Today's 'Grace Inspiration' from Joseph Prince's website was entitled: "Which Righteous Man Do You Want To Be?", and he raised a very interesting comparison between Abraham and Lot. Both men were around 400 years before the Law was given in Mount Sinai. Both men were righteous. Abraham believed, and it was counted to him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3). But let's read 2 Peter 2:7-8:
"And He rescued righteous Lot, greatly worn out and distressed by the wanton ways of the ungodly and lawless — For that just man, living [there] among them, tortured his righteous soul every day with what he saw and heard of [their] unlawful and wicked deeds—"
Here's what Pastor Prince had to say about Lot: "...let’s learn from Lot. He first saw Sodom, then his feet walked toward it and finally he went into it. I like what a great man of God said: “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.” What did Lot end up paying?
He was captured when four kings plundered Sodom and Gomorrah. And even after Abraham rescued him with the help of God, he did not learn his lesson. He went back to Sodom. Some Christians live from one bail-out to another. God delivers them from, say, debt, and they go right back to borrowing money or gambling! Sodom and Gomorrah were eventually destroyed. Lot escaped with only the clothes on his back and even lost his wife in the process."
Lot went through a lot, and escaped alive - barely alive, but alive nonetheless. I personally have to say that I can relate with Lot. He had the choice to live as Abraham lived - more successful, more victorious, more significant... but even in the face of that great prospect, he still chose to go and stay in Sodom. The Bible says that he first camped outside of Sodom, and then eventually lived in Sodom, and when he was taken out of Sodom, he chose to go back. This was even if Peter indicated that he was "greatly worn out and distressed by the wanton ways of the ungodly and lawless"...
...but check out what Peter said next: "For that just man, living [there] among them, tortured his righteous soul every day with what he saw and heard of [their] unlawful and wicked deeds—"
Now he may not have consciously 'tortured his soul', but I believe that just his being in sin brought pain to not only his family and his body, but his 'righteous soul' as well!
"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?" - Romans 6:16
Friends, we all have a struggle against sin. While we are in this world, we are to renew our minds every day - we need to take ourselves out of sin.
How do we do this? Is it out of any effort on our part? What steps can we take to be free of sin?
Paul ends Romans 7 this way:
But I discern in my bodily members [[d]in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh] a different law (rule of action) at war against the law of my mind (my reason) and making me a prisoner to the law of sin that dwells in my bodily organs [[e]in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh].
O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death?
O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
- Romans 7:23-25
Friends, the Solution is not a what or how, but a Who - the Solution, is Jesus Christ, the Anointed One, our Lord! He did not give us a program to follow to be free - He Himself is our freedom! He did not give a way to walk, a lesson to learn and apply... No, Christ Himself is our Way, Truth, AND Life!
I said earlier that we can focus on so many things. We can focus on sin, and consequently devise or seek methods and procedures and ways to get ourselves out of it - but the more we focus on it, the more we do it! Friends, the more we struggle, the more we stumble... Make no mistake, while we are in this world, we will stumble, but let us not stay focused on ourselves... Let us focus on Christ, who says, 'I do not condemn you. Go, and sin no more!'
You want to perform for the Lord? Here's the best way to perform - Believe in Christ! Acknowledge the totality and the absolute completeness of His finished work! The more we focus on Christ, the more we focus on who He is, what He's done, who we are in Him... The more we fill our hearts with the Good News of God's Grace demonstrated through the finished work of Jesus Christ, the more we take ourselves out of the torturous conditions brought about by sin, and the more we recognize our victorious roles as kings and priests, seated in the heavenly places with Christ!
Focus on Christ, and see God's goodness and glory more and more!
Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria!
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May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you His Shalom. - Numbers 6:24-26