Behave as those chosen by God

Roman 13:13-14,

13 “Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sexuality, mot in strife and jealousy.

14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

1 Corinthians 10:13, 

13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

Knowing this, why would anyone who loves, respects, and appreciates Jesus not take the way of escape, and sin instead? It is not only disobedient, it is also disrespectful to Jesus, who gave Himself up for us in order to take our sins away.

Some may say, “I have never seen the way of escape when I am tempted to sin.” If this is true, you have not been abiding in Jesus, for abiding in Him is the way of escape. He is always interceding for us, and ready to come to our aid when we are tempted. We need only abide in Him, and He will keep us free from the slavery to sin. That is why He appeared, to take away sins, 1 John 3:5.

People like to make much about past, present and future sins being forgiven, but according to Hebrews 5:9, Jesus is only the source of eternal salvation to those who obey Him.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Hebrews 5:8 says, “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” The first Adam had no childhood, but was a mature man. He was placed on an earth where there was no suffering. Therefore, he had no opportunity to learn obedience. The last Adam, Jesus, on the other hand, came into the world as an infant child, and was placed on a cursed earth where suffering abounded. He was then trained up in the way He should go and learned from the things He suffered throughout His life. As a result, the last Adam lived a life of obedience to God and all authority.

It is the same with the church. Each member comes into the church as an infant child, is trained up in the way he, or she, should go, and learned obedience from the things which he, or she, suffers. But as it is with all children, learning obedience is sometimes a tedious process. The Lord is well aware of this, and He has provided for it.

As any father would do, our heavenly Father disciplines us for our good, but He does it so that we may share His holiness.

Hebrews 12:4-11,

You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin

and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him

For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.” 

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline

But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons

Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live

10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.

11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”

Many think the Lord looks at us and sees the righteousness of Jesus, instead of the real us. That is not true. He sees us as we are. If He saw the righteousness of Jesus, there would be no need for discipline, for Jesus walked in complete obedience and has been perfected, and no longer has a need to be disciplined.

But we, like Jesus, must be trained up in the way we should go, so that when we are old we will not depart from it. That includes being disciplined, that we might learn obedience and thereby share in the Lord’s holiness, verse10 above. 

From verse 4 we can see that we are to strive against sin. For He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, Colossians 1:13. If we have really been transferred from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of the beloved Son of God, should we still walk as if still in the domain of darkness? Absolutely not! We are to strive against sin! And we are to learn obedience through that striving, that we may be partakers of God’s divine nature and of His holiness.

Once again, Jesus became the source of external salvation to all who obey Him, Hebrews 5:9. And what does He say about those who do not obey Him? “I will declare to them, I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS,” Matthew 7:23.

So, to say Christians will always sin is to say we will never grow up, we will never learn obedience, and we will never attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ, Ephesians 4:13. It also implies that Jesus is an imperfect Savior, because you are saying He didn’t take away sins, which is why He came to earth.

God deals with each of us in the state we are in. He knows the thoughts and intentions of each heart, so to plead the blood and keep sinning is not going to fool Him. He knows if we are after His heart or not. He knows if we are hot, or cold, or lukewarm. Please note that if we are even lukewarm, we may soon find ourselves vomited out of the kingdom, Revelation 4:16; especially if we don’t submit to the Lord’s discipline, and learn from it.

I urge you, every time you are tempted to commit a sin, submit to the Lord, and resist the devil. The word is true, the devil will flee from you. To resist temptation like this, and win, is a huge blow to the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. They are literally in opposition to one another. So, each time we overcome the sin of the flesh, we are laying aside the old and putting on the new, that is, Jesus Christ, the hope of glory. 

There is such a thing as an age of accountability. Babes in Christ are fed the milk of the word, and, as they grow, they reach a place where they the Lord begins feeding them the meat of the word. When we reach this place, we are held accountable for every sin we commit. If we sin, we must confess and repent of it, and the Lord will cleanse us of all unrighteousness, that is, restore us to His image.

So if we should happen to give in to temptation and sin, we have an Advocate with the Father who was tempted in all things as we are, and His understanding is beyond comprehension. If we are faithful to confess our sin, He will most assuredly forgive us, after which He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The Father will still discipline us, and we will still be on the way to learning obedience.

As Peter said in 1 Peter 5:6-10,

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time

casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour

But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 

10  After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”

And, 1 Peter 4:1-2,

1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 

so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

To summarize:  In order to save the sons of Adam from the curse of sin brought about by disobedience, God sent Jesus to reconcile all of mankind back to Himself, and began by teaching Him obedience from an infant to a mature man, that He might fulfill the Law through His obedience. 

When the time came Jesus was crucified for the sins of mankind; and as the last Adam He brought an end to the old creation and became a life-giving Spirit, whereby a new creation was formed in the perfect image of Himself and His Father, that is the body of the risen Christ, the church. And the church is following the example of Jesus and learning obedience from the things which it suffers, which is the exact opposite to the first creation, Adam.

One of the quickest ways to start a path of obedience is in the small things, such as, when we start to exceed the speed limit, we should slow down to the limit and be aware we are doing it in obedience to God, and for His glory. Another thing is to clean up places we’ve been, restaurant tables, restrooms, etc. It is a godly thing to do, for we should always leave places better than we found them. 

Opening doors for our wives, showing them respect and lovingkindness is a gesture of obedience, for as Peter said, “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered,” 1 Peter 3:7. The list could go on and on. We should do these and other things not only out of our obligation to be obedient to God, but also out of our love for one another, and we should do it all for the glory of God.

May we all grow together learning obedience, that we might partake of our heavenly Father’s holiness, and behave as those chosen by God.

Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.