Summary: If you act lost, you just may well be lost if that is your modus operandi.
As I have said many times in the past, I take a real beating sometimes with people, unsaved and unfortunatly those that profess Christ as well. Why? Well, some is perhaps justified as I too am human and goof up at times (don't forget, pastors are always required to be perfect!). But usually it is because I stand on God's Word and some people do not like to have their toes stepped on.
God's Word is a source of comfort to us, but it is also a means of correction and growth. Often it will tell you things that you just do not want to hear. The question is, do you want to trust your own heart or do you want to trust God's Word? Such is the case with the Epistle to the Galatians. Paul just flat laid it on the line:
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. Galatians 1:8-10 (NKJV)
The Koine Greek word translated as accursed is anathema, which is translated as "given up to the curse and destruction, accursed... The word does not denote punishment intended as discipline but being given over or devoted to divine condemnation. It denotes an indissoluble vow." (Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament). Ouch. That sounds pretty intolerant to me! (yes, that was sarcasm)
In short, when people add to or take away from the Gospel message, they are paving their way to destruction. This should make the man of God take the work that he is called to quite seriously. So, rather than to scratch itching ears (2 Timothy 4:3-4) I seek to show love to all by telling them the truth.
Such is the case with the next two messages. The first, starting today, is "Lost Is As Lost Does" shows the lifestyle of those that have no relationship with Jesus Christ at all. Do Christians from time to time do some of these things mentioned in the passage above? Yes. Is it their habit, their modus operandi? No. For those that confess Christ and make these works their habit, they need to do a head and heart check.
War Inside Of Me
Contemporary Christian music artist Todd Agnew, known for his wonderful song "Our Great God", has written another great song by the title of "War Inside". Here are some of the lyrics:
Do you feel the tension? Do you feel the grind? Do you see the battle 'tween this flesh and soul of mine? 'Cause there's a war inside of me, Between who I want to be
And who I am.
I love this song. For the Christian that does not have this struggle, spiritual "tug of war" or "spiritual duel" (A. T. Robertson, Robertson's Word Pictures) I would state that you are living in denial. If you think you have arrived, if you think you are living a perfect Christian life, then you are greatly mistaken. We all have our own "brand of sin" (James 1:14), that one area of sin that we just struggle and struggle within.
Even the Apostle Paul had issues with this. Paul suffers from "schizophrenic faith" in Romans 7:13-25; he states with frustration--like we all do--that those things he wants to do in Christ he does the opposite, and those things that he does not want to do (that are sinful) he still does. Exasperated, Paul exclaims,
O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25a, NKJV).
Kind of kicks the idea of working your way to heaven in the head, doesn't it?
You and I, as Christians, are not under the law to save us but we are under the moral element of the law. In other words, we cannot be saved by keeping the law but keeping the moral law frees us from sin and it's effects. When we are lead by the Spirit of God, we win against the flesh. When we fail to do so, the flesh wins. It is a constant battle, and although there are some "salad days" when things go right for the most part, there are also those times we fall flat and fail miserably. Those "salad days" give us great hope and we should tuck those memories away for those days when we fall flat on our faces to remind us to Whom we belong.