You may not recognize it, but you may be a victim of propaganda.
Don’t be shocked. It is actually fairly common to fall prey to those who intend to deceive the unsuspecting to swallow their bait. Neither the intellectually brilliant nor morally-sensitive Christians are immune from such susceptibility.
That is not to say that we shouldn’t be upset by such a realization, for just as there are many who cry wolf, so there are many who actually are the wolf while pretending to be gentle lambs.
When we finally see the truth of what we once thought was believable, there is a natural roller-coaster of emotions that tends to boil our inner seas of tranquility. One of those emotions is a form of embarrassment or guilt in having been so easily duped.
That inner voice seems to say, “You should have known better.” And I suppose, there may be some degree of truth to that painful realization.
As if in some ominous premonition, Scripture warns Christians with these words:
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.” (Eph 5:6-7)
Have you swallowed “empty words” without realizing it?
In context, the apostle Paul makes his appeal to Christian believers by “insisting” that they must no longer live like the world (4:17-5:18). We have been called to a higher standard; a holy existence that on one hand shuns selfishness and evil, while on the other hand humbles oneself and repents when confronted with personal failings.
Empty words are aberrant teachings in church. They are denominational twists of partial truths. They are claims that sooth itching ears. They are powerful beliefs promoted and swallowed by “christians”, but which mis-apply passages of Scripture in favor of desired outcomes.
In spite of all the popular theology that swirls about in the sea of modern religion, the Holy Spirit tells Christians that “there must not be even a hint” of sustained sinfulness.
This deception is so powerful that, Paul builds to a crescendo this warning by saying that everything from sexual perversion to coarse joking is “improper for God’s holy people”, is “out of place” within the Christian community, and can completely reverse eternal fortunes: for no such man “has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”
This loss of “inheritance” is about eternal salvation itself, not rewards from within the Kingdom of God, because this person who is said to be “among you” Christians is identified as “an idolater”.
But that is not what is often taught in many churches today.
The idea that a Christian can “lose out” on what they otherwise had been promised, if they persist in worldly patterns of living, doesn’t sell well. The common propaganda is that once a believer in Christ makes a confession of faith that nothing can prevent their eternal inheritance—it is guaranteed. The common message is that they have freedom to sin all they want.
But they have been warned. Don’t be deceived by such empty words. And don’t partner with those who twist the truth to attractive filth (the biblical terminology for this tendency compares to a dog returning to its vomit). Don’t listen to the fleece-covered wolves that dismiss Paul’s theology on the role of sanctification in a Christian’s hope of salvation.
We are a slave to whatever masters us, and we will be granted only one Master (Rom 6). In this context, notice the verb contrast by Paul to the Roman Christians:
“For the wages [what can be earned] of sin is death, but the gift [what can only be accepted] of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This is the conclusion given to the question: Should we Christians “go on sinning” or “live for righteousness that leads to holiness”? Don’t let yourself be deceived by attractive sounding denominational teachings that conflict with the word of God. Do you have the Spirit necessary to repent of recognized error or are these just empty w rds?
Consider that repentance is not a human work that earns salvation, it is a gift of the Spirit offered to genuine believers in Jesus Christ who willingly express it as God’s life-sustaining method. Those who turn from their wicked tendencies, who seek the righteousness from heaven, and make no provision for the flesh, simply display the fruit of the Vine, the continuing presence of the blood of Christ.
Those who swallow the lie and think they can continue in their rebellion with immunity will one day hear those frightful words of the Lord: “but I never knew you, away from me you who do wicked”.
Come to the bread of life and swallow him whole. Take all of his word and don’t succumb to the crumbs of deception.
For those who humble themselves, God says he will exalt them. Our assurance of faith is in him, not in our immunity, or in some apparent promise that continues in spite of our violation of the New Covenant. We only retain that guarantee as long as we willingly remain “in him”. If we choose to remain in the world, or even attempt to dwell with one foot in both kingdoms, the meaning of our existence is but howling at the moon.
Let no one deceive you with Empty W rds, that replace fruitful devotion to the Living Word.
In spite of whatever pain may be experienced, are you willing to walk humble before the full Word of God? I ask this as one who experienced the humiliation at my own historical errors and mistaken beliefs. May God grant us both the mercy and healing that can only be found by following his every word.