Living Life in Jesus
By Benjamin H. Liles
I know I have probably said this before, but it bears repeating again: Jesus Christ went to the cross to redeem His people from a life of sin and death. To return to living that way after Jesus says, "Go and sin no more" (John 5:14, John 8:11) is like a dog returning to its own vomit (see Proverbs 26:11). John, the disciple Jesus Christ loved, wrote, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not from the Father but from the world. The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God remains forever" (1 John 2:15-17, Berean Study).
So, why do I repeat this same thing from a different article I wrote some time back? As a follower and disciple of the Lord Jesus myself, to remain entrenched in sin when He's forgiven me that debt is akin to seeing prison doors open but refusing to leave the jail cell. Why do we live our lives in such a manner? Furthermore, it's as if we say as a blood bought people there is no power, no miracle in redemption.
It is my belief we do those things because either we don't want to see a God who forgives us our debts so that we have to forgive others their debts (see the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13, specifically verse 12). It is also because of the fact we do not acquaint ourselves with God's Word, the Bible, or have any real knowledge of Him and His ways. God Himself said, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Job 36:12; Proverbs 5:23; Proverbs 10:21; Hosea 4:6).
While those verses actually speak of the condition of Israel, they also can be said about the bride of Christ, the Church. Now normally I wouldn't agree, ever, that Old Testament writings pertain anything to the Church of Jesus Christ, because really and truly there's no mention of the Church at all within those pages. Why have I done so here? Jesus said this, "But I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock, one shepherd" (John 10:16, Holman Christian Standard).
We ought to, as followers of Jesus Christ, put off those things of this world -- things that lead us away in the body, the eyes and from life -- so we may have life and to the fullest that is found within Jesus. We must devote ourselves to Him and His word through both the apostles of the New Testament as well as the prophets and writings of the Old Testament. Both portions of the Bible describe in detail why we have a need for a Savior. It is so that we have and live a transformed life.
But if we immerse ourselves less in Christ and more in things of this world, say the patterns of this world such as religion, television, and lifestyles, we are not showing the fruit of His Spirit which are rightfully ours if we say and claim we belong to Him. Paul says that by the Spirit of God we can have "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. There is no law with these" (Galatians 5:22-23). The truth is by advocating the things of the world we entreat ourselves back to the pattern and power of this world than in and through the blood of Jesus which bought us from sin and death to life and righteousness in and with God.
To conclude this then we can no more work for our salvation by any means than we can ask the Lord Jesus to forgive us if we refuse Him the right to change us from the inside out. Why did the Prodigal Son go home? It was to be cleaned up, to live in the presence of the father once more, and to do those things he knew the father wanted him to (see Luke 15). When we come to ourselves and seeing sin as it is, sinful, we can then have a faith that Jesus died for us while we were yet at war with Him. He purchased us, while enemies of His, so that God's wrath would no longer abide on us. That amazing love, that grace of God is the gift of life, His righteousness given to us so we may experience life in and with Him. God bless you all and may this encourage you to find joy and peace with Him, the Lord Jesus Christ, Savior and Messiah of all. I pray this over you. Amen.