Jesus stepped into His own creation and clothed Himself in the skin of created man so that He could take our curse of sin upon Himself and put it to death on the cross, so that whoever believes in Him by faith and in repentance will not perish but have new and eternal life.
Those who believe are not judged, but those who do not believe are judged already because they have not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. He came to save us from God’s judgement upon sin. There is no other way to be saved. Only through faith in Jesus Christ.
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. — 2 Peter 3:9
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
— Luke 9:23
There is a huge difference between believing Jesus exists and believing in Him by faith. Knowing He exists and even liking Him and the things He says means nothing if we aren’t trusting in Him and following Him as Lord. He calls us to deny ourselves, our sinful flesh and all of the sin this world entices us to live in. Temptation is quite real. Even Jesus was tempted but He did not sin.
Galatians 5:16 says “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”
If you aren’t walking in the Spirit, I guarantee you are walking in the flesh and fulfilling its sinful desires, even if it seems like everything is fine. When held up to the mirror of scripture, we find ourselves in need of God’s grace and forgiveness every time because as it says in Romans
3, all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.
So what does it mean to walk in the Spirit?
A few more verses in Galatians 5 explain the difference between walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit.
For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
— Galatians 5:17-25
Notice here at the end of this passage where it says “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. This is what Jesus is talking about in Luke 9 when He tells us if we are going to follow Him we must deny ourselves, daily take up our cross and follow Him. Notice also how it says that those who practice the things of the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God. We can’t live after the desires of our flesh and think we are right with God. 1 John 1:8 says that those who do that are deceiving themselves and the truth is not in them.
The battle with the flesh is a daily struggle. It is a daily denial of and death to self, surrendered to Jesus, that He would live in us and through us as we walk in the Spirit.
Galatians 2:20 sums it up perfectly, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
When Jesus died on the cross, He took the entire curse of sin and nailed it to the cross in His body and then on the third day He rose from the dead, victorious over sin and death that whoever believes in Him by faith will not perish but have everlasting life. Those who believe in Him by faith deny themselves, daily take up their cross and follow Him by faith.
We are not saved by our actions or anything we can do to earn salvation. We are saved only by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. But true faith without action is dead. It’s not true faith at all if we don’t live it out. If we truly trust Him and have faith in Him as Lord and Savior, then we will do what He says.
James 2:19 makes it clear it’s not enough to just have knowledge of Jesus and believe He exists, even the demons believe that and shudder in fear.
True belief results in belief in what Jesus says, and if we really believe what He says then we will do what He says. We will come to Him by faith in repentance of sin and trust in His promise of forgiveness and eternal life, saving us from the curse of sin and eternal death in hell. We will deny ourselves, daily take up our cross and follow Him.
Otherwise, what are we doing with the knowledge we have? We believe but we don’t follow? We say we trust Him but we don’t act on that trust? We want eternal life while still sinning and gratifying the desires and passions of the flesh? Jesus died for us to set us free from all that. How can we continue to live in what He died to free us from and still claim to be His disciples?
In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”
He also said in John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
He loves you and wants you to be set free from sin. He wants to give you abundant and eternal life. He wants you to have fellowship with Him and live in a personal relationship with Him. But He calls us to be set apart, made new, born again of the Spirit and to follow Him, forsaking the ways of this fallen and dying world.
We can’t have fellowship with God while living in rebellion against Him in sin. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, to destroy sin, not to let us continue to live in it. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord and in John 3 Jesus says that those who believe in Him are not condemned but those who do not believe are condemned already because they have not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
In sin, we are spiritually dead, but set free from sin by faith in Jesus and born again of the Spirit, we have eternal life. In John 5:24, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
Put your belief into action today and trust in Him. Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him. You will never know more freedom this side of heaven than when you let it all go and put your faith and trust completely in Him. It really is new and abundant life, and it’s forever.
But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,
And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.
— Isaiah 59:1-2
It’s not “all good with the big guy upstairs.” Our sins have separated us from God. Our separation from Him is not in His part, but ours. We remain separated from Him and under condemnation because of our unwillingness to repent. We live our lives wondering how much we can still sin and live like the world but still get to heaven. We have a soft view of sin and a watered down view of the holiness of God.
James 2:10 says if we keep the whole law perfectly but stumble in one part, we are guilty of brraking the entire law of God. Romans 3 tells us that all have sinned, there is none good, not even one, but we are justified freely by God’s grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus died on the cross, taking the entire weight of the curse of sin upon His own body and nailed it to the cross that by faith in Him, forsaking the flesh, repenting of our sins and trusting in Him for our forgiveness and justification, we are saved and made new, born again unto eternal life by faith and trust in Him as Lord and Savior!
Apart from Jesus, we have no hope. John 3 says those who believe are not condemned but those who do not believe are condemned already because they have not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
He is the only one who can wash our sins away because He is the only one who put sin to death in His own body once and for all that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.
Romans 10 says that if you confess Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, for all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.
By confessing Jesus as Lord, you are bowing to His authority as Lord and God and King. You are agreeing with Him that you are a Summer in need of forgiveness and salvation. You are coming to Him to be set free from sin and the death of your flesh and by trusting in Him and the fact that He rose from the dead, you are trusting in His sacrifice, death and resurrection, that He alone paid the price for your sins and there is salvation in no other, not even the best of your own good works.
By faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are saved. There is no other way to be saved from sin, from death, from eternal condemnation and hell and be reconciled to God to live forever in His Kingdom. In John 14 Jesus says He is the way and the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but by Him.
Trust in Him today. Come to Him in humble repentance and trust in Him. His hand is not short that it cannot save and His ear is not dull that it cannot hear. The only thing keeping you from God is your sin. Give it to Him. He will gladly free you from it and give you new and eternal life right now.