Freedom #27: Living God’s Unattainable Standards
Growth in the Christian life and spiritual maturity can only be achieved by walking in the Spirit. That’s the practicality of it. In all our doctrinal studies concerning the Holy Spirit or in our seeking for emotional experiences with Him, there is a danger that we will miss the practical simplicity of walking by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Don’t miss it! Learn these simple, obvious truths of Scripture.
GOD’S STANDARDS ARE HUMANLY UNATTAINABLE BY OUR OWN EFFORT
In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Mathew 5:48 we learn that God’s standard of holiness for us is perfection, even as He is perfectly pure. That standard for every human being is absolutely impossible of ourselves. Hebrews 11:6 states that “Without faith in God, it is impossible to please Him.” That’s why we need the Holy Spirit to live through us. God promises to do that in II Corinthians 6:16.
God not only puts His righteousness to our account, as we learn in II Corinthians 5:21. but by His Holy Spirit living in us, He enables us to live the life of Christ which we could never live in the power of our flesh. No, we won’t live it perfectly until we are in Heaven in our glorified bodies, but even now in this life, we can live this supernatural life as we are surrendered to Christ. His Spirit lives in and through our bodies.
LIFE UNDER THE CONTROL OF OUR SINFUL FLESH NATURE
Galatians 5:16 explains it. “Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” Then in the following verses from verses 17-25 Paul contrasts life in the flesh with life in the Spirit of God. First in verses 19-21 Paul describes life under the control of our fleshly self nature. Read the description of this filthy life in those verses. It concludes in verse 21 with the warning that those whose life are characterized by this life style are not Christians. They will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Read Mark 7:14-23 and you will see that the same list of sins in Galatians 5:19-21 are listed here also. Note, that sin does not come from our environment nor from any external source. It comes from our hearts. Our problem is not our environment. It is not our evil actions. Our problem is our evil heart. To attempt to clean up evil actions without dealing with our evil heart is bound to fail.
Salvation through faith in Christ strikes at our evil hearts and changes them into pure hearts by the power of God. That solves the sin problem. No, we won’t be perfect until we are in Heaven, but a genuine Christian has a pure heart and as a result, he hates sin, especially his own sins.
DON’T DECEIVE YOURSELF
Read I Corinthians 6:9-11 and you will see that same stinking list of sins once again. This is the life style of the unsaved. It describes their thoughts, their conversation and their desires. Now read verses 9-10 once again. Note, it is clearly stated that those whose habitual lives are described this way are not Christians. We are warned not to deceive ourselves. So if your life style is described by these verses, you have not been born again; even though you may have walked forward and prayed for salvation in some evangelistic crusade or church service. If you, in an unguarded moment, slip and fall into some sin described here, and if you are broken hearted before God and confess your action or thought as sin, God has forgiven and cleansed you, as is clearly taught in I John 1:4-10
Christians do sin and when we do, we are crushed with shame and sorrow. We cry to God for forgiveness and He forgives and cleanses us. On the other hand, those who continue in sin and enjoy it are deceiving themselves, if they think they can get away with it because they claim to be saved.
Paul in I Corinthians 6:11, after listing those ugly filthy sins, reminds the believers in Corinth that these sins described them before they were saved, but now that their faith is in Christ, He has cleansed their hearts with His blood.
In Ephesians 5:1-8 Paul lists that same list of sins again and he gives the same warnings once again. Read them again and take warning.
Lost sinners can commit these sins and enjoy their lives to the fullest, but I warn you that if you are a Christian, you will be as miserable in these sins as a cat is in the muck of a pig pen. The pig can wallow in it and enjoy it. He has a pig’s nature; but a cat falling into a pig pen will be miserable until it is cleaned up. So a Christian remains miserable in sin until He has come in brokenness and repentance to God and has confessed his sins to God. When we confess our sins to Him, He forgives and cleanses us and as we grow in God’s Word, our life takes a new direction as we learn to walk in holiness and purity.
As we cease living under the control of our sinful flesh nature and start living under the control of the Holy Spirit, there is a huge change in our lives. Our hearts are purified and from purified hearts surrendered to the indwelling Holy Spirit, comes a new life, described as the Fruit of the Spirit. More about that in the next message.
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