by Pastor Tim Burt
When my son Pete was a toddler, watching him eat spaghetti was an event. He had as much fun finger painting his face and sculpting his hair with the spaghetti sauce as he did eating it. We he was finished, we just peeled off his clothes and put him in the bath tub. Kids getting dirty. You manage it the best you can.
I’ve worked jobs that have required physical labor where I got filthy dirty. There are times when getting filthy is just a part of the job description.
When getting filthy means sinful behavior, it is inappropriate and God requires that the behavior must change. 2 Cor. 7:1 KJV says, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit…” It says that one reason we should cleanse ourselves is so we won’t hinder the promise of blessing—“Having therefore these promises.”
“Cleanse ourselves from filthiness of the flesh and spirit” is getting rid of sinful behaviors. Galatians 5:19-21 describes filthiness of the flesh saying, “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
The last verse in those scriptures is quite sobering. “…anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” The question arises from many Christians, Pastor Tim, I thought if I accepted Jesus as my Savior, my sins are all forgiven? The answer is, They are. Upon the very moment of sincerely receiving Jesus Christ into your heart and asking Him to wash your sins away, your sins are washed away. At that very moment, you literally change spiritual residence. Col 1:13 NKJV describes that moment like this; “The Father…has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.” The word “translated” in the Greek means to carry to another place or to exchange places. You were literally taken out of Satan’s grip and spiritual power and adopted in the family of God under the care of Jesus. At that moment, God placed His Holy Spirit within you and from that moment, a change began. As you begin to read God’s Word and learn what He wants for you and what He desires you to shed from your life, it’s like the heavenly street cleaning machines began to drive up and down the streets of your heart and mind. The Holy Spirit begins to show a believer what is sinful and what is good and creates spiritual strength so changes can be made.
All of a Christian’s sins are forgiven, but now God wants to help us change the thoughts and attitudes that led to sinful behavior. That will be a process—a life long process. Why? Because it’s your castle He is helping you clean up. It’s like going through each room of your mansion with a paint brush and a can of paint—just you and the Holy Spirit. You are the only ones who can paint it because it’s within you. Consequently, God gives us space and time to change. It’s called mercy and grace. That is not a license to sin. It is God’s understanding and patience for you to want to make those changes out of your love for Him—just as Jesus died for you out of His love for you. When we do blow it and sin, God makes provision called sincere heart repentance. 1 John 1:8-9 says, “If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.”
Again, this benefit is not a permission slip to sin. It is the mercy of God and His grace to help us while we go through the process of “cleansing ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh…” Every time we sin, we should stop and sincerely repent and talk to God about how to change the behavior of that sin and examine the Word of God to see what He has to say about it. Then we should pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help us make changes. When someone is sincerely sorry, they will find the strength and in time make changes.
When someone doesn’t repent from sin or work to make changes, they begin to override the voice of the Holy Spirit and become hardened. When they become hardened, they no longer feel guilty over committing sin and become deceived and blinded in areas of their life and dull to God’s voice to help. When that happens, they can put their salvation in jeopardy. 1 John 2:4 says, “If someone says, “I belong to God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and does not live in the truth.” This is the process of keeping your heart pure while you grow up in Christ and letting God transform you into the new you—into His image.
God is not watching over you with a stick. He is not watching over you with the intent of catching you at every mistake. He is the most loving of all and is the loving Father present in your life—NOT to accuse or condemn you but to encourage and lead you into a blessed life.
The process of change can produce some pain, some guilt, and the need for repentance, maybe more than you will every feel comfortable with, but that is what will help you to experience supernatural change! By sincerely pursuing God and embracing the need to make changes and repent as God reveals sinful areas of your life, your heart is kept tender, pliable, and moldable to be transformed. Your Heavenly Father is a perfect Father wanting blessing, not condemnation or guilt for you. Looking to God to help you make consistent change leads to His consistent blessing manifesting in your life. In this place with God, let your faith arise knowing you are doing your best to live for the Lord and walk with boldness in His precious promise from Psalm 84:11 (NKJV) “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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