There was a time when I did not want to hear such words. I wanted to remain in my comfort zone, safe in my ‘understanding’ that I had already passed from death into life. I hardly knew the depths of my rottenness and how much I needed that Cross to work in me!
I am made to understand that in some ‘developed’ countries there are laws against parents disciplining their children, either by beating them or otherwise. I thank God such a law has never applied in my life. When I was a kid growing up, there were no such laws either in my country, in my home, or anywhere close to me. I was beaten by my parents, my teachers and by any grown-up who felt I needed a beating. In that way, sense was beaten into me.
I have raised my kids in the same way. That modern ‘love’ stuff has never worked with my family. I love my kids, but not in that way, no sir! I prefer to be in the same league with God than with any baby, child, teen or whatever-rights-group. The Bible says about God and us: “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Heb 12:6). Which basically means that if you do not do that sort of things with your kids you are in league with the devil. Believe it or not.
Now that my children are getting into their late teens I tell them, “If you never learned anything in this house, you will never learn it anywhere else!”
People want a light gospel; and they are getting tonnes of it today. Preachers are having a field day dealing out the easy charismatic gospel that has invaded the Church in recent times. This is a gospel that has nothing in it to confront the flesh. In fact, you tell Christians today that the flesh is a problem in the Church and that it needs to be crucified and they will tell you they are going to heaven by faith, not by works! Don’t judge, they say. If you become insistent you become their enemy. That was what happened to the Apostle Paul when he confronted the Galatian church (Gal. 4:16). They had turned back to their carnal, worldly ways and they did not want to hear anything that would confront them in that area.
I would want to tell you, though, that sin dwells in our flesh. There is no denying that fact. If you are the kind of Christian who has trouble with such statements, just stop right now and reflect on the fact that even your denial is a work of the flesh. It is true that Jesus died on the Cross to save us from our sins and to give us eternal life. But the Bible also says, “…we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2Co 5:14-15). Jesus died so that we, too, would die. That’s what the Word is saying there. The gospel of Jesus Christ is all about dealing with sin through crucifying our carnal nature.
So much for the ‘bless-me’ gospels, which are actually enslaving Christians in perpetual babyhood. In fact, in this scripture, we are being told we need to move on from there. In other words, we need to hear something more solid than the ‘God-bless-me’ gospels. These kind of gospels will never deal with our carnal natures.
Anyone trying to belittle the power of sin in the flesh is effectively digging his/her own grave. The Apostle Paul never denied the fact that his flesh was a constant problem to him. He makes it abundantly clear that his real problem was the flesh. As a result, he did not simply preach the gospel; he crucified his body of sin. He constantly put it down and strove to completely do away with it. That is far removed from the goodie-goodie gospels we are hearing today of how God loves us and how He will see us all safely home. Yes, He will indeed see us safely home; but what responsibility have we? There are many things we do not know about that heavenly home. We could get there all right – and be unpleasantly surprised. The Bible says, “…And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1Jn 3:3).
It’s not like we are going to breeze into heaven by a faith that denies the working of the Cross in our lives. I believe we have an obligation to take to heart the many conditions that God attaches to His heavenly calling upon our lives.