Sometimes I am utterly astounded by the lack of discipline of today’s so called “Christians.” I use the term “Christians” loosely because some people love to call themselves Christians, yet I have trouble finding anything that even remotely resembles “Christ” in them.
Many Christians today are getting soft on Biblical principles. Some have sex with random people each weekend (and have no intentions of marrying them). Some get a divorce when they get “bored” with their spouse. Some curse, lie, cheat, steal, and everything else, all while saying in the next breath how they are such great “Christians.”
Christianity to most people today means you say a simple prayer to “accept Jesus,” possibly pop into a church on Sundays, and that’s it. They are free to do whatever their mind or heart desires the other 6 days, and they are guaranteed heaven. After all, they are “covered with the blood of Jesus,” so how could they ever do wrong? How could God ever condemn them?
Don’t get me wrong. No one is perfect, and Christianity doesn’t imply perfection. I’m a sinner saved by God’s grace alone. But accepting Christ does imply a commitment to Him. To be a Christian means to follow Christ. Jesus said that if we love Him, we’ll keep His commandments. Accepting Christ means allowing Him to take over so we can become LIKE Christ. It implies a total dedication to God’s will, and sin certainly has no place near God.
We may slip in sin, but we pick ourselves back up. We certainly don’t remain in habitual sin, and that is the problem with many Christians today. Being a “Christian sinner” is an oxymoron, because Christians are called to leave habitual sin and turn to Christ. Saying you are a “Christian sinner” is the equivalent of saying your are wealthy bum.
The Apostle Paul warns of using grace as a license to sin:
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?…Romans 6:1
In the older days, Christianity meant serious compliance with God’s will–many times resulting in great sacrifices (many times even to death!). It meant casting off sin and making a commitment to follow Christ (for better or for worse). It was relatively easy to spot a Christian by their actions and deeds. Their Christian fruit was easily recognized, and there was just something “different” about them when compared to the world. Today that meaning has apparently changed for many “so-called Christians,” and that is sad.
Again, we are all going to battle sin in the flesh, but no Christian should take up residence with sin and enjoy its pleasures. We are to flee from sin.
Jesus Did Not Come to Make Your Life Easier So That You Can Indulge in Sin
The most absurd part of all of this is that people use Jesus as a crutch to sin. I often hear Christians defend obvious sinful actions by abusing Jesus’ work on the cross. It is like the “blood of Jesus” is the new “sin all you want” coupon.
But unfortunately, this could not be further from the truth. Jesus never came to make your life easier, friends. Nor did He come so that you may enjoy the sinful pleasure of this world.
I know that must seem like a shocking revelation to some, but it is true nonetheless. Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33)..”
Jesus came to save you from your sin. But you must repent and trust Christ as your savior.
Sanctification of the Holy Spirit
When you truly get saved, the Holy Spirit will take up residence in your body. The work of the Holy Spirit is to mold you into the image of Jesus Christ, and to do that, it’s going to take some work (believe me!).
When you hire a physical trainer, they don’t come to let you sit on the couch and eat potato chips. They make your life HARDER. They stack on more weights. They demand you work out for longer. Why? No pain no gain, right? If the body doesn’t go through a physical exercise that pushes its limits, it cannot improve.
In the same way, the Holy Spirit will indwell in you and make your spiritual life HARDER. Why? No pain, no gain! His job is to make you spiritually fit for the coming kingdom of God. He will begin to show you how serious sin is. He will begin a work in you to lead you to obedience and holy living.
Jesus fully acknowledges that you will still have it hard when you follow him, as all throughout the New Testament He clearly says multiple times, “You will be hated by men for my name’s sake,” and “You will be persecuted…” I love what Dr. Adrian Roger’s said: “Jesus didn’t come to get you out of trouble, He came to get into trouble with you.”
Ouch! That doesn’t seem like much fun to me, and as we can see from history that Jesus wasn’t exaggerating one bit. The early apostles suffered terrible deaths (some were killed by stoning, some were reportedly crucified, some beheaded, and worse). So Jesus certainly didn’t come to ensure his followers were pampered with the finest luxuries. That doesn’t come until AFTER the end of this age.
