Archive for February, 2018

TRUTH: Be Very Careful How You Live

February 28, 2018

Let’s face it, people like to do their own thing. Who likes to be told what to do, how to do it and when to do it? None of us. If we were truthful, we would admit that we all are rebels; therefore, we are rebellious. We see proof of our rebellion in the garden and throughout man’s history. Whether from God, from parents, from instituted authorities, we are rebellious. TRUTH: Be Very Careful How You Live

While it is true that we are rebellious, rebelling agains England led to the formation of this country. Rebelling against slavery led to the freedom of many slaves. Rebellion against flawed and unjust authorities have led to liberations throughout time, but Jehovah, is not flawed nor is He unjust. Rebellion against Him does not lead to freedom, but deeper bondage. Let’s see the danger Hebrews 3:7-9 says,

So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did.

Being rebellious or trying God brings about God’s discipline and judgement. In verse 9, God said, “forty years they saw what I did” Since we know that, let’s live the TRUTH: Be Very Careful How You Live

In Ephesians 5, this is what Paul is continuing to say for the person who has surrendered his/her life to Christ as Lord and Savior. TRUTH: Be Very Careful How You Live

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul continues his direction on how to live after giving us much doctrine, what to do, in the earlier portions of this text. God is committed to telling us what, telling us how, showing us how, through Jesus, doing it with us, through the Holy Spirit. Because we have moved from darkness to light and that our entire life is seen by God, Paul is telling us TRUTH: Be Very Careful How You Live

What are the ways we are to live?

  • be wise not unwise – i.e. this means have healthy fear or respect of God for The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
  • make the most of every opportunity because the days are evil – take advantage of every opportunity to love, live and speak on behalf of Jesus
  • Understand what the Lord’s will is and do not be foolish – we know that we know that we can test and approve what God’s will is by renewing our minds with the Word of God which transforms us.
  • Do not get drunk on wine – God’s concern for us is to live the right way. Being drunk on wine or anything that is contrary to the will and way of God will lead us away from Him.
  • Rather than being drunk on wine, be drunk or filled with the Holy Spirit who is given to lead, guide and direct the believers to oneness with God.
  • Worship God through psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, songs from your heart and thanksgiving.

That is the TRUTH: Be Very Careful How You Live. In Romans 6, Paul tells us 

16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says,”Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” Again, that is the TRUTH: Be Very Careful How You Live.

TRUTH: Living in Light not Darkness

February 26, 2018

In the post TRUTH: Who’s Your Potna (Partner), I echoed Paul’s direction on how to live the new life in Christ. Paul’s admonition about who we associate is profound and a proclamation from God about how we should live and navigate this life.

Today, we see Paul making further direction on how to live as he contrasts our lives before Christ and our lives since surrendering unto Jesus as Lord and Savior. Paul conveys that it is our duty to live life in a manner that is reflective of Jesus who is the light of the world. Jesus said, ““I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” In contrast, sin or a life of sin is considered darkness. It is those who do not have the light, Christ. Satan is consider he  who leads the efforts of sin i.e. darkness. TRUTH: Living in Light not Darkness.

Ephesians 5

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
    rise from the dead,
    and Christ will shine on you.”

John 3:19 tells us “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” This is God’s commentary about the nature of man. Man prefers, no loves, darkness instead of light. How did God make that assessment? He looked at their behaviors. What we do tells what we believe or feel especially over time. As a follower of Christ who has a new life, Paul is telling the Ephesians and us the TRUTH: Living in Light not Darkness.
In verse 8, Paul points to their former way of life, you were once darkness, and their new way of life, “but now you are light in the Lord.” Whether NIV, NASB, NJKV, we are only consider light by being in the Lord.” In conveys a position. The position is one is either in Christ or not. Those who are not are in the dark. They cannot see or submit to the things of God. Listen to what Paul told the Corinthians, “13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.” The only way to move from darkness to light is through Jesus Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is inChrist, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

