Man was created in the image of God. Satan, consumed by his jealousy of the relationship between the Father and His Son, has determined to destroy that image in those whom He created, His people. Since his success in deceiving Eve in the Garden of Eden, Satan’s radar has been set to destroy every succeeding generation, and as a result, ungodliness is apparent in the human race far more than is seen godliness.
If Satan can convince Christians that they are already living Christian lives while there are critical areas that need to be transformed to reflect God’s glory, the result will be that they have no need for a Saviour. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” John 14:6. The desire of the Christian should be a willingness to change and become like Jesus. He has revealed in His word the kind of life to live, while on this earth, to be prepared for the kingdom of heaven. But, while Jesus has delayed His return, many have become complacent and distracted, focusing their attention on things that are not heavenly.
Those who do not want to follow the word of God are like a person who decides to go somewhere on their own without direction. He does not want to use public transportation because of the rigid time limits in departure and arrival. Instead he asks the Lord for a comfortable four-wheel drive automobile that he can be in control of and be able to go anyplace, on his own direction and according to his own timing. However, for the Christian journey, the Lord has specific instructions: He has said that to arrive safely at the destination one must remain on the tracks that have been laid out just as a train needs to remain on the tracks to reach its allotted destination. At the end of life’s journey there is an eternity waiting for those who remain faithful.
The car can choose a multitude of ways, many of which end in detours, delays and dead ends, but there is safety on those predetermined tracks with the certainty of reaching the correct destination. Those willing to be instructed by God will find themselves saying, “Lord, put me on the right track so I will not become derailed.” That willingness to collaborate with God instead of fighting Him is a gift.
Godliness is to fear God. This does not mean to be intimidated, but to have respect and honor for Him. To fear Him means to have reverence towards Him. Those who live for the honor and glory of God fall deeply in love with Him. As that relationship develops they will come into the unity that Jesus prayed for before He left this earth. “That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, … and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” John 17:21, 23.
Paul tells us, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1. This freedom liberates the Christian from being imprisoned by the desires of the flesh. The Lord says, I came to make you free. You are no longer a slave, shackled by your sins, but free to continue the pursuits in this life that lead to eternal glory. That freedom does not mean choosing again the old life and becoming once more entangled with the yoke of bondage. “They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Verse 21. Why would anyone choose again to be a slave, shackled and trapped?
Godliness is the high calling of everyone who calls himself a Christian. Many professed Christians today are deceived into thinking that merely by attending church they are God’s people. The Lord says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ ” Matthew 7:21–23 NKJV. Only those who give honor and glory to His name will inherit the kingdom of heaven. We do not give honor and glory to God’s name by acting selfish, rude, and entering the church with an attitude of pride and self importance. God is going to cleanse the earth and make all things new and only those whose hearts have been cleansed will enter there.
All evil will be destroyed, and anyone who holds on to a grudge or anger against his brother will be destroyed with it. A transformation of character is needed in God’s people that reflects the beauty and holiness of Jesus, the same character that He revealed when He was on this earth.
God has provided a channel or help by which everyone may become Christlike. Only through the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in the life is that possible. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convert and transform the human being into the person that God intended him to be. “Being confident of this very thing, that He Who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 NKJV.
By following the example of Jesus, the Christian gives witness for the Lord, not by forcing the conscience of others with words, but by genuine love and active behavior he lives his life aiming to please the Lord in everything, showing kindness to all in his sphere of influence with an attitude of “Lord, Thy will be done, not mine.”
We are living in the anti-typical Day of Atonement—the Day of Judgment. However, it is not to look around and judge another’s actions or words or dress. It is a time for each person to afflict his own soul and enquire if there be any sin that needs to be removed. Soon Jesus will leave the most holy place and will utter the final proclamation: “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” Revelation 22:11 NKJV.
Probation for this earth is about to close. Paul says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.” Galatians 5:1. “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ ” Verses 13, 14.
There is no time to be side-tracked by entertainment or exciting parties, mingling with those with no more interest than shallow small talk about things that won’t last. The devil is raging like a roaring lion ready to devour whomever deviates from the track. Constantly remind yourself to live a life that will give glory to God. Stay focused! Christ is waiting at the end of the track that leads you to where there is hope, prosperity and peace. There is no sickness there and no more diseases. At the end you will hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant … . Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:23.
“Every church member needs to feel the converting power of God upon heart and mind; then spiritual development will be experienced. Christ has for every true believer grace sufficient to make him a son of God. Angels are working in behalf of God’s people, that Satan may not gain the victory over them.” The Upward Look, 184.
“He who comes to the Lord in simple trust will learn how to uplift the Saviour before men. Practical Christianity is the revealing in word and action of the will of God. …
“The professing follower of Christ is to overcome every selfish trait of character. By well-doing he is to form a correct pattern, and testify in his life to the character of Christ, and to God’s unselfish love for the human race.” Ibid. Every selfish trait of character is to be overcome. Though some people may not be friendly or even have an attitude, it is not for you to judge. Pray for that person and heap coals of kindness on their head and watch God work.
“Christ demands that those who take His name honor that name in spirit and word and deportment. In thought, word, and deed they are to be Christlike. Those who claim to be Christians and yet do not reveal in the life the virtues of Christ’s character bear witness against the Saviour. They dishonor Him, putting Him to open shame.” That I may Know Him, 128.
Man is a free moral agent and though the devil is a tempter, he cannot force anyone to do anything. Sin is committed as a result of choice. Satan’s power to deceive is broken as the Christian calls on the name of the Lord. James says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7. He is no match for the heavenly host that stands ready at the Lord’s command to protect and encourage even the weakest of sinners.
The promise of Jesus is that He will not leave your comfortless: He will come to you in your time of need by the agency of the Holy Spirit (John 14:17, 18). Whatever situation we find ourself in, it is very important to understand that we are never alone. “We have a character to maintain, but it is the character of Christ. Having the character of Christ, we can carry on the work of God together. The Christ in us will meet the Christ in our brethren, and the Holy Spirit will give that union of heart and action which testifies to the world that we are children of God.” God’s Amazing Grace, 211.
We are pilgrims and are passing by in this world. All that we own is a gift from God, loaned to us in trust so we can be partakers with Him in doing good for others. When we leave this earth, either by death or translated, we take nothing with us except the character we have formed here and those whom we have been privileged to assist in their walk with the Lord.
In his letter to Titus, Paul wrote: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:11–14.
The bottom line is that the actions of the professed Christian speak more loudly than any words they utter. Souls are being saved or lost by the witness of their actions. Should this not make him examine himself, whether he be in the faith (II Corinthians 13:5)?
Fall in love with your Saviour and you will not be able to discount others. Jesus said, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15.
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:16–18.
The price for sin has been paid. Jesus is getting ready to return to this earth. Our destination is in sight and there is light at the end of this tunnel so stay on track until we reach the heavenly shore.
Pastor Domingo Nuñez is director of Outreach Ministry for Steps to Life. He is involved in the coordination of world mission projects and he travels extensively, encouraging the many home churches supported by Steps to Life. He may be contacted at: 316-788-5559 or by email at: email@example.com.