Still Living in the Passions of Your Flesh?

Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

Do you know that this is a running theme all throughout the writings in the New Testament? If we are true followers of Jesus Christ we are no longer walking in sin as we did before we believed in Jesus. We once walked in sin, past tense. But this is not automatic. This is not some status we wear, either. Just because we say we believe in Jesus it doesn’t mean God considers us as now walking in righteousness and no longer in sin.

But the point of this is that this should describe us as having once walked in sin following the course of this world. But this should not be our present reality. We should no longer be walking (conducting our lives habitually) in sin, for Jesus delivered us from our slavery to sin. Walking in sin should be past tense. Walking in righteousness should be present tense. We should no longer be living in the passions of our flesh, but in the power of God.

But even though the New Testament Scriptures teach this consistently throughout the books of the New Testament, the popular gospel being taught today does not teach this. It teaches a faith which does nothing, and which believes nothing in required – no repentance, no obedience, and no submitting to Christ as Lord. So there is no death to sin nor living to righteousness under this adulterated half-truth gospel of today.

But let’s look again at what this passage is saying. It is basically saying that if this still describes our lives, if we are still walking (in conduct, in practice) according to the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air (Satan), that we are numbered not among the saved but among the sons of disobedience and we are, by nature, children of wrath just like the rest of humankind. We will not inherit eternal life with God.

Ephesians 2:4-7 ESV

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Now, not everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ is genuinely saved from their sins, for not everyone has passed from death to life, and not everyone has been turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God and thus has received forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ (Ac 26:18). For many have continued to walk in their sins following the world and Satan.

But yes, it is the mercy of God which saves us, and this is not from ourselves. We cannot even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Christ, unless he first persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness and of our sinfulness and of our need to repent of our sins and to follow him in obedience to his ways. And even the faith to believe in Jesus Christ comes from God and is gifted to us by God.

But since the faith to believe in Jesus comes from God, and it is gifted to us by God, and it is perfected by Jesus Christ, it will submit to God’s will and purposes for our lives. Thus, those with genuine God-given faith in Jesus Christ will surrender their lives to the Lord, be crucified with him in death to sin, and be raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, no longer according to the ways of the world but now according to the Spirit of God.

And then we read that the grace of God, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for his return. And we read that Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self and take up his cross daily (daily die with Christ to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. So, true salvation results in death to sin and living to righteousness.

Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Yes, we can only be saved from our sins and have eternal life with God by God’s grace, and not of ourselves. There is nothing we can do in and of ourselves to earn or to deserve our own salvation. And again, even the faith to believe in Jesus is from God and is gifted to us by God, but that means that it will submit to God. So, those who believe in Jesus with this God-given faith will forsake their lives of sin and follow Jesus in obedience in his power.

Now when this says here “not of works” it doesn’t mean that all works are excluded. It just means that we can’t earn our own salvation by the things we do in our flesh. Our good deeds will never outweigh our bad deeds. But we are God’s workmanship, and he has created us in Christ Jesus for good works, but they are the works of God which God prepared in advance that we should walk (in conduct, in practice) in them.

So, we are only saved by God’s grace. Our faith is a gift from God. We can’t even come to Jesus unless God the Father draws us to Christ. And it is the grace of God which transforms us from death to life, and which delivers us from our slavery to sin so that we can now become slaves of God and of his righteousness. But since this is the working of God in our lives we will submit to Jesus as Lord, forsake our sins, and walk in obedience to him.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]

The Prayer

Written by David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager,
Alberto Testa and Tony Renis

I pray you’ll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don’t know

Let this be our prayer
When we lose our way
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe.

I pray we’ll find your light
And hold it in our hearts
When the stars go out each night
Remind us where you are.

Let this be our prayer
When shadows fill our day
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe.

Caution: This link may contain ads
P.S. This is not an endorsement of the singers other than as musicians

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