NET2 is used for all Scripture quotations unless otherwise noted.
“We must not let our guard down!!” This phrase is almost timeless, but in the face of another idea, “We must not be so careful lest we lose perspective.” There must be a middle ground some might say, but we can be aware of our surroundings and be very much aware of who our enemy is.
Peter states that everyone must not think more of himself, but listen to the Lord, “And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty hand 7 by casting all your cares on him because he cares for you. 8 Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering. 10 And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him belongs the power forever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:6-11.
Submission to God Alone
Every Believer must always submit to the love and care of God Almighty. No one is perfect, but our daily objective is to follow the Christ. Paul said this, “16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves to sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were entrusted to, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. 19 (I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.) For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free with regard to righteousness.” Romans 6:16-20.
This statement from Paul is consistent with folks who claim to be Christians, but are not: “you are slaves of the one you obey…” This is obvious to those of us who have chosen to be steadfast in following His teachings. No one is perfect, but we make efforts to be faithful slaves or servants which results in “righteousness leading to sanctification.” Submitting to Him is much easier for the Believer because “when you were slaves of sin, you were free with regard to righteousness.” And this underscores the fact that Believers are, indeed, made righteous because of faith in Jesus Christ. Paul writes, “Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have also obtained access into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory.” Romans 5:1-2.
Paul’s statement is obvious to observers, who have obtained righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, the actions of those around us who claim to be Christian, but are not. Their unrighteousness clearly stands in contrast to the Righteous.
Boast only in Christ
There is a danger for those who are obtaining sanctification because of faith. That danger is made known, “Those who want to make a good showing in external matters are trying to force you to be circumcised. They do so only to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. For those who are circumcised do not obey the law themselves, but they want you to be circumcised so that they can boast about your flesh. But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that matters is a new creation! And all who will behave in accordance with this rule, peace and mercy be on them, and on the Israel of God.” Galatians 6:12-16.
We must not be boasting in what we have achieved, but rather boast only in what the Cross of Jesus has provided which, in reality, is much more than eternal salvation. We are reminded in the Old Testament the danger of not giving God glory for accomplishments achieved. Moses was not allowed to cross the Jordan River because he failed to recognize God as the Source of water from the rock at Meribah.
Moses had just completed telling Israel that they would soon cross over the River Jordan, but God tells him that he will not cross over, “Then the Lord said to Moses that same day, “Go up to this Abarim hill country, to Mount Nebo (which is in the land of Moab opposite Jericho), and look at the land of Canaan that I am giving to the Israelites as a possession. You will die on the mountain that you ascend and join your deceased ancestors, just as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and joined his deceased ancestors, for both of you rebelled against me among the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin when you did not show me proper respect among the Israelites. You will see the land before you, but you will not enter the land that I am giving to the Israelites.” Deuteronomy 32:48-52.
Followers of the Christ will be obedient to His teachings for He alone is Lord.