CHOOSE THIS DAY . . . . . 09.05.19

Scriptures/References for STUDY TOPIC

CHOOSE THIS DAY . . .   09.05.19

Yahweh gave His chosen people clear boundaries when He said: “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God (Ex.20:5), which He reinforced through His faithful servant Joshua:  “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord!  And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Josh.24:14,15).

Jesus/Yeshua also reinforced this principle: He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21). He proceeded to explain that “the Helper” (John 16) would come and make all things known to them that had been taught, and so He was not leaving them as orphans (John 14:18). Believers have the Holy Spirit to assist in making wise, right/Godly choices. Having already chosen to follow Jesus/Yeshua, they have been given the supernatural resource by which to put flesh to death and minimize, if not totally eliminate, sinful lusts, thoughts, desires, and behaviour.

While it is true that “not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,” (Phil.3:9), it does not in any way follow from this, that believers can proceed to do as they please, denying that sin is an ongoing issue. Nowhere does Yeshua/Jesus indicate any such thing; in fact, it is quite the opposite: “Go, and sin no more” (John 8:11); “forgive us our debts” (Matt.6:12). And why would He even instruct His people to ask for forgiveness, if sin did not need to be dealt with? Surely, then, forgiveness would be automatic. . . . .  No. It isn’t. We are to confess/repent, asking for forgiveness, and forgive others, on an ongoing basis: “If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us”(1 John 1:8-10). “Repent and do the deeds you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your menorah from its place—unless you repent” (Rev.2:5). Please realize that both John, and Jesus/Yeshua (in above quotes) are speaking to believers, not unbelievers.

Although it is true that our only hope of righteousness is in our reliance on/faith in Christ Jesus/Yeshua Messiah, we who are His are called to walk in/practice that righteousness. Any teaching which side-steps this truth is false, and not based on God’s Word. Let’s see what we can glean from some of Paul’s teachings:

ROMANS 6:12-23:

12 Therefore do not let sin rule in your mortal body so that you obey its desires.

13 And do not keep yielding your body parts to sin as tools of wickedness; but yield yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your body parts as tools of righteousness to God.

14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!

16 Do you not know that to whatever you yield yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves to what you obey—whether to sin resulting in death, or to obedience resulting in righteousness?

17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching under which you were placed;

18 and after you were set free from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.

19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you yielded your body parts as slaves to uncleanness and lawlessness, leading to more lawlessness, so now yield your body parts as slaves to righteousness, resulting in holiness.

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free with regard to righteousness.

21 So then, what outcome did you have that you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death.

22 But now, having been set free from sin and having become enslaved to God, you have your fruit resulting in holiness. And the outcome is eternal life.

23 For sin’s payment is death, but God’s gracious gift is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Lord.

From verse 12 (above), it is evident that God’s people are to take charge of their behaviour, employing the fruit of self-control (Gal.5:23), not allowing sin to rule in our mortal bodies. All our body parts (v.13) are to be employed for God’s glory, not for sexual lust/pleasure, idolatry, self-indulgence, or any other form of lustful/sinful behaviour. Fully yielded and surrendered to the Lord God, a believer is thereby able to employ all body parts in righteousness, acts of service for His Kingdom. All this can be accomplished by “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”(2 Cor.10:5), bringing all body parts, along with those carnal thoughts into captivity unto the obedience of Christ, subjecting them to the fruit of self-control/self-discipline, rather than allowing emotions to rule.

Unfortunately, verse 14 from the previous quote in Romans chapter 6, has been perverted, distorted, and misrepresented in order to employ God’s grace to one’s own advantage, using the word “grace” to excuse all forms of sinful behaviour, accommodating fleshly desires, rather than acknowledging that this passage intends for us to understand that it is because of His grace, and by His grace, that believers are in fact able to keep His laws because when you actually love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind, and body, you want to please Him, you want to do according to His ways, laws, wishes, “For this is the love of God—that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). It is, after all, by God’s Grace that we have access to Him, His Spirit, His Love, His supernatural Shalom; that grace enables us to love Him, and follow Him, in return, not to follow our own path,(v.15), keep sinning, and just pour His grace over it all. That, my friends, is what is known as cheap grace; and that is contrived by humans; it does not come from our Heavenly Father. It is not validated in Scripture.

Whatever/whoever we yield to, that is our source, our “god”; whether it is fleshly lusts/desires, material things/wealth, or other behaviour which is dishonouring to God, venerating others, or the self in some way. As verse 16 points out, if one is yielding to fleshly desires of this world, the individual becomes enslaved by that behaviour or system, whether it be an addiction, or a worldly institution which gains control over one’s actions. Similarly, on the other side of this, being obedient to our Heavenly Father, yielding our bodies and minds in service of Him/His Kingdom, one becomes, as “Paul, a slave of Messiah Yeshua, called to be an emissary and set apart for the Good News of God” (Rom.1:1), the outcome of which is righteousness, the opposite of sinfulness. And if we follow God’s Word, which includes Paul’s teachings (v.17), we who are HIS, can aspire to that righteousness.

Being set free from sin, and enslaved to righteousness is freedom and victory (v.18). Paul is emphasizing (v.19) that because of the weakness of the flesh, once yielding the mind/body to sin/lawlessness, it snowballs, multiplying, to bring more of the same. This is the human tendency – i.e., whatever one becomes accustomed to, the ways of behaving, the practices followed, only proliferates more of the same. Likewise, Paul encourages, if one instead yields the body parts as slaves (wholly dedicated) to righteousness, it will snowball/multiply, evolving into holiness, a most desirable state, for as he points out, although one may have experienced freedom from the confines of righteousness, that very freedom created bondage to lawlessness, (v.20,21), which ultimately leads to death, spiritually, eternally. . ..  whereas, upon yielding to God, committing oneself to Him/His ways, the righteousness and holiness that results brings one into alignment with God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.

Choosing sinful lifestyles/lawlessness (which is rebellion against God) is up to the individual; and there is a price to be paid: eternal separation from God. Choosing to follow Him includes committing oneself to doing things His Way, a path leading to eternity with Him. But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve” (Josh.24:15). From Genesis to Revelation, God’s messages, principles, laws, grace, mercy, requirements, remain the same. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and … Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt.6:24; Lk.16:13); these are the words of Yeshua/Jesus, Himself, reinforcing the words from Torah/Old Testament.

Who will you commit, dedicate, your mind, will, emotions, heart, soul, spirit, and body to serve? Who is your employer? To whom will your members be committed; whose purpose will they serve? Choose this day whom you will serve. . .. . . .

© 2017, revised 2018, 2019 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.