Colossians 4:2-4 ESV
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.”
An Altered Church and Gospel
When we are sharing the truths of God’s holy word, and we are sharing the gospel of our salvation from sin, it is critical that we make the teachings of the Scriptures as clear (transparent, pure, unblemished, well-defined) as possible. For it is critical that our listeners are able to hear the truth and not a half-truth or a diluted truth (lie) which could lead them in the wrong direction. We need to tell them the truth, and nothing but the truth.
For we live in a day and time, at least here in America, where both the church and the gospel are being altered and adulterated in order to appease human flesh and to appeal to the fleshly desires of the people of the world. So, the church, which is the body of Christ – which consists of those who have died with Christ to sin and who are to be living to Christ and to his righteousness – mostly has formed a union with the world, the state, and big business, and is now marketing “the church” to the people of the world.
They have, thus, institutionalized the body of believers in Jesus Christ, and they have made their gatherings more flesh-driven, appealing to the sensual pleasures of the flesh and to fleshly and worldly desires. Thus, they have a large number of followers (or attendees) who are the childish and the self-indulgent who are looking for what is in it for them, and not for what they can give to God in the way of their lives and their hearts’ devotion.
So, we are not talking here about a crowd of people whose lives are committed wholeheartedly to serving the Lord and to walking in holiness and in obedience to our Lord. We are talking about fleshly people who are looking to have their fleshly desires satisfied, only perhaps in a more family friendly atmosphere. And so they are wanting the word of God to be served to them with frosting (sugar) on top so that it is sweet to the taste.
So they want God, in essence, to alter his gospel and to make it more palatable and pleasing to their flesh and to be less offensive to their tastes (appetites). And they want his messengers to do the same. But if we are true messengers of the Lord, we cannot agree to that. It is not possible for us to serve up the word of God by sugar-coating it so that it is more acceptable and palatable to human flesh and to the people of the world.
The Truth of the Gospel
Now, our Lord, in his death on that cross, gave himself up for us that we might become the righteousness of God, not just in status but in reality in practice in our lives. For he died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who died and was raised. And he shed his blood to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we would honor God with our lives.
For, by genuine faith in Jesus Christ, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. For our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin but to God and to his righteousness, resulting in eternal life with God.
So, we are to no longer let sin reign in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions, for sin should have no more dominion (power, control) over our lives now that Jesus set us free from our slavery (addiction) to sin. For, we are slaves to whomever we obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness and to sanctification and which ends in eternal life with God.
For Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For, if we hold on to our old lives (of living in sin and for self) we will lose them for eternity. But if we forsake our former lives of living in sin, and we die to sin and live to God and to his righteousness, then we have eternal life. For Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one DOING the will of God the Father in heaven.
[2 Co 5:15,21; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; Lu 9:23-26; Matt 7:21-23; Rom 8:1-17; Titus 2:11-14; Rom 12:1-2; Ac 26:18]
Rejecting the Truth for the Lie
Nonetheless, not many are teaching the truth of the gospel anymore, and not many are willing to receive the truth of the gospel these days. For the childish and the self-indulgent are craving their sinful practices, instead. They want to continue in deliberate and habitual sin, repeatedly committing the same offenses and behavior patterns, and so they are going after the sugar-coated and adulterated “gospel” which is giving them carte blanche to continue in their sins without guilt and without the fear of punishment.
And they are filling up on that so that there is no room in their hearts and minds to hear the truth of the gospel, the clear gospel message. And so they have stilled (immobilized) the working and the moving of the Holy Spirit in their lives, and they are creating their own Jesus and their own gospel in their own minds which fits with their own fleshly appetites. For their own gospel makes no demands for repentance (forsaking their sins and idols), obedience to Christ, and/or submission to Christ as Lord of their lives.
But God is not pleased with them and with their fleshly worship of him, which is not true worship of God. And he is not pleased with their forms of religious practice or their institutional “churches” over which he is not the head. And he is not pleased with their altering of his gospel and their immobilizing of his Holy Spirit and them doing whatever their flesh desires while ignoring his instructions to them. For he has called them to holiness. So, please know if you continue living in sin, you will not have eternal life.
[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:28-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:3-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Matt 7:21-23]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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