2 Corinthians 5:17 As a consequence, this is why Paul is telling the Ephesians how to live their lives as children of light. TRUTH: Living in Light not Darkness.
TRUTH: Living in Light not Darkness means that we have nothing to do with darkness. We are to expose darkness. We are not to even mention or discuss what those who practice darkness do. God’s desire is to use us as light to expose the darkness and to use us to lead others out of darkness.
Father, on behalf of all your saints, I ask you that this week will be written down in eternity. This week of February 26, 2018, Father, I ask that you increase your kingdom by everyone who is presently in the light. Use us to bring at least one person out of the darkness and into the light. By faith in your and trust in your redemptive plan, I know that you desire to use us reconcile man unto you. Father, you have given us the ministry of reconciliation. In the name of Jesus, I ask that you do your will in and through us. I ask that you build your kingdom in and through us. I trust that it is already done and that I am just responding to fulfill what you have already decreed and done. Amen.

TRUTH: Who’s Your Potna (Partner)

February 15, 2018

Dictionary.com defines partner as a person who shares or is associated with another in some action or endeavor; sharer; associate. In the vernacular, partner has often been stated at “potna”. It usually denotes a person with whom you associate with and care for in some degree but certainly more than a general sense. We know that words have multiple means, but for the purpose of this post, we will limit partner to those parameters . TRUTH: Who’s Your Potna (Partner)

When I was in elementary school, the cafeteria had a slogan saying “You are what you eat.” My mom related that to who you hang around, relate to or associate with. She said you will either become like them or they will become like you. The importance of who one surrounds himself/herself is stressed in schools all the time. As we know, we learn a great deal about socialization in school as a child. Some learn the valuable lesson of associating themselves with like-minded people. 1 Corinthians 15:33 expresses it like this – “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.Proverbs 22:24-25 tells us “24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, 25 or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.” TRUTH: Who’s Your Potna (Partner)

In Ephesians, the Apostle Paul was providing instructions on how to live the new life for those who had trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Ephesians 5

For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord.

Whether from a parent, a teacher, or the bible, the commentary about a “Potna” is the same – do not become an associate, an endeavorer, a sharer, a partaker or anything in close relationship with people who do not regard the triune God as supreme. If the person rejects Jesus, they are rejecting you. Now, Christ is clear that this admonition does not include isolating yourself. For we know He interacted with sinners as a means to share the truth of God with them. Yet, it was not His group with whom He called friends or shared His purpose and plan for being. He reserved that for those who truly believed. The one who would betray Him was allowed in that circle, so God’s purpose, plan and prophecy would be fulfilled. TRUTH: Who’s Your Potna (Partner)

If you call yourself a believer, God is calling you to choose wisely with whom you align yourself with. Paul said, “Let no one deceive you with empty words”. There must be evidence of the lordship of Christ in the person’s life in order for you to be obedient to this command. Make an assessment and live the TRUTH: Who’s Your Potna (Partner)

TRUTH: Improper Behavior = No Inheritance

February 13, 2018

In regards to an inheritance, Billionaire Warren Buffett has been quoted as saying that the inheritance should be “enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.” Wealthy parents have concern over whether their grandchildren or children will make sound decisions or whether they can be trusted with huge sums of money. Since I don’t from a financially or materially rich family, I do not have to worry about that, but I do know that wealthy grandparents and parents often attach conditions for which a child must comply in order to receive their inheritance. One popular vehicle to accomplish that is a trust. In a trust, making sound financial decisions are put in the hands of someone else called the trustee. The trustee ensures that the child holds to the conditions. TRUTH: Improper Behavior = No Inheritance

In spiritual terms, the Apostle Paul outlines how God assesses our behavior to determine whether we will receive a spiritual inheritance. In Ephesians 5, Paul continues to express how a true follower of Christ lives as opposed to those who are not true followers. One’s behavior reveals whether one is a true follower of Christ, a true child of God; thus, whether the inheritance will be given.

Ephesians 5

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.

