Hate Being Tricked?
I’m pretty certain that you’re just like I am, I don’t like the feeling of having been duped! Now, when we open the pages of Scripture we are warned, for our own protection, “Don’t be deceived,” that is, “Don’t be tricked!” Now, when God so warns us, it is time to perk up our ears and pay very careful attention! So, what is this that we are not to be fooled by?
Today it is relatively common to hear, “I’m a homosexual Christian,” or “I’m an alcoholic Christian.” Some are even calling themselves “Buddhist Christians”! Yet, what does God have to say? He says, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived [tricked]: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
Deep inside, we all have this deep desire to be accepted. We want people to like us, and we think that God should accept us too!
Imagine now, a child comes along. They grab their jacket and begin to put their hand into the wrong sleeve. After considerable effort, they just can’t get it right! So, you step in to remedy the situation! What happens? The child begins to fuss and, and says, “No! No! I’m fine! I can do it all by myself!”
What is going on here?! We have a child unwilling to admit that they are wrong and need help. So it is so often with us! We want to be right. We don’t want help. We don’t want to admit that we are doing is not good, but rather sin. We don’t want to come to God, knowing that we are utterly helpless sinners, who need Jesus alone to save us! We don’t want to acknowledge that there are actually consequences for our sinfulness! We feel much better about ourselves if we call alcoholism a disease than a sin! In this way, it becomes something that we can’t be blamed for, but rather a condition we have. Sadly, the hard reality is, that we are “slaves of sin.” (Romans 6:17)
Think now again of the child. The child has gotten themselves in a real fix. We find that the child really can’t be helped, until they quiet down and let you help them. At this point, all is made well and we can proceed!
This, of course, takes us to the reading of the prodigal son in the Bible. Here the one son took his inheritance and wasted it on rebellious living! He did just whatever his heart desired! He showed no restraint. After a while his inheritance dried up. Yet, even at this point, he would not go home, but instead hired himself out to a most demeaning job! Finally, he thought, “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.” (Luke 15:18)
Guess what? When the son had a change of mind, the father ran to meet his son, and when his son tried to speak of his sinfulness, the father would hear none of it! The father embraced his son and got out the best articles of clothing for his son and began an all out celebration!
So it would be with us. When we finally come to realize that all our rebellion is gaining us nothing at all. That we are only making our problems worse. We then come to our God and He embraces us! For, “A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise,” say the Scriptures! (Psalm 51:17)
Yes, God sent His Son to save us! For, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – everyone – to his own way; and the LORD laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:6-7)
So, then, let us complete the verses in Corinthians we began with! “…And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11) Yes, there are Christians today that once were such as these! In fact, every Christian that there is today, was once some kind of sinner! As is written, “We all once lived in the passions of the flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (Ephesians 2:3) So, then, we as Christians don’t place ourselves upon pedestals, but humbly bow at the feet of Jesus, knowing that, “God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you [we] have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4)
God Wants You Safe and Sound!
Long ago, in the days of Noah, the wickedness of the people had grown great! At that time God called Noah to build an enormous ship! One designed not for travel, but for stability. In this vessel, was a single door. Yes, God was providing a way of escape for the guilty. Sadly, the people were indifferent. God didn’t really exist, did He? And if He did, He wouldn’t judge us, would He? Ah, forget about God. Let us party on! Such was the attitude of the people in Noah’s day.
So today, God has provided a way for all of us to escape the consequences of our wicked living. Yes, God provided His own Son. It was Jesus who bore the terrible consequences on the cross for our rebellious, wicked living! He willingly died in your place – yes – for you! God wanted you to be safe from the consequences of your own actions! For, “God our Savior…desires all people to be saved.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4) Indeed, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16)
Let us then not be like those people in the days of Noah, who refused to come! Let us rather be like the prodigal son, and come to God for the saving of the soul! For we know that the judgement of God is coming! As it is written, “The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “‘There is peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:3)
Yes, it is absolutely essential that we come to see that, “I am a helplessly lost sinner.” That there is absolutely not a thing I can do to better my estrangement from the holy God – the Creator! Oh, how important to see, and come to believe, that Jesus came to save me! It was Jesus who bore the penalty for my sin! Yes, some 2000 years ago, Jesus took the penalty for all of your sin – past and future! Indeed, the very moment you come to believe that Jesus did this for you, you are saved! At the very moment you believe, you are made forever holy in God’s sight – “accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6) At that very moment you are given, as a gift, the righteousness of Christ – not your own self-made righteousness, which is as “filthy rags,” but the very righteousness of Christ that will never lose its lustre! Wow! Yes, at the very moment you believe, you are saved and sealed, with your Heavenly inheritance guaranteed! As is written, “In him you also when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14) Indeed, at the very moment we believe, we our sin-debt is totally paid for! At the very moment we believe, we are set free from being slaves of sin, once and for all! Amazingly, at the very moment we believe the gospel, we are guaranteed the deliverance from the very presence of sin in future glory in Heaven! This is all included in our own salvation!
One more thing. At the very moment you believe the gospel message, Jesus Himself comes to live in you! He comes to live His life in and through you! Jesus will be your victory!
What do you say? Will you place your confidence in Jesus to save you, or will you keep hanging on to your own self-made ability? Or, will you reject the Lifegiver altogether? Listen, please, right now the “ark” stands with its door open! Don’t delay, but come in and be safe from the flood waters of wrath that are coming because of your sinfulness! I need Jesus to be my Saviour, everyone needs Jesus to be their Saviour, and so do you! Yes, Jesus already took the judgement of God for your sin – so – why would you turn from the Saviour and face the consequences? God loves you, and wants you safe and sound right now, today!
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13
V. J. Reimer
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Photo credit: “135/365” by Sydney
*Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV), copyrighted © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.