“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “
Galatians 5:13-14 NIV
What does this look like in our daily lives, since we are no longer under the law, and have been set free from the law of sin and death?
“But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.” Romans 6:22 NLT
So rather than freedom excusing lawlessness, we find that we have inner strength to overcome sin, and are actually held to a higher standard than those in the Old Testament times.
“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. Matthew 5:21-22 NLT
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28 NIV
“But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven! Matthew 5:20 NLT
Sometimes we seem to have the idea that after we “pray the sinner’s prayer” God overlooks our sin, and we have our “fire insurance”! But that is not at all what the Bible teaches!
Everyone sins, both before and after profession of faith. If we couldn’t keep the law to earn our salvation, we can’t keep it to retain salvation. But if we are truly children of God, we cannot live in an ongoing lifestyle of sin and be happy. The precious Holy Spirit of God who lives inside us is grieved, and makes His presence felt. That is our cue to repent. At the moment we are aware we have sinned is when it is time to repent.
God forgives us when we humble ourselves, admit we’ve sinned, and turn from it (1 John 1:9). It is far better to keep repenting day by day, and moment by moment. Besides the cleansing we need to remain in fellowship with Jesus, it makes us more aware of what displeases Him, and what breaks our fellowship with Him, when we regularly assess our thoughts, words, actions, and attitudes.
And of course, though we may not always be conscious of it, there are people all around us who see our behavior and are positively or negatively affected by it. If we are going to claim the name of Jesus, we need to be prepared to honor it in our lives.
Remember Ananias and Sapphira? (See Acts 5:1-11.) They thought they could presume on God’s mercy and grace, but found out too late they were mistaken.
When we read and study our Bibles, and remain open and teachable, there are so many things we don’t have to learn by hard experience.
And even if we stumble and fall, we are far better off to acknowledge our sin and keep walking, than to roll around in the ditch we fell into. It is part of loving and serving Jesus, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Categories: About Jesus