“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” – Romans 6:1-2
This verse weighs on my heart for many matters in my life and in the lives of the members of the Church, ranging from television shows that we watch, songs that we listen to, the clothes we wear, the way we speak, the way we act, the games we play, the jokes we tell, the books we read, the movies we watch…the list goes on. Paul tells us that we are to change our ways, that we are not to live in the way that we once lived.
In all four gospels, we read the word, “repent”. This word means simply “to turn around”, literally make a 180. It means to turn your back on the way of living that you once had before Jesus, before grace, before you determined to live a life for Him.
I have been told that what I am about to say makes me sound like a legalist. So be it. I don’t care.
In 1 John 2:6, we read that “the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” Now, when I look at the Church, I don’t see people walking the way Jesus walked. There is evidence of Him, yes, but I do not see the conscious effort to walk as He did.
Not too long ago, about maybe 10 years, there arose an acronym, WWJD, What Would Jesus Do. This has been labeled as a part of “slogan Christianity” where we use slogans to prove a point or to evoke a feeling. But I think this slogan speaks to my point.
Ask yourself: would Jesus watch Family Guy? Would Jesus joke about sex with “That’s what she said” jokes? Would Jesus take pleasure in jacking cars in GTA? Would Jesus go to the movies to watch Ted, or rent Spaceballs or watch a movie filled with offensive language and suggestive scenes of sex and violence? I want you to consider that for a few minutes before reading on.
Now, I am no saint. I admit that I watch Family Guy when it’s on. I play video games that show gratuitous violence. I watch movies with sexual scenes. I sometimes joke sexually. I sit around with friends and drink and sometimes I smoke. I am not perfect. But life circumstances and careful reading and study of the Bible have led me to a different point of view.
I admit that grace plays a key role in the lives of Christians, but we are told to repent, to turn away from the things that we once did. As a matter of fact, the author of the book of Hebrews states, “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice of sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume that adversaries” (Hebrews 10:26-27; emphasis mine). The “adversaries” here are those that have turned from God after they have received the word of truth, namely, the Gospel. He tells us that the punishment for those that rejected the law of Moses was severe, but he goes on to ask this: “How much severer the punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?” (10:29) I think he makes it perfectly clear. Rejecting that grace and continuing to live in sin after confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior actually merits punishment if sin abounds after salvation.
Many will argue that I am being legalistic and that grace is there for a reason, but I feel that the Bible actually confirms what I am saying. In James’s letter to the Church, he writes, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (1:27; emphasis mine). “…unstained by the world.” Interesting choice of words, James. The church is stained by the world, filled with lukewarm members who are allowing worldly influence to come into the church and corrupt it even more.
In Ephesians, Paul states, “So this I say, and affirm with the Lord that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness” (4:17-19). Again, a clear point. Since we are to be found in Christ, we are to no longer walk as the Gentiles do, the non-believers.
There are so many other verses in the New Testament that can tell you the same thing. We need to be careful about the way we live. We are called to perfection (Matthew 5:48). This means making a conscious effort to change the way we live so that we may be temples of the Holy Spirit.
For more information, check out this sermon by Paul Washer regarding the life of the Christian, and please, read your Bibles. Pray seriously about this, my friends, lest you become like the church at Laodicea, “‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, ii will spit you out of My mouth” (Rev. 3:15-16). Make your choice. There is no middle ground.