As you recall, we talked about the sinful, deceitful heart of man last week and I’d like to continue looking at the solution to this problem. As we’ve talked about week after week, the only real solution to SIN is Jesus- “the blood of Jesus Christ his son, that cleanseth us from all sin…” 1 John 1:7. I am so grateful for the grace and love of God that delivers us from the penalty, the power, and eventually from the very presence of sin. But I’d like to look a little deeper into our walk in that grace and love of Christ when he delivers us from sin. As Romans 3:23 tells us “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” and Romans 6:23 , “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
When does ‘Eternal Life’ begin? Well, I believe that eternal life begins the moment we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior. Our eternal life is not “pie in the sky” but it is the empowerment to live with God’s presence and power ruling and leading in our hearts and should be seen in our living. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” And of course one of our favorites , Phil 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Let’s look at some very practical help as we “walk worthy of the Lord, unto all pleasing, being fruitful unto every good work.” Col 1:10 (also check out Eph 2:10)
One of my favorite passages that show us the “walk” is Psalm 37:3-7
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: ….” I see 4 distinct principles here that are certain to help us “walk worthy” of the Lord’s call upon us. The first is to “trust” in the Lord and that requires a knowledge of God—I can’t trust someone that I don’t know, and the more intimately I know Him, the more I will come to trust Him. Pro. 3:5-6 tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” Trusting God means that I know He will provide and I yield to His ways for me.
As Abraham offered Isaac in Genesis 22, knowing God had promised that Isaac was the seed….”, Hebrews 11:17-19 confirms that “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” Abraham knew that if he offered Isaac on the altar of sacrifice God would raise him up—because God keeps HIS word. That is real faith/trust. Knowing that God keeps His word is the basis of trust. Ro 4:21 “And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” Ro 8:32 “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” God is faithful and I can trust HIM. Do we live as if we trust HIM? Have you allowed God to reveal HIS faithfulness to you?
When we come to know Jesus and trust Him for salvation, we can trust Him for living it out. Back to Psalm 37—Trust and do good. My faith is seen in my actions. James says in 2:18b “…I will shew thee my faith by my works…” The Psalmist calls us not only to “trust” him, but to do good and dwell in the land=LIVE FOR GOD and HE WILL PROVIDE… The next step is to “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
Contrary to popular practice this isn’t a magic formula for self-indulgence but a call to “delight” in the Lord. To be so focused on God that my heart longs for, and follows Him in all. As David was called a “man after God’s own heart”, it didn’t mean that David was perfect, but that his heart was committed to know and yield to God. In only a few instances did David commit blatant sin, but even then he sought God’s face in repentance for restoration. Psalm 51:10-13 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” I am to keep God first. Matt 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” As simply put as Jesus Himself said it here– God first, then He will give us the desires of our heart—a heart set on HIM. Then, and only then, can we can teach others and see souls converted.
The last 2 principles are very closely connected. Commit and Rest. As I learn to walk with God and in His ways then I can commit (devote) my ways unto God and, “He will bring it to pass…..” I can learn to “rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him…” This I think is the hardest of all the principles to live—to commit it to God and rest in the Lord and not try to carry the load myself. I know how hard this is for me—I seem to lay the burden down and then before I know it I’ve picked it back up again. Jesus reminds us “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? “ Matt 6:31, and Prov 27:1 “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” 1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you”. Learning to trust God is a lifetime endeavor and I call us all to seek God’s face day by day and moment by moment. To trust HIM, to delight in HIM, to commit to HIM and to rest in HIM—not easy but worth every effort we put into it. Remember those verses we learned about the mind –Phil 4:8 and 2 Cor 10:3-5, they are a great help to check our way continually.