God Desires Holiness

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified:
that you should avoid sexual immorality;
that each of you should learn to control his own body
in a way that is holy and honorable,
not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God;
and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother
or take advantage of him.
The Lord will punish men for all such sins,
as we have already told you and warned you.
For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

(1 Thessalonians 4:3–7, NIV84)

A Response to Rebellion

“How strange that souls whom Jesus feeds
With Manna from above
Should grieve Him by their evil deeds,
And sin against His love.

But ’tis a greater marvel still
That He from whom they stray
Should bear with their rebellious way,
And wash their sins away.”

(William Bathurst)

The Carnal Man

“A carnal man cannot apprehend or comprehend divine things, for by nature he has not that discernment; but on the contrary his mind is depraved; God is not in his mind.

A carnal man cannot understand spiritual things, for he is by nature a child of the devil, and is not spiritually-minded, hence, he comprehends nothing spiritual; for by nature he is a stranger to God; has nothing of a divine nature dwelling in him, nor has communion with God, but is much rather at enmity with him; he is unmerciful, unjust, unclean, not peaceable, impatient, disobedient, without understanding and unhappy. So are all men by nature according to their birth and origin after the flesh.

This is the first or old Adam, and is comprised in the Scriptures in a single word, ungodly, that is, without God, a stranger and destitute of the divine nature.”
(Menno Simons)

The Weedy Life

“Sin is a poisonous weed that throws the whole nature out of order. The inner life disintegrates; the flesh lusts after forbidden pleasures; the moral judgment is distorted so that often good appears evil and evil good; time is chosen over eternity, earth over heaven and death over life.”
(A.W. Tozer)

You Are a Slave

We live in a culture that values freedom.  I once heard a lecturer say that the ultimate definition of success is self-expression.  He told his audience that they were in control of their own lives and therefore they should pursue what they wish.  That idea sharply opposes Scriptural teaching.  The following verses teach that we are all slaves.  The question is not, “Are you a slave?”  Rather, the question is, “Are you a slave to sin or to Christ?”

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:31–36, ESV)

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:16–23, ESV)

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (1 Peter 2:16, ESV)

They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” (2 Peter 2:19, ESV)

In this poem I seek to capture the teaching of those verses.  It can be sung to the tune of Frances R. Havergal’s familiar hymn “Take My Life, And Let It Be” (that tune was written by Henri A. C. Malan).

Living, acting, like we’re free,
Living, looking out for me,
Being free, we’re slaves of sin,
Enslaved by what rules within,
Enslaved by what rules within.

As we serve Christ we are free,
We are free through slavery.
Christ in love has made a way,
If we will his word obey,
If we will his word obey.

Enslaved by who we obey,
Who do we live for today?
Slaves of sin find poverty,
Slaves of Christ find victory,
Slaves of Christ find victory.