- Love and Liberty
Choose Your Path. Choose Your Destiny.
The first Psalm speaks about the Godly man and the ungodly man. It starts by saying that the man who avoids ungodliness is a blessed man. It is common to hear people say that even Christians sin “every day, in thought, word, and deed” and that not even Christians can live righteously. Those are the words of men speaking about their own experience, but it is not what the Bible teaches. It is recorded that Christ told two individuals at separate times: “Go and sin no more.”
Christ of course wasn’t educated in today’s seminaries, so he obviously was mistaken and didn’t understand that man can’t keep from sinning. Of course, poor Paul must have gotten kicked in the head by a horse when he was struck down on the Damascus Road. There is no other way to explain him saying something like: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” We obviously can’t take this passage to mean what it says, because we know that we are not able to say no to temptation, at least not all of the time. It isn’t really true that we have the ability to say no to every temptation that comes our way. Right? John was corrupted by the Lord Jesus and Paul, there is no doubt, for he said: “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” It’s a shame that these men never got to hear the preaching that we have been blessed to hear which says we can’t turn from sinning, and that’s ok because Christ never told us to. When it appears that he told us to forsake sin to follow him, he was only speaking of the sin of unbelief, they tell us. Paul just got confused when he said that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God and then listed the sins that people commit that make them unrighteous. He didn’t know what grace is!
Sarcasm aside, the lies of men have been substituted in place of the words of God and there are many people who think they are “saved” that are walking on the path to destruction. False preaching is mostly to blame, but then, many people are only looking to be comforted in their sinning so they can say “all is well with their soul” while they live selfishly, so it is not like they are hard for "easy-believism" preachers to convince. The Bible leaves no doubt that the lives of the Godly and the lives of the ungodly lead to entirely different destinations. We would do well to give heed to the Word of God instead of the deformed grace preaching of men. God is gracious, but he is not permissive.
Notice the Godly man’s path.
He is separated from the world. The blessed man is marked here by things that he does not do. People tell us that walking with God is not about “dos and don’ts”, but this simply isn’t true. The Bible certainly isn’t a bunch of arbitrary or man-made rules, but God says there are things we should be doing and things we should not be doing. The blessed man must avoid certain things in life: activities that make happiness impossible because they are destructive. If we want to be blessed and happy, there are things we can’t set before our eyes, places we can’t go, things we can’t say, things we can’t put into our bodies, and company we cannot keep. I wish that I lived with this wisdom in my youth, but unfortunately, I did not. I have repented and turned my life over to the Lord, but sin has consequences, if nothing more than painful remorse and regret.
The Godly man does not listen to the ungodly man.
“Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.” Some people today would rather go where they can hear what they want to hear instead of receiving the counsel that they need to hear. The ungodly have opinions and rationalizations about everything. The devil knows that people look for answers, so he sows tares among the wheat that will tickle the ears of those who hear them. Be careful who you listen to for the only good counsel is Biblical counsel.
The Godly man distinguishes himself from sinners.
“Blessed is the man who…standeth not in the way of sinners.” Paul said when he talked about the unrighteous: and “such were some of you.” You once walked the way of sinners, but not anymore! You have turned from your iniquities to serve Christ. The Bible tells us to come out from among sinners and to be separate from them. We are not to stand in the way of sinners. What light hath fellowship with darkness? What concord hath Christ with Belial? Be careful who you side with and who you stand with. Notice these words written by Paul: “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:” He is speaking to Christians as he was before when he said, “such were some of you” except here he says “for ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord.” He is warning Christians that they too can become partakers of the wrath of God if they cease to follow Christ. I was raised under the teaching of “Once saved always saved”, and even preached it years ago. I am totally convinced that the doctrine is false. To be sure, I do not believe in the insecurity of the believer, I believe in the conditional security of the believer. We must continue in the faith. We must abide in the Vine. The Bible is very clear on this subject. Do not become partakers with them! It starts with standing with them, and it leads to walking with them straight to destruction.
The Godly man does not sit in the seat of the scornful.
Listening to the counsel of the ungodly leads to standing in the way of sinners. On the way to destruction the disobedient take their seat with the scornful. They begin to ridicule the things of God. They repudiate Christianity and they move against it. They have contempt for the Lord and his followers. The Godly man avoids the intellectual and self-serving pitfalls that the ungodly man falls into.
The Godly man delights in “in the law of the LORD. And in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
It is common to hear that under “grace” we don’t have to worry about the law of God anymore. How we live has no bearing on our relationship with God. As usual, men are adept at creating confusion when it comes to scriptural truth. Christ is the end of the law to all those who believe, but what is this referring to? Some claim we no longer have to obey the moral laws of God, because Christ died. What nonsense! Christ’s death was the sacrifice that ended the ceremonial laws of Judaism. He was the perfect sacrificial sin-offering and never again did a sacrifice need to be offered. There was no virtue in the sacrifices anyway, their purpose was only to point to the severity of sin and of the need for atonement and reconciliation. The prophet Samuel said: “…Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to hearken than the fat of rams.” God did not want sacrifices; he wanted their hearts! He wanted their obedience. Just as he does now.
The sacrifice of Christ was meant to show us the severity of sin and the mercy of God. But his sacrifice automatically saves no one. I affirm that Christ did not "pay" for our sins, past, present, and future. There is no passage in the Bible that uses this language. He certainly paid a price by offering himself as a ransom, but he did not "pay" for the sins of mankind. He died as a substitutionary sacrifice, meeting the governmental demands of the law against us. His death was not the payment of our penalty, it was a substitute for our penalty. There is a difference. Our penalty is eternal destruction. Christ was not thrown into the lake of fire to suffer and die the second death. Christ died but then he rose again, conquering death, Satan, and sin on our behalf. Now, all who submit to him and follow him in obedience are saved from the wrath of God.
The Bible tells us that “love” is the fulfilling of the law. His law is love. Did Christ come to end the moral law of love? Absolutely not. He is the end of the Mosaic Law, but the moral law of God is still in effect. We obey it by loving God and loving our neighbor. As Paul told the Christians in Rome: “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Following the Mosaic Law would not save anyone. But when we walk after the Spirit, meaning we are walking in obedience to God, we fulfill the righteousness of the law, the law of love.
God’s law is love, and his Word is his message of love. His Word is his law. In the Lord’s Word the Godly man meditates day and night. The Godly man’s supreme pleasure is learning from and sharing the Word of God, his Word of love. Because love for the Lord and His Word directs his life, he is like a tree planted by the rivers of water, and he brings forth fruit in his season, his leaf will not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper. He will not be moved by the circumstances of life. He may face painful situations, and he may not always understand life’s happenings, but he will stand with the Lord. He may not prosper by the world’s definition, but he will be a blessing wherever he goes, and others will be blessed by him. Such is the man that denies himself and follows Christ.
And then there is the Godless man.
He may claim to know God but does not obey his Word, or he may be someone that denies the existence of God, but either way, he leaves the Lord out of his life. In contrast with the tree planted in the ground, the ungodly man is described as “chaff which the wind driveth away.” He is being driven further down the path to destruction by his flesh and by relentless satanic forces. His life is powerless and on his current path he is doomed. The way of the ungodly shall perish. When he stands before God everything he lived for, everything he tried to cling to, will be gone. He will stand bare and hopeless before the God he defied. He will be judged. He will perish.
Today is the beginning of the rest of your life. God is calling you. So is the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Choose your path. Choose your destiny.