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“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Eph. 4:1-3 ESV

To what have we been called? We are:

· Called to belong to Christ – Rom. 1:6

· Called to be saints – Rom. 1:7

· Called according to his purpose – Rom. 8:28

· Called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord – 1 Co. 1:9

· Called to freedom – Gal. 5:13

· Not called for impurity, but in holiness – 1 Thess. 4:7

· Called to a holy calling – 2 Tim. 1:9

· Called out of darkness into his marvelous light – 1 Peter 2:9

· Called to his own glory and excellence – 2 Peter 1:3

Thus, we are to walk (live), in lifestyle, in daily practice, in a manner (way) worthy (commendable) to that to which we have been called of God.

So, if we do that, we will see ourselves as belonging to Christ, and no longer our own, for we were bought back for God with Jesus’ blood. And, we will see him as Lord (owner-master) of our lives, and us as his servants, here to do his will. We will live our lives on this earth as strangers, set apart (different) from the world, because we are being made into Christ’s likeness. And, we will meet with our Lord daily to hear him speak his words to our hearts, and then we will follow him in obedience to what he says.

We will learn what his purpose is for our lives, and in the power of the Spirit within us, we will walk in that purpose. We will no longer live like we did before we trusted in Christ as Lord of our lives, but we will walk in freedom from slavery to sin, by the Spirit. The works of the flesh will no longer be what rule our hearts and lives, but now we will be Spirit-led. There will be no place in our lives for impurity of any kind. For, we have been called out of darkness into God’s wonderful light (truth, righteousness). So, now we live our lives, in the power of God’s Spirit, for God’s honor and praise.

No Longer Walk

“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.” Eph. 4:17-19 ESV

So many people have a wrong conception of God’s grace to us, and of his salvation from sin he has provided for all who believe on him. God’s grace to us, and the salvation he has provided for us, are not merely forgiveness of sins, freedom from punishment, and the promise of heaven when we die. That is only half the story. That is only half the truth.

His grace and his salvation are given to us that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. They are freedom from slavery (addiction) to sin and from the power Satan once had over us. And, they are freedom to become slaves (bond-servants) of Christ’s righteousness. This is why Jesus died on a cross for our sins, that we might walk in freedom, and no longer as slaves to sin.

So, our new lives in Christ Jesus should not look like our old lives of sin. Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross DAILY and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives, we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), for the sake of Jesus Christ, we will gain eternal life (Lu. 9:23-25).

Truth in Jesus

“But that is not the way you learned Christ! — assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph. 4:20-24 ESV

So, what is this truth in Jesus? What way are we to learn Christ? The truth is that coming to faith in Jesus Christ means we put off our old self, which is corrupt through deceitful desires. We don’t add Jesus on to our old lives so that we have a slightly cleaned up old life. He is to now BE our life!

Another word for this is repentance. Although it literally means to have a change of mind, it is used most often in scripture in the context of leaving one’s life of sin behind, forsaking idols, and turning to follow Jesus Christ with our lives in obedience to his will and purpose for our lives.

Faith in Jesus Christ is not of the flesh, but of the Spirit. It means that we are divinely persuaded as to God’s will for our lives, and of his righteousness and holiness, and of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. We submit to God, we repent of our sins, and we choose to follow the Lord from this moment on. Our focus is not on escaping punishment and rewards in heaven, but our focus is on Jesus Christ and on doing his will.

When we believe with that child-like faith, the Holy Spirit moves us to turn from our sin and to turn to God. He renews our minds in Christ Jesus so that our desire is now for our Lord, and not for the pleasures of this world. And, he gives us a new life in Christ Jesus, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Do we get this? Do we truly comprehend what this means in all practicality in our lives? Or, are these just words?

The message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is a message of freedom from sin, and freedom and empowerment to now live in holiness, purity and righteousness. Any other gospel is a lie! If you hear a gospel that promises you eternal life with God, but does not lead you to the cross, and to death to sin and living to righteousness, then reject it, for it is false, and the hope that it promises is a lie, which is no hope at all, but a very sick joke.

I Love to Tell the Story
Katherine Hankey / William G. Fischer

I love to tell the story
of unseen things above,
of Jesus and his glory,
of Jesus and his love.
I love to tell the story,
because I know 'tis true;
it satisfies my longings
as nothing else can do.

I love to tell the story;
'tis pleasant to repeat
what seems, each time I tell it,
more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story,
for some have never heard
the message of salvation
from God's own holy Word.

I love to tell the story,
for those who know it best
seem hungering and thirsting
to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory,
I sing the new, new song,
'twill be the old, old story
that I have loved so long.

I love to tell the story,
'twill be my theme in glory,
to tell the old, old story
of Jesus and his love.

Monday, January 22, 2018, 4:05 p.m. – Thank you, Jesus, that because of your grace, we can truly be free from addiction to sin and walk in freedom!