The Tabernacle Scroll

Issue 110

"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: no immoral, impure or greedy person - such a man is an idolater - has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them" (Eph. 5: 3 - 7, NIV, emphasis mine)

Christians are often confused with the numerous warnings that the Bible issues about the eternal consequences of wilfully impure lifestyles. Jesus himself spoke about them and the Epistles are full of exhortations and commands to turn away from our old lifestyle. "Why all these warnings?" they ask. " Why the threats of banishment from the kingdom? It doesn't make sense! Aren't we saved"?

We need to get our thinking straight. We were not "saved" so that we could one-day end up in heaven. Heaven is not our goal! God's goal for us is that, having received his grace through the saving work of Christ, we would through a process of sanctification, take on the likeness of our Lord and Saviour, who knew no sin.

Many professing Christians want to grab hold of the "justification" that is available through "accepting Christ", but do not want to change. For many, the "free gift" of acquittal at the final judgment because one "receives Christ" is too good to pass up. It's like booking a holiday. Far from that! Acquittal (i.e. justification) has a prerequisite which the Bible calls 'new birth' (being 'born again').

To be 'born-gain' is to whole-heartedly open oneself up to a radical change through acceptance of and obedience to Christ. The change is not superficial. It is not cosmetic. It is deep and profound. It is supernatural, resulting in an enabling to put into practice the decision (that was made at conversion) to turn away from the past lifestyle of sin. This is why the Bible tells us that we become a new creation.

There is no doubt that every true 'believer' will one day enjoy what we call 'heaven'. But the real test of whether you are a believer lies in your response to obeying the Holy Spirit in his work of sanctification in your life. The process of sanctification begins here and now! This is the reason why the Bible continually warns us to live repentant lives. This is what makes us holy (I.e., set apart) people!

So ask yourself: "Am I a believer"? If you are, you must live accordingly. This is what Paul is saying in this passage. Holiness is not an option for the believer!

            Devotional                                                                                                                            Preach The Word The Word with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues