Sunday, November 27, 2011

Are Americans Confused?

The last time I read a poll about Americans and Christianity, Americans were polled to be 80% Christian. I am sure that is significantly less today; however, there are still many that would consider themselves to be Christians. The reality is, many consider themselves Christians because their parents were and that’s how they grew up; I even had one person tell me after I asked him how long he’s been a Christian say, “I was born that way.” I am not trying to criticize people with this mind set, because the fact is, the devil has done a good job of deceiving; after all, that is what he does. The devil is so crafty that he can manipulate people in to using the term Christianity, and even the name of Jesus and still create the stumbling blocks necessary to keep you from being saved. By that I mean, the same people that will consider themselves Christian probably have heard the bad news of sin and hell; and they have definitely heard the Good News of Jesus dying for their sin (even if they don’t understand it completely); but the major problem is, most don’t really know what God’s Word says about the “evidence” that you are truly saved. If Satan can give you a false sense of “eternal security” he still wins. Whether you live like the worst wretch in the world, or if you live with a confused belief of Salvation, Satan wins. Both groups of people will die in their sin.

Case in point, a friend of mine was out on a “meals on wheels” outreach with a church for Thanksgiving. The person he was partnered up with had been a member of that church for over 30 years. As they drove around, my friend started talking to him about Jesus, and how he’d recently been saved, and how he now lives for Jesus and loves to share the Gospel. In my friend’s words, “he looked at me like I had three eyes and couldn’t change the subject fast enough.”

A different friend (yes, I have two) posted a link to an amazing blog post on his Facebook page and I wanted to share it here. Of all the Truth Americans need to hear from God’s Word, I think this is the most important:

Question: "If I am saved and all of my sins are forgiven, why not continue to sin?"

Answer: The apostle Paul answered a very similar question in Romans 6:1-2,

Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2  By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

The idea that a person could “trust in Jesus Christ” for salvation and then go on living just as he/she lived before, is absolutely foreign to the Bible. Believers in Christ are new creations

2Corinthians 5:17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

The Holy Spirit changes us from producing the acts of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) to producing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The Christian life is a changed life because the Christian is changed.

Galatians 5:19-23 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

What differentiates Christianity from every other religion is that Christianity is based on what God has done for us through Jesus Christ—divine accomplishment. Every other world religion is based on what we must do to earn God's favor and forgiveness—human achievement. Every other religion teaches that we must do certain things and stop doing certain other things in order to earn God's love and mercy. Christianity, faith in Christ, teaches that we do certain things and stop doing certain things because of what Christ has done for us.

How could anyone, having been delivered from sin's penalty, eternity in hell, go back to living the same life that had him on the path to hell in the first place? How could anyone, having been cleansed from the defilement of sin, desire to go back to the same cesspool of depravity? How could anyone, knowing what Jesus Christ did on our behalf, go on living as if He were not important? How could anyone, realizing how much Christ suffered for our sins, continue sinning as if those sufferings were meaningless?

Romans 6:11-15 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13  Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!

For the truly converted, then, continuing to live sinfully is not an option. Because our conversion resulted in a completely new nature, our desire is to no longer live in sin. Yes, we still sin, but instead of wallowing in it as we once did, we now hate it and wish to be delivered from it. The idea of “taking advantage” of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf by continuing to live sinfully is unthinkable. If a person believes himself to be a Christian and still desires to live the old, sinful life, he has reason to doubt his salvation.

2Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

The take away from this is simply, we need to agree with God about sin; what sin is and what the penalty of sin is. When we do that we will surrender our life to Him, we will turn away from sin, and trust in Jesus Christ alone to save us.

Ephesians 5:15-21  Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

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