While behavior appears to be the only condition that one will receive a spiritual inheritance, I want to assure you that the Word of God maintains that a person is justified by faith apart from the works or by solely obeying commands. TRUTH: Improper Behavior = No Inheritance

In the context of text, Paul has established and is presenting that a new man or new woman results out of being born again. That is why the term is used. He was explaining to the Ephesians the changes of heart and mind that occur and the resulting changes in behavior that follow. We all would agree that none of us is perfect; however, we also would agree that if we continue in behaviors after promising to stop or curtail them that we lie or deceive ourselves. That is why he calls for them to “let no one deceive you with empty words”  Paul was quite clear that with no change of heart, mind and actions that the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient. TRUTH: Improper Behavior = No Inheritance

TRUTH: Improper Behavior = No Inheritance. The person who professes to follow Christ and does not imitate Christ cannot partake in the inheritance of eternal life. In Matthew 16:24, Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” In Ephesians 1, Paul had established how believers obtain their inheritance. He said, “13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” This points to the fact that the true believer in Christ is indwelt by the Holy Spirit who is a pledge of our inheritance by convicting us concerning sin, and righteousness and judgment. (John 16:8)

As such, it is impossible for the true follower of Christ to continue on in the same sin and have been saved, redeemed, regenerated, restored, etc. Have you assessed your level of obedience? Have you checked to see if you regard God’s call to holiness as real in your life?  TRUTH: Improper Behavior = No Inheritance. 

TRUTH: Improper Behaviors

February 12, 2018

As a little boy, my mom regularly told me that when I go out into this world that I represented her. She told me to make sure that I represented her well and according to how she raised me. Parents all over the world have identified what is proper and improper behaviors for their children. Businesses are similar. Most businesses have core values that they espouse and demand of their employees. Today’s post is of similar ilk regarding the TRUTH: Improper Behaviors.

In Ephesians 4, Paul began telling us the TRUTH: How to Put on Your New Self. In Ephesians 5, he extends the types of behaviors that are befitting and proper for the person who claim to have surrendered their will and lives to follow Jesus Christ as the example. Listen to what Paul says in the first few verse of chapter 5.

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

First, there is the call to follow God’s example, Jesus Christ, by walking in the way of love by sacrificing your life to God. Jesus, like the rest of us, had a choice. He could have chosen to carry and die on the cross, or He could have balked at that notion of dying on the cross. If He had, man would not have any means to be forgiven of his sin and was perpetually doomed to face the wrath of God.

Since Christ did offer Himself as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God, we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, through Him. For those who surrender their live to Jesus in exchange for that forgiveness and eternal life with God, we are to follow Jesus’ example by living in obedience to God the Father’s expectations just as we do for our earthly parents. We need to know and obey the Word about the TRUTH: Improper Behaviors.

The text tells us “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” If we were to take those three in totality, we would be talking for days. Let’s look at the behaviors God expects of us regarding sex. The Word tells us there must not be a hint of sexual immorality – that is for married or unmarried people. For married persons, that would be adultery. For unmarried people, sex would be termed fornication. In either case, God has boundaries for us all.

The TRUTH: Improper Behaviors refers to us all. Once again here, sex is the issue. God says there must not be a hint. The NASB and NKJV says that sexual impurity must not even be named among you. I favor how the NIV says it by hint. As it causes me to remember Matthew 5:28 in which Jesus says, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Jesus said the hint here is what we have thought is a sin. We know that a thought produces an action. James 1:14-15 tells us that “14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” That death there is sin. Jesus came that we might life and life more abundantly; therefore, He tells us to avoid sin.

The TRUTH: Improper Behaviors is that followers of Jesus should not engage in behaviors that bring death i.e. sinful thoughts or actions. It is extremely hard to check our thoughts, but that is the level of expectation by God. He expects our thoughts to be pure and holy for He is holy. Peter says it for us – 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” We are called to follow Jesus’ example. Jesus was holy, so we too must be holy. 

David, who like us had many flaws, shows us the way to clearing our thoughts. First in Psalm 51, He asks God to “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me…13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.” In Psalm 119, David also poses the question “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word… 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

Addressing our hearts and our minds is the key to live the TRUTH about Improper Behaviors. 

