Psalm 73:1-3 ESV
Truly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
The flesh can be very alluring. Sin can be extremely attractive. But, it is like a fish hook with bait attached to it. Once we latch on, we are trapped, we are doomed. And, it isn’t as pretty as we thought it was going to be, either. Because now it owns us. We have no control. Sin has its grip on us, and it seems nearly impossible to get free from it. For, this is what it is like to be enslaved to sin, on the end of a fish hook, with seemingly no way out.
But, thanks be to God, he provided a way of escape for us from this fish hook. God the Son, Jesus Christ, who came to the earth and took on human form, willingly gave up his life for us on a cross in order that we might be set free from that hook (slavery to sin). But, he died that we might die to sin (and self), and that we might live to him and to his righteousness. And, that is the way of escape, by faith in him (1 Pet. 2:24; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
It is so easy to think that “the grass is greener on the other side” – an idiomatic phrase meaning “that the things other people have or their situations always look better than your own, even when they are not really so” (1). And, that is the hook, the bait, the allurement that catches so many people in its trap.
And, this is one of the reasons some people get involved in extramarital romantic affairs. They think they will be happier with someone else, but they always take who they are with them wherever they go. And, no human being is ever going to fully satisfy another, for we are all just humans. So, they are going after broken cisterns which do not hold water, because they think romance is better than real love, faithfulness and commitment.
But, that is no substitute for a true love relationship built on trust, respect, honor, value, faithfulness, and honesty. And, this goes to our relationship with God, too. When we go after romance (fleshly sensations, fantasies, lies), we will always come up empty, never truly satisfied, because we are going after the cheap substitute rather than the real thing. And, it is only the real thing (true love, the love of God) which will give us true peace and joy.
Psalm 73:4-9 ESV
For they have no pangs until death;
their bodies are fat and sleek.
They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.
Appearances can be very deceiving. We may look at other people on the outside, very superficially, and think that they have it great just because they seem to have money, or power, or social status, or popularity.
Or, we may romanticize people to the extent that we don’t see their flaws, because these are people we don’t live with day in and day out. And, so we might envy them, or want to be in their company, thinking that will bring the happiness into our lives we are seeking after. But, it is a trap!
Many, many people are addicted to pornography for that very reason. It is very enticing. Or, they may be addicted to romance novels or movies, too. For, these feed their flesh, and they give them that emotional high they are looking for, much like a drug addict goes after, only this is a different type of drug, but with similar effects, though. Again, this is the fish hook with the bait at the end of it, but it is still a fish hook, and it is a trap!
But, those who go after the flesh and sensual pleasure have “pride as their necklace.” And, it is a chain around their necks, too. It is bondage. And, it is just like a chain, too, in that it has one succession of sin after another after another, and they are all linked together under “pride,” which is flesh. And, the more they sin (habitually, as a matter of course), they just add another link on to the chain, and the harder it is to ever get free from that chain.
Psalm 73:10-11 ESV
Therefore his people turn back to them,
and find no fault in them.
And they say, “How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
Many Christians, or professing Christians, have found themselves trapped by this fish hook. Yet, their profession of faith in Jesus Christ indicates their belief that Jesus Christ set them free from their sins. And, yet they have gone back to them, to live again like they did before they professed faith in Jesus Christ, or worse. Or, perhaps they never truly were ever set free.
But, pride stands in their way of owning up to their sins and repenting of them, and it keeps them from turning back to, or to the Lord for the first time, in reality. But, they want others to think well of them, or they want to think well of themselves, and so they will fake their commitments to Christ. And, they will fake their separation from sin and the self-life, too, because they are trying to hide the truth about what they are doing in secret.
They may even feel that they are fooling God, or that God doesn’t actually see what they are doing. In fact, this is being taught. Many are teaching that once God forgives us our sins that he never sees us sin again, for when he looks at us, all he sees is Jesus. Yet, while it is true that God’s forgiveness of our sins means that those sins he forgave are no longer held to our account, it is not true that he can’t see us when we sin.
The New Testament blows that theory out of the water with all the warnings to believers about us needing to put off lying, stealing, adultery, gossip, slander, and hatred, etc. And, when it tells us that we need to take up our cross daily and follow (obey) Jesus Christ. And, when it tells us that we are not to believe the lies, but that we are to know the truth that those who practice such things will not inherit eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 4:17-24; Eph. 5:3-6).
The Cheap Substitute
For, many who profess faith in Jesus Christ, but who have been trapped by sin again, buy into the lies that tell them that they can continue in sin, i.e. that they can make sin their practice, their normal course of conduct, and that they can still hold on to the promise of heaven when they die. But, the above scriptures blow that theory out of the water, too.
Just like romance is no substitute for real love, the kind the Bible talks about, and just like extramarital affairs or pornography or romance novels are no substitute for a loving marriage relationship, this notion that we can walk in sin and still have eternal life with God is a lie. It is a trap, just like that bait on the fish hook. And, it is a cheap substitute for God’s true grace.
For, the grace of God which brings salvation instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts (passions), and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return and our anticipation of spending eternity with him (Tit. 2:11-14). For, God’s grace does not merely forgive sins and promise heaven when we die. His grace frees us from our slavery (addiction, chain to) sin. It frees us from that fish hook!
But, we have to take the way out Jesus provided for us. We have to die to sin and self and take up our cross daily and follow (obey) Jesus Christ. We have to, by the Spirit, be putting to death the deeds of the flesh. And, by the Spirit, we have to daily be putting on that armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil attacks against us. And, we have to walk according to the Spirit, by the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh if we want to have eternal life with God (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 6:10-20).
So, know the truth! And live the truth! And, it will set you free!
An Original Work / April 15, 2012
Walking daily with my Savior
brings me joy.
Loving Father; precious Jesus;
He’s my Savior and my Lord.
Gently leads me; follow Him.
I’ve invited Him within.
Now abiding in His presence,
oh, what peace.
From my self-life
He has brought me,
By His mercy, full release.
Hope and comfort,
peace and safety Jesus brings
When I daily bow before Him;
Obey freely; do His will.
Follow Him where’er He leads.
Listen to Him; His words heed.
Now obeying his words fully,
oh, what love
That He gives me
By His Spirit, from above.
Loving Father; precious Jesus,
He’s my friend.
With my Savior, by His Spirit,
I will endure to the end.
Share the gospel, tell what’s true.
Witness daily; His will do.
Tell the world of how their Savior
bled and died.
On a cruel cross He suffered
So that we might be alive.