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Paul J. Bucknell
“I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:21).
Many of us who call us Christians are deluded. We are absolutely fooled thinking we are Christians. All we need to do is look at our lives to see this is true. People will call us anything but Christians. Our lives are full of envy, hatred and evil. Think of the immorality that so-called Christians practice. Paul has clearly written that we ought to think twice if we are living compromising lives without second thoughts, “I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:21).
Paul is pretty clear there, “Shall not inherit….” God wants to assure His people that we have eternal life but the only way to get those who call themselves believers but are not is through a wake-up call, telling us the way it is. This is what the apostle is doing here. If we are really only pursuing our flesh, then it appears we are not really saved. After all, we only want ourselves free from some weighing guilt so we could further wade into other sin.
Satan would be glad to relinquish one of his holds on our lives if we would be further entrenched in his hands by delusion. And so this is the sign of the lukewarm church (Rev 3) which the Lord spits out of His mouth. “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Rev 3:16).
Satan is glad to relinquish one of his holds on our lives if we would by delusion be further entrenched in his hands.
We need to think through for what reason the Lord saved us. It wasn’t so we could be free from some ultra-burden and so free to commit other selfish acts. Many traditional believers have horrible marriages, being mean to each other. God has much greater goals than this: He wants us to be holy and live loving lives. Jesus saved us to love one another. “Through love serve one another.” Christ lives out His life through us.
“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Gal 5:13). (NASB)
The Christian life is a supernatural life. If we live from our own effort, then we will fail and live by the flesh expressing all sorts of ungodly thoughts, attitudes and behaviors. Jesus sets us truly free, supernaturally liberated, to live out God’s love through our lives.
God has saved us, not just for heaven but so He could bring His love into this world through our lives. The Gospel radically changes our lives so that we live out His glorious purposes in our lives. This is the reason John said, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 Joh 3:16).
“Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Ga 1:4).
Each of us need to take a real close look at our lives as professing believers. We do that by examining what kind of lives we live. If we hate evil–in all of its expressions–then let us repent from them and live holy lives. If we are just fooling ourselves, we do no one any good. We give rise for others to call Christians hypocrites (through our false lives), and we ourselves will be damned with the devil and what has become our delusion.
God wants us to repent and live holy lives, full of the promise of eternal life and walking by the Spirit to bear forth fruit of the Holy Spirit. But it will not be through our good works for our lives are tainted with sin and the incurring judgment. God promises us that if we believe in our heart that Jesus has saved us by His death and resurrection, then we can be saved–saved not just from the oncoming judgment but from the ugly power of sin over our presence lives.