Don’t Go Back

As a child of God, you are truly blessed.  Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”  Perhaps you need to be reminded of the great benefits of being in Christ Jesus.   Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”  You are justified before God; you now have peace with Him, and you receive His grace and favor.  You also have a real hope for His glory that you will inherit.  The apostle Paul had this prayer in Ephesians 1:18-19 “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.” You now have the privilege of prayer in which you can tell you heavenly Father your problems and concerns and ask for His guidance and blessings.  1 John 5:14 “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”  Can you count other spiritual blessings that you now enjoy?

As you enjoy your spiritual blessings, you may need to be reminded what it was like to not have these blessings.  Such a condition is described in Ephesians 2:1-3 and 12-13 “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” “That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  You were separated from God because of your trespasses and sins.  You lived your life according to the common way that everyone else in the world lived: according to Satan’s way.  You followed your fleshly desires.  As a result, you were subject to the wrath of God like others.  You were without Christ and without the precious promises of God.   You were without hope and without God in the world.

Your previous situation is also described in Romans 6:19b-21 “For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.  For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.  What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.”  You were a slave of uncleanness, and lawlessness and your life led to ever increasing lawlessness. You bore bad fruit. You may have been ashamed of your own actions.  The result of such a path was death.

When you lived as one of the world, your conscience likely bothered you for the things you had done.  You may have had trouble in your relationships with those around you.  Problems of the world plagued you. You were a slave to sin.  Your destination was the lake of fire!  Revelation 20:13-15 “The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” 

Even though you are now richly blessed in Christ Jesus and removed from the hopeless condition of the world, there may be times when you may be tempted to go back and follow the ways of the world again.  The world and its pleasures have a certain appeal.  But the pleasures of sin are temporary.  Sin also has consequences that you don’t want.  When you lie, people learn not to trust you.  When you get drunk, you say and do things that may harm others.  When you covet what others have, you are unhappy with what you have and may wrongfully take what they have. Sin has consequences and sin does not lead to true joy.  I encourage you to realize that with the spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus, you really don’t want to go back to the things of the world.  Those who do go back to their old life “crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.” (Hebrews 6:6).

The writer of Hebrews describes those who would go back to the ways of the world. He uses the analogy of the earth that receives the blessing of rain and can either bear good fruit or thorns (weeds).  Hebrews 6:7-12 “For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”  God will not forget your work and labor of love.  Do not lose your faith but with patience continue in your service to God and inherit the promises.

I encourage you to be steadfast and immovable in Christ Jesus.  With God’s help, overcome any temptation you may have to return to the ways of the world.  Remember the blessings you have in Christ.  1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

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