Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. (Hebrews 2:1-2 ESV)
I once thought that unbelievers really liked Jesus but disliked Christians. But I no longer believe that. I really think that many only like a Jesus of their own imaginations not the Jesus of the Bible.
The preaching of a self-centered and non-Lordship ‘gospel’ in American churches has been devastating to the spiritual life of Christians in our country. Many have drifted so far away from the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament, that this new version of Christianity barely resembles biblical Christianity. The teaching of Jesus seems harsh and almost foreign to many in our culture. Also a tolerance of living a life contrary to what Jesus taught is falsely mistaken for compassion in our day. But, it’s because of the compassion of Jesus, that he sets up boundaries for our own good.
The real Jesus demands repentance from the morally upright religious person that lives a self-righteous life, as well as the social activist who denies Jesus’ authority over their own moral lives. Maybe it’s time we all take a closer look at the teachings of Jesus, and the New Testament epistles. Jesus makes hard demands on our lives, but offers those that surrender to his agenda, peace and help to live the life that he requires. And when we fail – and we will – God’s amazing grace covers our sin.
Jesus doesn’t expect perfection, but he does demand repentance (turning from our own way of life and agreeing with His way of living). As we embrace Jesus’ way of life (Kingdom Life) he gives us the grace to overcome sin in our personal lives, if we acknowledge our failures. He does not condemn us when we sin – he helps us to recognize our absolute dependence upon his divine power. Let us return to Jesus and acknowledge our sin. We must also fix our hearts on the real Jesus of the Bible. As we focus on His teaching we must pray for help to live the Kingdom life he presents to us. And we get help in our fight against sin as we pursue the Kingdom of God with a community of believers.