Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Present Age

I have heard plenty of times that it is just hard to be godly in the world we live in.  We live in a different kind of world people lived in long ago.  Godlesness is everywhere, and we can't hide from it.  I don't think the world was all that different back then, otherwise, why would Paul have written these words:

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,  who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14 NIV

Jesus came to release us from the bonds of sin. 

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1 

I think the problem is that we try to live life on our own.  We accept Christ, we go to church, we pray before dinner, maybe even before bed (if we can stay awake long enough to finish it).  And all of those things are good, but do we allow them to transform our minds and hearts?  Do we pray simple blanket prayers thanking him for our basic blessings and praying for safety and health?  Or do we pray for opportunities to serve, and open hearts to do his will?  Do we pray for forgiveness of our sins, but not allow him to open our eyes to our sins?  We don't want to know what we are doing wrong, we just want him to forgive them without us feeling any pain or conviction over them.  We try to do as little as we possibly have to do so that we can reap the blessings of God....a God who came to this earth and lived a humble life and died a criminal's death for us, conquered death by his resurrection.  For all of that, we just want to do whatever we have to do so that we can still claim we are Christians, as long as there is no cost or inconvenience for us.

In order for us to "say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age"  we must live by the Spirit, not our own flesh.  We must surrender everything.  Is it easy?  No, but it is worth it.  And the benefits we reap from it are not worldly benefits, but benefits that we can not even think or imagine...they are out of this world, they are eternal.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful humanity to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in human flesh,  in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind controlled by the sinful nature is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.  The sinful mind is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.You, however, are not controlled by the sinful nature but are in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
Romans 8:1-9