Is it possible to be content with your sins and be a true follower of God? This is a passage that is a wake up to many who think they are Believers. We are all vulnerable to sin but this is a passage that describes those who consistently live in a way not pleasing to God.
In his letter to the Galatians Paul warned us not to be deceived: “God cannot be mocked, a man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7-8.
Those who are sons of God have the Holy Spirit living in them and will live their lives to please God. When they lapse into sin, they will be convicted of it. They will be sincerely sorry for their sin and not just sorry that they got caught. Like David when confronted. Psalm 32:3-5.
On the other hand, those who live according to their natural ways will embrace sin because they live to please their sinful natures. That road leads to death and not life. Paul is warning against thinking that you can pursue an immoral lifestyle acceptable to our culture and still be followers of the God of Israel.
There is a distinction between leaping and lapsing into sin. There is a vast difference between the consequences of those differing lifestyles. Those who lapse do not lose their inheritance: Having believed, you were marked with a seal, the Holy Spirit, who guarantees our inheritance to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14
In Ephesians 2, Paul described how all of us were dead in our transgressions and sins and were children of wrath. But for those in Yeshua, God has replaced His wrath with mercy and grace. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but salvation through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 1 Thessalonians 5:9.
There are consequences when we sin. It hinders our relationship with God. God has to discipline us so that we recognize sin and confess and repent. But if we are children of God, we will never lose our inheritance or face the wrath of God.
But for those who live a lifestyle that is characterized by sin, the consequences are much more severe. Those people demonstrate that they have no inheritance both now and in the future.
Some interesting aspects of Ephesians 5:5: First it is a present tense verb – the immoral person has no inheritance. This is also the only place in the Bible where the phrase “the kingdom of Messiah and of God” is used. Paul uses these two concepts in his writings. The Kingdom of Messiah speaks of the present.
The person who lives an immoral lifestyle demonstrates that he is a citizen of this world and not of the Kingdom of Messiah. When Paul uses the phrase “kingdom of God”, he uses it to refer to the future, eternal reign of God. Galatians 5:19-21.
Paul uses the phrase “sons of God” to describe those whose lifestyle is consistent with the character of God. The phrase “sons of disobedience” describe those whose lives are characterized by immoral living. The wrath of God includes a present and future aspect of God’s wrath that they will experience.
We see the present aspect of wrath in Romans 1:18-19. Paul uses a present tense verb here. The wrath of God “is being revealed”. Paul goes on to describe this present wrath of God. Romans 1:24,26-27. There comes a point when God gives people over to the sinful desires of their hearts.
As terrible as the present wrath of God is now on our world there is something far worse to come: Colossians 3:5-6. The difference between a lapse and a leap lies in our walk with Messiah. A person who professes faith in Yeshua, but whose lifestyle remains consistent with that of the world demonstrates who their Lord is. To just pray or walk an aisle and live the same way shows whom you are serving.
There is a crucial aspect of becoming a follower of Yeshua that we often overlook. We talk about Yeshua being our Savior and Lord, but I’m not sure we understand the implications of what that means. He will not be savior if He is not Lord.
I speak from experience. It was a couple of years after I came to faith that I began to be obedient. My faith only began to bear fruit when I surrendered to Him as Lord. When I give up control of my life I came to experience the difference. Making Yeshua Lord brought change.
What determines whether my sin is a lapse or a lifestyle is who is Lord of my life. This is Paul’s point here. We have a choice. Either make self the Lord and be an idolater living a life characterized by consistent immorality and rebellion – Or make Yeshua Lord and live a life that is pleasing to Him. We can’t have it both ways.
John makes this same point: 1 John 3:9-10. Moses made this point to Israel: Deuteronomy 30:15-20.
Take an honest look at your life. Is your life characterized by living in sin and loving it? Then consider carefully whether you have made Yeshua Lord of your life. And if you have never done that, I invite you to make that decision today.
Or do you occasionally lapse into sin and hate it? If that’s the case, it is evidence that you’re a child of God. But know that there are consequences. If God is speaking to you then confess it to Him this and walk with Him afresh. Remember – It is not possible to be content with your sins and really be a child of God.