Zechariah 7:4-5 ESV
“Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me: ‘Say to all the people of the land and the priests, “When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves?”’”
Many people go through religious performance thinking that what they are doing is for God, but it may not be for God at all. Our Lord has laid down for us in the New Testament his requirements for those of us who profess faith in Jesus Christ. And we learn in the Scriptures that it is by grace we are saved, through faith, and this is not of our own doing. This is the gift of God, not of works lest any of us should boast. So, in our flesh we can’t do what is pleasing to God or what will earn us acceptance by God (Ephesians 2:8-9).
But this does not teach us that no works are required of us under the New Covenant. There are plenty that God requires, that he prepared in advance that we should walk in them, in his power and strength (Ephesians 2:10). And those are the things we must do. We must repent of our sins, dying to sin daily (consistently), by the Spirit. And we must now walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. And we must obey our Lord’s commands (New Covenant), and we must honor him as Lord.
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Eph 4:17-24; Tit 2:11-14; Matt 7:21-23; Rom 12:1-2; Heb 12:1-2; Php 2:12-13; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Jn 2:3-6]
Zechariah 7:8-12 ESV
“And the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.’ But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets.”
Many people who go through religious performance are not only doing that in their own flesh, hoping to be acceptable to God, but they do so knowing better than that, and sometimes as a coverup for deliberate and habitual sin. They either self-deceive in order to convince themselves that God accepts them the way that they are and/or they are putting on a performance to convince other humans that they are righteous in God’s sight while, like the Pharisees, they are full of wickedness and they are sinning in secret.
So, the counsel of the Lord is for all who profess the name of Jesus to do what he says we must do. And I see nothing here in verses 9-10 that is not repeated for us in the New Testament in one way or another. For over and over we are commanded to love one another, and to do good to one another and not harm. And we are instructed in not making false judgments but in making true judgments with the goal of seeing people following Jesus with their lives. So we are to do good and not evil.
But sadly many people professing faith in Jesus Christ, at least here in America, are stopping up their ears, and they are refusing to listen to what the New Testament Scriptures teach, in context. And they are listening to liars and deceivers who are altering the truth of God’s word in order to appeal to and to pacify human flesh. So, in their stubbornness and rebellion, they are accepting the lies, for the lies give them permission to keep on in deliberate and habitual sin against God and against other humans.
When they hear the truth they ignore it or they dispute it. And they fight against it, because to accept it would be to admit that how they are living is against the Lord and his commands. And it would mean to admit that the Scriptures teach that if they continue on that course of rebellion and willful defiance and deliberate and habitual sin that they do not have genuine faith in Jesus Christ, and that they do not belong to God, and that heaven is not their inheritance. And so they embrace the lies, instead.
Zechariah 7:12-14 ESV
“Therefore great anger came from the Lord of hosts. ‘As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known. Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one went to and fro, and the pleasant land was made desolate.’”
Now, Jesus Christ died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might live for him and no longer for ourselves. He died to put our sins to death with him so that we would be freed from slavery to sin to now walk in his holiness and righteousness. And he shed his blood for us to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we will now honor God with our lives. So, if we reject all that in order to follow the lies, it grieves him.
[1 Peter 2:24; Romans 6:1-23; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 5:15]
Now the New Testament Scriptures teach that we must deny self, die daily (continually) to sin, by God’s Spirit, and follow Jesus in obedience if we are to be saved from our sins and to have eternal life with God. But many refuse to believe that, but that doesn’t alter the reality of it. So, if we choose to continue in deliberate and habitual sin and to not surrender our lives to Jesus and to not walk in obedience to his commands, then we will not inherit eternal life with God, and we will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 14:23-24; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
So, please take this to heart. Read these Scriptures referenced here and let God speak truth to your hearts. And leave your lives of sin behind you to follow Jesus in obedience, for to love him is to obey him.
Do You Love Me?
An Original Work / July 24, 2013
Do you love Me now?
Will you seek My face?
I have given you
My love and My grace.
Will you walk with Me
Ev’rywhere I lead?
Will you find in Me
All of what you need?
Won’t you meet with Me
Down upon your knees?
Will you obey Me,
And do what I please?
Will you hear My voice
Speaking now to you?
I am couns’ling you
To abide in truth.
I have died for you;
Taken all your sins –
Crucified with Me,
You have been forgiv’n.
I have set you free
From your slavery,
So that you can now
Live in victory.