The Future Is As Bright As The Promises Of God

Archive for July 6, 2014

Practice What You Preach

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11-14 (NASB)
Inside a barber shop is a man getting a haircut. Leaning against the wall outside is the sign he has been carrying around on the street: “The world will end today.” You have to wonder if the man is serious about what he is preaching.
This probably sounds like possible subject matter for a cartoon. Surely no one would actually do this. But how about the preacher who uses Scripture and charts to predict an immediate date for Christ’s return while at the same time putting funds into a retirement plan for the future? What is lacking in both illustrations is consistency. “Practice what you preach” surely applies.
Christians need to ask themselves how well do we practice what we preach regarding the second coming. We say we believe that Christ will return one day to judge the world. Have we done everything we need to do to be ready to stand before the Judge? We say we want to live forever in the presence of God. But are we preparing now for that kind of existence by saying no to our sinful habits, by spending as much time as we can in personal devotion and corporate worship, and by actively participating in Christian service? We need to do more than just talk and sing about the return of Christ. We need to live in a way that shows that we are serious about our hope for the future.
The grace of God obligates us to live a godly lifestyle, not in order to earn our salvation, but because we are compelled to express our gratitude in this way. A heart truly changed by God’s grace will reflect that change by denying ungodliness, that is, saying no to any temptation to do something that violates God’s standards.
Paul also warns against the influence of worldly lusts. And John writes in his first epistle, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” Though we live in this present world, we are called to live differently.
Our gratitude for what God has done to provide for our forgiveness and salvation should motivate us. We also have a wonderful hope that encourages faithfulness and obedience: Jesus has promised that He will return. Certainly Christians who are looking forward to Jesus’ return, and who consider themselves citizens of His eternal kingdom, have a desire to honor their Lord by following Him and learning to live “sensibly, righteously and godly.” To learn such in this present world means we will be prepared for the next, where righteousness and godliness will be the rule.

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