Submit (pt. II)

continued from yesterday…

 No one can be saved without submitting to God as Lord.  A person who goes through life saying that they believe in Jesus, but live their lives never submitting to Him is not truly converted.  In this example the person who lives this way proves by his action that he is not converted.  If this person truly believed what the Gospel teaches then he would have submitted to God rather than pursue his own desires.  A person like this is double-minded and not completely devoted to God. Remember what James has to say about people like this.  In 1:7 James said that the double-minded man should not expect to receive text-box.JPGanything from God.  In 4:8 he says that the double-minded need to purify their hearts.  Continuing in the teaching of James, 4:4 teaches that is someone pursues the pleasures of this world they are the enemy of God, and adulterers against God.  I say all of this because I think scripture is clear, we must submit to God otherwise we will be his enemy.  Without submission to God we will remain soldiers of Satan’s rebellion and we will be slaves to our own sinful desires.  But through submission to Christ we will be set free to finally pursue true joy in God.  This is what the Christian life is all about; unfortunately there are many who do not understand this. 

I have spoken with many people who reject the Gospel because they want to do whatever they want.  They do not want to submit to the Lordship of Christ. These people claim to want freedom, and consequently they never submit.  The sad thing is that they are enslaved to their sin, and by rejecting Christ they have rejected their only chance at freedom.  As Christians we must understand, and make it obvious to the world around us, that those who choose to submit to the Lordship of Christ are the ones who are truly free to pursue their own joy.  Free to pursue a joy that is found only through submission.  In 1 Peter 1 the apostle Peter describes this pursuit of joy through submission with such clarity that it is clear the Holy Spirit was working through him to write those words. First look at vv. 6-9:

6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Now look at Peter’s exhortation in vv.13-16:

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Here Peter shows us that the pursuit of our joy in Christ must be accomplished through obedience (i.e. submission). We must not be ignorantly enslaved to the former lust for pleasure that we had. Frankly, the people that we have been reading about in James chapter 4 had no idea what this teaching of Peter’s was.

Recently I was watching a TV show; it was a pretty typical cop show all about some special unit of the FBI trying to hunt down criminal masterminds.  This specific episode was about a particularly heinous crime against children.  In the end they were able to capture the criminal by luring him into a trap.  The reason that this trap worked was because they new the criminal would not be physically able to resist the temptation.  The criminal even new it was probably a trap, yet he could not resist.  After the show was over I realized that what I had just seen was not all that far from the truth.  There are millions of people all around us every day enslaved to sin. Their members wage war within themselves, they lust and do not have, the commit murder, they are envious and cannot obtain, they are enslaved to their sinful pleasures, they are the enemies of God, and there is not a thing that they can do about it. 

When you compare that with what has been made available to us through submission to Christ Jesus it is easy to see why Peter called our joy inexpressible.  We have been made free; free to be what God created us to be; free to experience the amazing joy that only God can supply; free to resist sin and glorify God.  We are free, and that freedom comes through submission to the Lordship of the Lord Jesus.  This is why James’ command in 4:7 is “Submit therefore to God.”

If you have never submitted to Christ I would implore you to do so.  Your very life depends upon it.  If oyu are a believer who has submitted to Christ, but you are struggling with sin let me encourage you to daily re-submit yourself to Christ.  If you are struggling with ongoing sin you are seeking joy through sin, rather than through God. Nothing good can come of that.  Let me implore you one final time with the words of Peter (1:13-16): 

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

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