TRUTH: How to Walk: In the Way of Love

February 8, 2018

In the post TRUTH: How to Put on Your New Self II, we listed the attributes that were reflective of the new self from Ephesians 4. They were the things that we were to do or not do. Now, as we transition to the next portion of text in Ephesians 5, we see Paul transitions from the “what” to the “be” to reveal the TRUTH: How to Walk: In the Way of Love

Ephesians 5

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

We are called to follow God’s example. Who or what was God’s example? In talking the the Father, Jesus said, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” John 17:18 In Matthew 16:24, Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Now Peter, one of the 12, said, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 TRUTH: How to Walk: In the Way of Love

We see the Father, the Son and one of the 12 agree that Jesus Christ is God’s example. Consequently, as followers of Christ, we are to imitate or follow Christ’s example. This is what Paul is reiterating. Remember, walk regards the way we live our lives. Paul tells the Ephesians to “walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Our lives, out of reverence and allegiance to Christ, should first be characterized by love.  This love is not merely an emotional attachment, but it is agapē which is affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love. Moreover, it is a love that results in action on behalf of the object of the love which should be mankind. TRUTH: How to Walk: In the Way of Love

We see that lived out through Jesus’ example. Paul makes sure to point this out to us – “just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Love gives to the recipient at the giver’s expense. Jesus game himself up for us to God. It was His love for God that allowed Him to humble Himself to become incarnate, man, and to die on the cross for our sins. Who are we willing to die to ourselves for? Are we willing to die for another out of our love for God. Jesus did not regret loving Judas, Peter or any other because His ultimate purpose in giving of Himself was out of His love for God. That’s the TRUTH: How to Walk: In the Way of Love.

If you find yourself getting angry, regretting and/or feeling foolish for loving, perhaps you did not love out of your love for God for the welfare of that person alone. This could true for a spouse, a child, a parent, a sibling, a friend or a stranger. We are called to be sacrificing and benevolent to others out of our love for God. That reveals the TRUTH: How to Walk: In the Way of Love

TRUTH: The True Reveal

February 6, 2018

Whether Love it or List it, the Property Brothers, Fixer Upper, or Extreme Makeover, the element of the show that is the climax is the reveal of the changes that makes their home new. A reveal is an unveiling, uncovering, or a disclosing of what was previously unknown.

In life, there are things that are ever before us; yet, we do not see them many times. rabbit-duck-illusion-psychologyOften, it takes someone to reveal it to us before we can see it. For example, most of us have seen the optical illusion pictures such as the rabbit or duck. Likewise, seeing the one true and triune God is often a prime example of how one can be “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
10 Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull
    and close their eyes. (Isaiah 6) There seems to be a need for the TRUTH: The True Reveal.

This thought has been on a repeated loop in my mind since I heard and read the passage below.

Luke 10:21-22

21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

22 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

The TRUTH: The True Reveal surfaces in that passage. The Greek word for reveal is apokalyptō (ä-po-kä-lü’p-tō) which means

  1. to uncover, lay open what has been veiled or covered up
    a. disclose, make bare

  2. to make known, make manifest, disclose what before was unknown

Jesus says that He, through the Father, is responsible for revealing the Father to people. In effect, Jesus says that it is He that uncovers, lays open, makes known or discloses what was previously unknown. It is our responsibility to share Jesus with people, but their response is between the triune God and them.

The TRUTH: The True Reveal also surfaces when we manifest the character of Christ in the lives and interactions with our neighbor like the Samaritan. God has chosen to reconcile man to Himself through His church who should proclaim Christ’s sacrificial life for those who should believe. Where are you? Do you see Christ as King, Savior and Lord? If you do not, ask Jesus to reveal the Father to you, so you can experience the TRUTH: The True Reveal.

TRUST: Putting on Our New Self: Offerings and Sacrifices

February 2, 2018

In the post TRUTH: How to Put on Your New Self II, we listed the attributes that were reflective of the new self from Ephesians 4. They were the things that we were to do or not do. We also learned that participation in the ministry of reconciliation is the TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian.

