God is loving and merciful but He is also holy and righteous and those who wish to follow Him should reflect that righteousness. Inspired by the writings of Sue Love in her blogging site where she always stresses the need for repentance and righteous living in following the Lord Jesus Christ, I would like to write a blog with this very same theme too. Sometimes, people take God’s mercy as an excuse to sin. They deliberately think that sinning willfully is alright because God is a forgiving God. Others also misunderstand that since they believe in Jesus they are forgiven and they have the license to get to heaven even when their works do not validate that they are indeed a saved sinner. We are all sinners and when we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, we are made His children and we are given eternal life. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” -John 1:12. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 6:23. But it does not stop in receiving Jesus in a one-time moment. It should be a daily basis of faith and obedience. So faith is necessary to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, but works is equally important in our walk of obedience to God. “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” -James 2:24. To inherit eternal life, we need faith in Jesus Christ. To continue growing in righteousness which God placed upon us through His mighty work on the cross, we need to exercise works of obedience along with our faith. Obedience that shows itself in works is one of the marks of a saved soul. Therefore, once we are in Christ, we cannot live in sin anymore. We choose to obey the Lord Jesus and put off the old self. “But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” -Ephesians 4:20-24. When we start living for Jesus, we become a new person.
A follower of Jesus Christ is renewed in mind. The thought is a very critical part of our being. How we think ultimately directs our steps. We cannot, therefore, make an excuse that we do not know what we do. This is what the Bible says, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.” -Matthew 15:19-20. So we are to be transformed in our minds. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12:2.
A follower of Jesus Christ is renewed in deeds. A stated above, actions follow thoughts. A person who is truly renewed in Christ, is transformed in his way of thinking, and consequently, transformed in his way of life. “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” -Matthew 16:24. We deny every thought, every desire, and every deed that is not according to the righteousness of Jesus. For His life is an example set for us to follow. As Paul have said, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” -1 Corinthians 11:1. Our life should be a testimony that shows we are indeed Jesus’ followers. Following Jesus means we have fruits of good works like children who live in the light and not in darkness. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” -Ephesians 2:10. “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” –Ephesians 5:8.
A follower of Jesus is a renewed person. Is it possible that one professes to believe and follow Jesus yet live according to what he thinks is right and please himself rather than please God? “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” -1 John 2:3-4. Following Jesus means a changed life. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” -2 Corinthians 5:17. A new life is a life that is instep with God’s Spirit. “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” -Galatians 5:25. And living in His Spirit brings forth the fruit of the Spirit in our life. “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do 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. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” -Galatians 5:19-24.