Last year, I mentioned how the Lord has been crying out to His people, “Flee from Babylon! Run for your lives! Do not be destroyed because of her sins.” (Jer 51:6, see Jer 50-51) and that He showed us “Babylon” represents all spirituality outside of the Truth of God’s Word, the enemy’s kingdom, worldliness, rebellion toward God ~ the world’s system and ways, as revealed in Revelation 17-18. Many of His children have been living in “Babylon,” in compromise with the world and mixture with other belief systems, yet believing all is well in their relationship with the Lord. Many are like those in Sardis ~ having the reputation for being alive, though the Lord says they are spiritually dead. Others are like those in Laodicea, or lukewarm Christianity ~ proclaiming they’re “blessed and highly favored,” when the Lord sees them as spiritually bankrupt (Jer 7:1-11, Rev 2-3). These lifestyles of compromise with the world have become so prevalent that they seem normal to many. Yet the Lord is crying out, “Come out of her (Babylon), my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.” (Rev 18)
Though many have still not listened to His warnings or heeded His discipline (Zeph 3:7), in His mercy and grace The Refiner will continue to turn up the fire in His final attempts to purge the dross (sin) and bring us back to Him. As in the dream God gave Jesse last year, the Lord is shaking our nation and the world to bring about our repentance before it’s too late (Is 26:9b-11a, Heb 12:25-29). How severe must the shaking get and how hot the fire before we fully turn back to Him? He is not looking for short-term repentance and crying out to Him (as has happened in the past), but for authentic sustained repentance ~ a turning of our whole hearts and lives back to Him.
Again it’s not too late; but we must genuinely repent, turning away from all that keeps us from being fully committed and consecrated to the Lord, that we may wholeheartedly follow and live for Him. (II Chron 7:14)
Obviously, even those who are truly abiding in Christ, walking with Him in the Light of His Truth, still sin; but through Him and His power working in us, we are called to be, and can be, free from lifestyles of willful sin (I John 3:6-10).
No one who abides in Him [who lives and remains in communion with and in obedience to Him—deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] commits (practices) sin. No one who [habitually] sins has either seen or known Him [recognized, perceived, or understood Him, or has had an experiential acquaintance with Him]. 7Boys (lads), let no one deceive and lead you astray. He who practices righteousness [who is upright, conforming to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action, living a consistently conscientious life] is righteous, even as He is righteous. 8 [But] he who commits sin [who practices evildoing] is of the devil [takes his character from the evil one], for the devil has sinned (violated the divine law) from the beginning. The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done]. 9 No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, for God’s nature abides in him [His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him]; and he cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God. 10 By this it is made clear who take their nature from God and are His children and who take their nature from the devil and are his children: no one who does not practice righteousness [who does not conform to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action] is of God; neither is anyone who does not love his brother (his fellow believer in Christ). I John 3:6-10
This is possible because when we’re born again, we receive a new heart and new spirit, that wants to do God’s will (Ez 11:19-20; 36:26-28 ). But we must still guard our hearts and tend them, lest they become hardened, rocky, or thorny ground that fail to produce good fruit (Mt 13:1-32). He is looking for hearts that remain perfect toward Him, that continue to desire Him above all, seek Him, and are surrendered to His will – all of which is only possible by being born again, continually filled with His Spirit, and abiding in intimate relationship with Him (John 3:1-21; 15, Eph 5:18). As we walk with Him in the Light of His Truth, His Light will reveal our sin. When our hearts remain open to His conviction and correction, we confess and turn (repent) from the things He reveals and His blood continually cleanses us of our sins (I John 1 – written to/for believers, not unbelievers). If we’re walking with Him in the Light, truly abiding in Him and He in us, His grace not only makes us righteous by faith in Him (Phil 3:7-16), but also empowers and enables us to live righteously (Titus 2:11-14). When we truly abide “in Christ” in this way, we can claim all God’s promises available to those “in Him.” But sadly many today are professing that they are “in Christ,” when they truly do not meet God’s definition of this according to His Word.
3 And this is how we may discern [daily, by experience] that we are coming to know Him [to perceive, recognize, understand, and become better acquainted with Him]: if we keep (bear in mind, observe, practice) His teachings (precepts, commandments). 4 Whoever says, I know Him [I perceive, recognize, understand, and am acquainted with Him] but fails to keep and obey His commandments (teachings) is a liar, and the Truth [of the Gospel] is not in him. 5 But he who keeps (treasures) His Word [who bears in mind His precepts, who observes His message in its entirety], truly in him has the love of and for God been perfected (completed, reached maturity). By this we may perceive (know, recognize, and be sure) that we are in Him: 6 Whoever says he abides in Him ought [as a personal debt] to walk and conduct himself in the same way in which He walked and conducted Himself.
I John 2:3-6
Many are walking in and living in the darkness of sin, rather than in the Light, yet believing they’re saved because they “believe” in Jesus as their Savior. As mentioned previously, this is not the Lord’s definition of having faith/belief in, loving or knowing Jesus (Mt 7:13-27, John 3:16-21; 14-15, I John 1-3).
True faith in Jesus means we believe in His identity not only as our Savior, but also as our Lord. It is our belief and acknowledgment that He is our Lord which brings us into saving relationship with Him. If we truly believe He is Lord, and receive Him as our Lord, not only Savior, we will bring our lives under His Lordship. We cannot choose to receive Him as Savior, but reject His Lordship over our lives. When we come to receive His free gift of salvation, we are also coming to give our lives to follow Him as our Lord. Obedience and doing His will is not a “work” that “earns” our salvation, which is impossible. It is not bondage or legalism to be resisted and rejected. It is the consistent fruit of truly knowing, loving, and believing in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. It is the fruit of being born again of His Spirit, receiving a new heart and nature, and abiding in Him. If this is not the consistent fruit we bear (our lifestyle), then according to Him we do not truly know, love, and believe Him (Mt 7:13-27, John 3:16-21; 14-15, Lk 13:1-9, 22-30, Jms 2, I John 2-3, 5).
When Normal Is Not Normal