Today, we move into Ephesians 5 where Paul continues to expound upon the instructions for Christian living.

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Remember Jesus’ Words to his disciples. He said, ““Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23  Here, Paul picks up on that mandate as well as to tie the new self or new man with imitating Christ. After all, the word Christian means a follower of Christ; to be Christ like or like Christ. Paul is clear in the imperative – Follow God’s example. TRUST: Putting on Our New Self: Offerings and Sacrifices 

Paul equates Jesus as God and rightly so. We are told to walk in the way of love. Then Paul qualifies what the way of love really means – just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. To walk means to live like. The way of love means to give yourself up as an offering and sacrifice to God. Ultimately, we are not doing anything for anyone else other than God. Our allegiance, our focus, our commitment must be to God and God alone. TRUST: Putting on Our New Self: Offerings and Sacrifices 

This explains how Jesus could know Judas would betray Him, Peter would deny Him and the other disciples would distance themselves from Him; yet, He remained resolute in His commitment to die on the cross for the redemption of those whom God had given Him. TRUST: Putting on Our New Self: Offerings and Sacrifices 

How many times have you gotten mad at someone because they did not appreciate your sacrifice? Our offering and/or sacrifice to someone should always be out of our commitment to God as we imitate Jesus. Remember the post, TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian. Ephesians 4:23-24 describes the new life as “23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” We learn from Peter “15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16

TRUST: Putting on Our New Self: Offerings and Sacrifices calls for us to follow God’s example which was to love us and give himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Will you do the same for God today?

TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian

February 1, 2018

From birth to 17, I grew up unchurched. I only visited a church when I went to my grandmother’s house and that not often as she lived almost three hours away. My knowledge and understanding of biblical matters or of the Christian lifestyle was informed and shaped by what I heard and what I saw in those who claimed to be Christians.

Our behavior as followers of Christ is paramount to the reconciliation of those who have yet to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It through Christ that man is reconciled God being forgiven and cleansed of his (man) sins. It is through man that God chose to make this life known. When we do not live a life worthy of our calling, we cause others to be dissuaded from surrendering to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Holiness, being distinct and set apart, is absolutely paramount for those who claim to be followers of Jesus. It is also the TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian

We have been in Ephesians and there is where we will stay to make that point obvious. In Ephesians 4, Paul begins to tell the believers in Ephesus some attitudes and conducts to put off and some to put on. Listen to the rationale:

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

I have spent the last few posts talking about putting on the new self and taking off the old self. In verses 23 and 24, Paul makes it real clear about the TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian. We have heard that salvation is free. I do not agree with that. While not in the same degree but in the same manner, salvation costs us the same thing it cost Jesus to provide it – our lives. As a follower of Jesus, we forfeit our “right” to live how we want to live. Paul said it poignantly in Galatians 2:20 where he said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Translation, since I gave my life to Jesus, I have to live how He says for me to live not on my own accord.

This same Paul is making this point in Ephesians 4:22-23 – the TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian. We have to be made new in the attitudes of our minds. Then, we have to put on the new self which he explains from the rest of the chapter through the end of chapter six. Nevertheless, we have clarity for the TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian at the end of verse 24. We were “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” While it is clear throughout the gospels and the epistles that true righteousness can only be attained through Jesus, it does not absolve us of making every effort to live righteously. That is to have integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting. On the other hand, holiness is piety towards God, fidelity in observing the obligations of piety, holiness i.e. being distinct and separate. If a believers looks like an unbeliever, what is the point? What is the difference?

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” “(1 Corinthians 1)

Jesus’s sacrifice, the salvation of others and our participation in that process is at stake. That is the TRUTH: The Why of the Dos and Don’ts of Being a Christian, so when we live how we want to live, that is what we desecrate. Now, will you consider the impact of how you live as a believer? Remember, as it was with me, someone’s knowledge and understanding of biblical matters or of the Christian lifestyle is being informed and shaped by what they hear and what they see in you.