Not only that, but nowhere does Jesus “lighten the spiritual burden.” so to speak. Never does he say to sin freely since we now have his “blood on us.” That’s an abuse of God’s precious grace.
Instead, he tells us to pray to God asking Him to deliver us from temptation. He warns us against following the fleeting pleasures of sin. He says to repent of our sins (which means to turn from a sinful lifestyle to faith in Christ). He says that those who do the will of His Father will inherit the kingdom of God. What is the will of the Father? To repent and trust Christ as your savior.
Why Did Jesus Make Life So Much Harder? Why the Extra Effort?
The Mosaic law was given to the Israelites to help prepare them spiritually for what was coming to be in God’s Holy Plan. It was a standard that couldn’t save them from their sins, but it did define sin and revealed it in them. But the Mosaic law itself mostly dealt with the “outward” signs of sin. It dealt with murder, adultery, and so forth once they had been committed externally.
The Israelites did not seem to understand that those outward manifestations of sin were simply the result of an inward problem. So while they sometimes followed the letter of the law outwardly, inwardly they neglected to follow the “spirit” of the law. They simply “didn’t get it.”
Jesus, however, fully realized that the problem with sin is that it never comes from the outside in, but only from the inside out. It originates in the heart and can later manifest physically outside of the body. But the start of sin is always in the heart (or mind) first, and it then spreads like a cancer until it affects not only you, but others as well.
A person isn’t a murderer because they murder. They murder because they are a murderer. They aren’t liars because they lie. They lie because they are liars. They aren’t thieves because they steal, they steal because they are thieves. It all starts internally.
People do not simply slip, fall, and accidentally have sex outside of their marriage. No, it is usually an inward lust that gets out of control. People do not slip, fall, and tell a lie. Rather, they have an inward desire to deceive or avoid the truth.
People do not slip, fall, and murder someone. No, instead murder is just an outward expression of the hate and rage that was present in the mind internally.
This all just goes to prove Jesus’ point: Sin starts in your heart/mind and works its way out. Therefore, stop sin where it starts (the heart/mind). If you lust after someone secretly in your mind, you should immediately stop and force those thoughts out of your mind before it manifests in a physical act of adultery.
Feel yourself hating someone? Stop and say to yourself, “Love thy enemies.” Those things weren’t suggestions from Jesus, they were commands. Where did Jesus come up with this? Jesus did what the Father told him to do, that’s how!
It reminds me of a quote I once heard that is so true:
Be careful what you think, for your thoughts become your words.
Be careful what you say, for your words become your actions.
Be careful what you do, for your actions become your habits.
Be careful what becomes habitual, for your habits become your destiny.
All things start in the mind. Any idea starts in the mind. Any invention, business idea, movie idea, thought, or directed action starts in the mind. Therefore, your mind should be your number one spiritual priority, as that is the soil in which sin takes root.
And enough of this lazy brand of Christianity. You who abuse grace so you can live in sin embarrass the faith. You write off the sacrifice of Christ and use it as an excuse to perpetrate evil and sin. How dare you! You ignore the sufferings of the apostles and early church, and live in debauchery and sin while taking it easy.
Do not call yourself a Christian while you enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin and are unrepentant–living in a habitual sinful lifestyle. That is an insult to Christ. Place your faith in Christ and trust in Him as your savior. When you do sin (and you will because we all sin), then pick yourself up and confess it to the Lord and be cleansed. Don’t remain in it.
Conclusion: Quit Being a Lazy Christian. It is Time to Put on the Armor of God
Jesus didn’t come to let you have loose morals. Jesus came to super-size your morals. He didn’t come to abolish the law. He came to put the law on steroids (spiritually)!
It is time to start acting like it. We should place God’s will above all other things. God is the highest entity in the universe, and by following Christ we honor and glorify the Father.
So put on the Armor of God. Fight the good fight, and keep the faith. Stop giving Christ a bad name. Stop sinning, and repent. Follow Christ, and serve God with all of your heart, mind, and soul.