilliant man who studied under the most respected teacher of the time. Paul was known for his zeal in persecuting Christians and he could have been a great Jewish leader. God had other plans for him. One day as Paul was on a mission to Damascus to arrest Jewish converts to Christianity, Paul met Jesus. In that moment his life was changed. Material things he held dear meant nothing to him and the religion he loved so much was changed to faith in Jesus Christ. “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” Philippians 3:7-8. Once Paul met Jesus he couldn’t continue in sin but he lived for Christ.
Christianity is a way of life, not religious rules. We are saved because we have accepted Jesus Christ for salvation and not by rituals or traditions. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9. Sadly, many people who profess faith in Christ are of the opinion that they can continue in their sin and Jesus won’t care. If you’ve truly accepted Christ then your salvation doesn’t depend upon how you behave. Then again, if you’ve truly accepted Christ a change in your attitude and way of living should be evident. Sin should be repugnant to you. I was married to a wonderful man. Ron was a loving and generous man. He wasn’t a Christian and the words he used when his anger flared made me cringe! A few years into our marriage Ron met Christ. What a privilege it was to watch as he allowed Christ to change him. The first big change was in his language. From the first day of his salvation he never again used foul language. Ron began to study God’s word and apply it to his life. His anger mellowed, his language changed, and his love for Christ grew. When a person accepts Christ it shouldn’t be easy to continue in sin, but a joy to live for Christ.
Jesus came into this world to offer the only way of salvation to a lost world. When He met people who were living sinfully He never once said “Go ahead and keep sinning”. When Jesus encountered a Samaritan woman He knew all about her life. Instead of throwing out accusations about her having had five husbands and living with a man she wasn’t married to, Jesus just talked to her. He led her to see her sin but He never said it was okay for her to continue living in sin. She was changed. She was one of the first to recognize Jesus as the Christ and she went and told others. “The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” John 4:28-29. This sinful woman recognized Him as the Christ. She was convicted of her sin but not condemned by Jesus. Another woman who was an adulterer was brought before Jesus for condemnation. Instead, Jesus convicted those who accused her. The accusers wanted her death, but Jesus wanted her to find salvation. “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” John 8:7. We all sin so we cannot condemn others for their sin before we deal with our own. God’s word is the guide, not for us to judge but to lead ourselves and others away from sin. After those who accused the woman left, Jesus asked “…Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more.” John 8:10b-11. Both of these women lived sinful lives but Jesus didn’t let them die in their sin. We aren’t told if they turned from their immoral lifestyles, but Jesus didn’t condone their sin. He doesn’t condone our sin either. Do you call Him Lord? Then go and sin no more.
Today there are many influences that draw us into sin. Most children are sent to public school, and for a Christian that’s a big mistake. Schools have moved away from teaching math and history, to teaching morals…secular, satanic morals. Paul wrote to Timothy, a young man who was facing many challenges as a pastor. “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. The word “science” is translated from the Greek word “gnosis” which simply means “knowledge”. Public schools like to think they teach knowledge, but in fact they pervert the word of God and teach sin instead. The letter to the Romans addresses what happens when God is ignored and lies such, as evolution, are taught. “Professing themselves to be wise they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” Romans 1:22-23. Evolution is the theory of choice by people who don’t know God. This satanic teaching leads to the abominable sin that is gripping our world today. “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Romans 1:24-25. Paul goes on to say that this results in lesbianism, homosexuality, backbiting, haters of God, and other deplorable ways of life. These lifestyles are rampant in our world today. The news is filled with same sex marriage, transgender rights, people who want to choose whatever gender they want, and other abominable perversions. Bruce Jenner thinks he’s a woman, mutilates his body, and makes headlines as if he is a hero. What a sad comment on society. He needs to meet Jesus and stop continuing in sin. None of this is of God. If you were born male, then you’re a male. If you were born a female, then you’re a female. End of story. Now, if you’ve been taught lies and have chosen sin, you still have hope for salvation. Jesus loves you and gave His life for you. You can choose to continue in sin or you can choose to live for Christ. Jesus told the woman taken in adultery “Go and sin no more” and His words are for you too.
Pastors, shepherd your flock. You are the men chosen by God to lead your congregations to a closer walk with Jesus. Are there sinners sitting in the pews of your congregation? Yes. Every person sitting there sins, including you, but don’t allow sin to rule. “He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee, Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” John 21:17.Pastor, feed the lambs and feed the sheep. Feed them the word of God. If you don’t, your flock will wander into more sin and your Sunday services will become nothing more than a watered down, feel good hour designed to fill the collection plate. Lead by example what it means to live for Christ. If you preach the entire word of God you may offend some of your congregation and they may leave. Some would prefer to continue in sin rather than live for Jesus. Perhaps they, like Judas, never really followed Jesus. Pastor, preach God’s word and feed your flock. Paul addressed a problem in Corinth when he advised them to put a man out of the congregation who was deeply entrenched in sin. They followed Paul’s advice and we later find out that the man repented and was restored. We can’t continue in sin and live for Christ. Preach God’s truth.
Sin creates a gulf between the sinner and God. Only the blood of Jesus can bridge that gulf and allow us eternal life. Every day we’re presented with opportunities to sin and we can choose to embrace the sin or follow our Lord. God has given us Scripture as a guide to how we need to live. “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. God’s word is theopneustos, inspired by God…God breathed. Our Bible is the authority in Christian living. Don’t take your theology from television or books. If you’re participating in something that you think might be sin, go to Scripture and search God’s truth. Compare your life to God’s word, then change your life if it doesn’t line up. It isn’t alright with God if you continue in sin. If you’ve truly accepted Christ for salvation, then changes should be evident.
There are blessings in allowing Christ to move you away from sin. As you live closer to Christ you’ll move farther away from sin. Only faith in Jesus Christ brings salvation, but good works done for Him will earn eternal crowns. Everyone will face a judgment, but Christians will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. That’s when you’ll receive rewards for what you did for Christ on this side of Heaven. “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.“ 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. If you’ve chosen to continue in sin then all your works will be for nothing. They’ll burn with fire at the judgment seat of Christ. On the other hand, if you’ve chosen to turn from your sin and live for Christ then there are rewards for your obedience. It may seem unimportant right now, but when you stand before the Creator of the Universe and your works are judged, it will matter.
This life is fleeting. “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:14. No matter how old you are, death is just a heartbeat away. A car accident could take your life or you could be a victim of murder. It could be that the harpazō will happen in the twinkling of an eye and take Christians Home. We cannot know exactly when our life on earth will end but the choices we make here and now are of eternal importance. The first choice is to accept Christ as your Saviour. Then, study God’s word and apply it to your life. There’s coming a time when it will matter.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21. Continue in sin or live for Christ? The choice is yours.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.