by Mike Ratliff
11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you b to wake from sleep. c For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 d The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us e cast off f the works of darkness and g put on the armor of light. 13 h Let us walk properly as in the daytime, i not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, j not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But k put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, l to gratify its desires. (Romans 13:11-14 ESV)
Genuine Christians are marked in this life by a spiritual journey that God uses to sanctify them. Sanctification is the process whereby God removes Christians from the pollution of the world and conforms them unto His holiness. I have had some emergents and neo-evangelicals attempt to deny this as true for all Christians. They claim that only God is Holy and there is no call by God for His people to repent and mortify their sins. Regardless of what these people say, the Word of God does contradict what they say.
While the Apostle Paul wrote the passage at the top of post, our Lord Jesus Christ spoke the passage below. Carefully read both.
34 “But watch yourselves f lest g your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and h cares of this life, and i that day come upon you suddenly j like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 But k stay awake at all times, l praying that you may m have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and n to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36 ESV)
What does conformity to the ways of the world do to the hearts of believers if they are conformed to them? Their hearts become weighed down. This is the Greek word βαρύνω or barunō. This word means “to burden” or “overcharge.” It describes activity that places a burden on something that is more than it was designed to carry. God did not design our hearts with the ability to bear the burdens that our flesh demands. The more a person places these burdens on their hearts by becoming consumed by trying to be fulfilled through fleshly behavior are actually falling into a trap. All unbelievers are in this trap already. Christians are delivered from this trap at salvation, but can fall into again by not crucifying their flesh and becoming consumed by their flesh.
Where does our power come from in our hearts that enables us to stay out of this trap? We are to stay away and pray. This means that we are to deliberately pursue holiness in our lives and it is prayer that lines up our wills with God’s. Notice also that Christians are going to stand before the Son of Man to give an account. That is where we will lose or receive rewards. Shouldn’t we obey our Lord’s command here in order to give Him glory and build up our treasure in Heaven?
Soli Deo Gloria!
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.