MANY ARE EXCITED ABOUT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND HEAVEN
BUT THEY REFUSE TO EXERCISE THEMSELVES IN RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HOLINESS--THEY ARE IN DANGER
There is a large group of professed Christians that is excited about the Lord Jesus Christ and heaven, but they refuse to exercise themselves in righteousness and holiness. They do not want to talk about righteousness and holiness when it comes to the personal sins that they stubbornly hold on to in their lives, like television watching. They have not exercised themselves in righteousness (and refuse to). They persistently hang on to certain evil habits and ways. As a result, they are still babes in understanding even after many years of confessing the name of the Lord. They find themselves (or, are found rather), in Hebrews 5:11 - 6:9. They are unskillful in the word of righteousness because they have not exercised themselves in righteousness. They are stuck. There is exercise and labour involved. The Christian life is a workout. Strength comes quickly to those who strive just as little babes increase and grow quickly. Those unskillful in the word of righteousness may attend Bible studies and church services, but they have not exercised and worked their senses by making right decisions about different things like television watching or (for a married woman) guiding their house (ref. 1 Timothy 5:14). They skip over what they do not feel doing . As a result, their senses are very dull as they slog on through the years with the same sin habits. Their understanding is very small even after many years of confessing the name of the Lord. They content themselves with the level of knowledge that they obtained when they were newborn babes in Christ. This should not be. Any baby is supposed to grow up. After we get saved, we are supposed to read the Bible so that we can put God's precepts in practice in our lives. As we do this, our lives are changed and a short time later our desires change to match up with holiness--but first we seek out the truth and obey it. For example, giving up television may be a struggle at first as one tries to figure out what to do with his time, but it does not take long to find productivity previously unknown and an actual revulsion for television. The Lord directs our way as we try to keep his word.
Hebrews 5:11-6:8 teaches us that there is a time when we are to leave the principles of the doctrine of Christ (ref. 6:1) and go on to perfection and meat and to being teachers ourselves (ref. 5:12-14). Every normal baby naturally grows up. No normal person is 15 years old and in diapers and drinking milk. When we get saved, we start out as babes. We have just been born again but we are supposed to grow up rather quickly (like babies do) as we sup on the milk of God's word and consistently apply the word to our lives by God's grace. It does not take a long time and it is natural, not forced. When we come to something that needs to change, we need to acknowledge it and make the change. God, by his almighty power and grace, steps in a starts helping us, and then we look up one day and that issue is no longer an issue. We will always disagree with that evil that breaks our fellowship with God, and will know what is happening if it appears again in any of its guises. We learn and move forward by God's grace. We get steady and stronger like when a helpless baby goes from sleeping most of the time to sitting up to crawling and walking in a matter of a year or less. Before you know it, he is even speaking our language. It does not take a long time before he is up and running. When we are 15 years old in the Lord, we are not supposed to be simply repeating the same things that we learned when we were babes in Christ and on milk. The following passage from Hebrews seems to teach us that people who do this--do not grow up by exercising themselves in righteousness--are in danger of falling away--and if they do so, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance.
11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
THEREFORE leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
3 And this will we do, if God permit.
4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
We must acknowledge the evilness of our evil habits and start striving against them as the Lord makes them known to us. He then comes by and helps us to gain the victory. To ignore evil habits and cleave to them is an extremely dangerous course of action to take--it puts a person in a danger of the highest nature and strain. The heart is hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (ref. Hebrews 3:13) and can cause a person to depart from the living God. His name is holy and reverend (ref. Psalm 111:9) and holiness is the law of his house (see Ezekiel 43:12). We must be holy--this is a command.1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
1 Peter 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
1 Peter 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
Nobody is exempt from these requirements.
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