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The Debt of Love

As followers of Jesus Christ, to love or to not love others is not an option that is on the table. We are obligated to love others with God’s love, because he, who is love, lives within us, and because he, who is love, loved us enough to die for us so that we might be forgiven our sins and have eternal life with God. If God forgave us such an enormous debt, and he loved us that much to die for us, how can we, who are flesh, not love others?

Love Each Other

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Rom. 13:8-10 ESV

So, what is love? The kind of love being spoken about here is God-like love, which prefers what God prefers, which is holiness, righteousness, purity, honesty, and faithfulness, and the like. So, if we tell our spouse that we love him (or her), and then we commit adultery against or steal from him (or her), and then we lust after others, too, we are liars, for this is not love. This is hate, which is the opposite of love. For, love does no wrong to others.

Also, if we say we love God, but we practice hating others, which is the opposite of love, and which does harm to them, then we don’t really know or love God. Or, if we are sinning against God in any way, as a matter of course, in lifestyle, the Bible also says we do not love God. It doesn’t mean we will never sin, but that sin should not be what is ruling our lives to where we habitually sin in the same ways without repentance, and without conscience, especially.

Also, if we are the recipients of hate, i.e. of adultery, lies, deception, theft, rape, the murdering of loved ones, or any other crime committed against us, the Bible teaches we must forgive even our enemies, but not just forgive them, but love them in return, by praying for them and doing good to them.

Wake Up!

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. Rom. 13:11 ESV

Who is being addressed here? Who needs to wake up? This is speaking to believers in Jesus Christ. It is speaking to those who have been lulled to sleep by lies, deception (including self-deception), sinful practices, and false teaching, etc. Christians need to wake up from their slumber (spiritual stagnation and laziness). They need to get their minds out of the gutter, and their eyes off of what is wasteful, what hinders their walks of faith, and what is spiritually destructive and counterproductive, i.e. what is of this world.

The reason? Their salvation is nearer to them now than when they first believed. In other words, when we believe in Jesus Christ, with God-given faith, which is divinely persuaded as to the necessity of repentance and obedience to Christ, we die with Christ to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life. But, this is not the end all. This is just the beginning. We are saved at that point, but we are being saved (a process), and we will be saved when Christ returns. Our relationship with Jesus Christ will not be consummated until he returns to take us home to be with him.

I can tell you that “Once Saved Always Saved,” as some people teach it, is not the truth. We don’t just pray some words after someone else whereby we are then congratulated that we are now part of the family of God and that heaven is guaranteed us, and that it can’t be taken away from us, no matter what. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. The word “faith” means to be divinely persuaded. True faith in Christ results in death to sin and living to righteousness. If we, after we say we believe, continue to make sin our practice, and we walk (in lifestyle) according to the flesh, and not according to the Spirit, we don’t have eternal life with God.

Night and Day

The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Rom. 13:12-14 ESV

If we are truly in Christ Jesus, by genuine faith in him, and we have died to sin, and we have been born anew of the Spirit of God, the old has gone, and the new has come. The old way of walking in the darkness, in sin, has been done away with, and the new way of walking according to the Spirit, in the truth and in righteousness, is now here. It is where we are or should be.

Thus, we should no longer be those who live in sin, who make sin our practice or who are addicted to sinful behaviors. We should no longer be walking in darkness, but we should be walking in the light of God’s love and grace. We should be saying “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly (fleshly) passions (lusts), and we should be living self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return. We should be holy as God is holy, i.e. living separate (unlike, different) from the world of sin, because we are being made to be like Christ in true righteousness and holiness.

This is what it means to be born again. We aren’t saved merely so we can be forgiven our sins, escape the punishment for our sin, and have the hope of eternal life with God in heaven when we leave this earth. We are saved out of slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin so that we might live to Christ’s righteousness, i.e. that we might walk in victory over darkness and live in the light of truth.

We should make no provision for the flesh. This means we don’t provide a way for it to take place. We don’t watch TV shows or movies or visit sites on the internet that have sensuality, sexual immorality or sexual perversion, which might draw us into sinful thoughts and behaviors. We know our weaknesses, and we don’t play with fire. We don’t take into our minds and eyes and ears, on purpose, what is immoral, lewd, sexually suggestive, alluring, tempting, etc., and then act surprised when we give in.

I know I am focusing on one specific sin area here, but this passage of scripture is lending itself to focus that direction, but this does include all sins and areas where we are weak and easily tempted. And, if we are not able to fight off the temptation, then we should consider more drastic measures, such as removing TV, the internet or private internet access from our lives, or whatever else might be a hindrance to us living in purity, faithfulness and honesty. The Bible talks about cutting off what leads us into sin and throwing off what hinders our walks of faith, so this CAN BE DONE!

But, this is not a matter of just putting off sinful practices. We have to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. In the power and working of God’s Spirit living within us we not only put off lying, cheating, adultery, hate, lust, slander, and the like, but we put on telling the truth, faithfulness, giving, love, praise, encouragement, and the like. But, this only happens because we have been born again and we are empowered of the Spirit to now walk in holiness and no longer in wickedness, and so our Lord gives us all we need to walk in his love and no longer according to the desires of our flesh.

Only through the power of the cross in our lives in putting sin to death in our lives and giving us new lives in Christ Jesus, born from above, and empowered of the Spirit of God in renewal of mind and heart is this possible. But, it is only possible, too, by us yielding our lives over to Christ and then by us walking in obedience to his Word in putting off the flesh and yielding to the Spirit. We can’t do this in our flesh, in other words. Only via Jesus’ death and resurrection can the chains of sin be removed from our lives and us be able to walk in freedom from sin and to Christ’s holiness.

Power of The Cross
Shelly Johnson

Once in darkness now in light
Once blind now you see
Once a sinner now a saint
Once bound now free.

That's the power of the cross
See the chains fall

Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 7:44 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus!

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