“FOR THE TIME WILL COME when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Timothy 4:4-5.
This, along with Matthew 7:21-23, is a very sobering passage. In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus says “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your Name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
As I contemplate these scriptures I wonder if the underlying commonality is lack of repentance. Sometimes I look around and am grieved because I can’t see a difference between “church” and “the world”. We have the same disunity, dysfunction, divorce, manipulation, anxiety, isolation . . . . these things should not be.
God did not sacrifice His only Son, the righteous for the unrighteous, Whose blood cleansed us from sin, so that we could continue to live in it. God hates sin. It offends Him. It caused the death and perversion and decay of all creation. It caused us to be separated from Him.
How many times have I heard people excuse themselves (confession time! I have, too!) by saying “God knows I’m not perfect.” “God will forgive me.”
Jesus preached repentance. (Matt. 3:2, Luke 13:3) I John 3:4-6 says “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.”
I used to read this passage in I John and say “how can I not sin?” And Romans gives me the answer: by the power of the Holy Spirit, Who lives in me as a believer. And 2 Corinthians 5:17, in Christ I am a new creation. John 3, the Nicodemus chapter, is where Jesus says “You must be born again”. New birth, as a new creature, a new race, born not of man, nor of the flesh, but of God, in Whom we have holiness. In Whom it is possible to choose NOT to sin.
So why do so many of us continue in sin?
I think we prefer a religion to a relationship. It is so humbling to admit we are incapable of being right. We must put on the righteousness of Jesus in order to be acceptable/accepted. We want to be able to point to our ‘good’ deeds and have God owe us the reward of eternal life. We hate repentance. We hate admitting we needed saving.
I suppose that after all this contemplating I have concluded that pride, the original sin, is behind the end-time perversion of the gospel. We would rather have a form of religion than the power of “repentance toward God and faith toward Christ.”
Father, help me.