Christ Over All: Christ is Your Life

[embed]http://www.foresthillsbaptist.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/R_20150215-110524.mp3[/embed]  

Each Monday I’ll be putting up my sermon notes and audio file for the sermon series from Forest Hills Baptist Church “Christ Over All: A Study from Colossians”. This is an edited copy of my sermon notes, not a transcript of the sermon. You can listen to the sermon audio above or directly for at the church’s website

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1–4, ESV)

Can people really change? We tend to be skeptical don’t we? We seems to be pessimistic about people’s ability to change, including Christians.

That lady in our Sunday School class who continually gossips and complain, seems to be destined to do so forever.

That Negative friend who always tears everyone else down always tends to be negative forever.

That brother who is enslaved to the brown bag of liquor seems to never be able to break away from his slavery.

The prideful pastor who thinks so highly of himself continually looks down on others as inferior.

The teenager who seems addicted to pornography and just can’t seem to break away from the enslaving pictures on his computer screen.

The husband who seems unable to love his wife because he lusts after other women seems to forever do so.

As we encounter these people and even ourselves it is easy for us to just throw up our hands and say, “He’s just being who he is, people never change!”

Yet, the Bible teaches us that people can change. A prideful punk kid named Joseph becomes a humble obedient servant of God. A weak and cowardly man named Gideon went on to be a mighty warrior for God. The bloodthirsty Paul who made it his life work to kill Christians became the world’s greatest Christian missionary. Change is possible and the Bible is filled with stories of men and woman who change when they encounter God.

Yet, we tend to be very confused about the Christian life often thinking we can do it ourselves within our own might or we tend to just throw up our hands and give up! How do people truly change? How can we really grow in our Christian walk? How do we deal with these sins that seem so enslaving to us?

The key to true change rests in our identity in Christ. As we study Colossians today we will see that, We must have our identity in Christ if we hope to live the Christian life.

Colossians So Far

To understand the significance of these four verses at the start of Colossians 3 we have to understand the rich theology and doctrine that Paul has been teaching us so far. He begins the body of his letter by celebrating Jesus who is the image of the invisible God. He highlights Jesus as the divine creator who is pre-eminiant over all. Just like our series title states, Christ is Over All. He rules and has authority.

Paul has also been teaching heavily on our union with Christ. Paul emphasis that the identity and life of the Christian is tied to the person of Christ. By faith we are united to Christ and we live our life in him. We are saved by the blood of Christ as he reconciles us back to the father. Through Jesus’ life and death we are united, wedded to him by grace.

Therefore, we should not go back to worldly rules and regulations for they are of no value and unable to truly change. Paul has addressed the false teaching happening in the church warning them and condemning these false teaching as worldly and of no value. Rules and regulations cannot get us any closer to God and rules and regulations cannot change us. Behavior modification seems to be all the rage today as we try to manage our vices through will power, but Paul tells us that its an empty pursuit. You can’t change your heart by managing your external behavior. True change must go deeper. We can’t truly kill the weeds in our life by mowing them down. We must get on our hands and needs and allow the Spirit to pull up our sin by the root.

The puritan John Owen said it like this, “mortification from a self-strength, carried on by ways of self invention, unto the end of a self-righteousness, is the soul and substance of all false religion in the world…all other ways of mortification are vain, all helps leave us helpless; it must be done by the Spirit.”

Colossians 3:1–4 serves as a pivotal change in the book of Colossians. Largely what has been taught in Colossians so far is deep teaching and doctrine. These first four verses mark the transition from Paul’s teaching of doctrine to his applying it in the Christian life. Christian Doctrine and Application are not two separate ideas. Christian thinking must always lead to Christian living. Paul takes these four verses in Colossians 3 in order to help demonstrate how our union with Christ fuels the ethical teaching he begins to teach in chapter 3. True change results from finding our identity in Christ. The more fully we understand our union with Christ the more our life is filled with Christ’s life. Paul in these verses actually is going to make an even bolder claim - You cannot live the Christian life without first being united to Christ by faith.

Two Great Mistakes When it Comes to the Christian Life

Many Christians tend to be confused over the essence of the Christian life. From my observations (and also from Paul as we’ve seen in Colossians) there tend to be two opposite but equally dangerous understandings of the Christian life. Before we talk about what the Christian life is, lets first talk about what it is not. Here are the two mistakes in understanding the Christian life.

1. The Mistake of AntiNomianism

AntiNominanism is simply the idea that as a Christian we simply don’t care about holiness or the Christian life at all. AntiNomianism literally means “against the law”. The first dangerous mistake about the Christian life is to not care about the Christian life at all. These so called Christians will point back to some point of time in which they made a decision for Christ but then go on to live completely apathetic to Jesus. These people really don’t care what Jesus says about their lifestyle. “Who cares if I sin, I made a decision twenty years ago”. These people continue to live in sin, unrepentantly thinking Jesus doesn’t care about their sexual sin, their materialism and selfishness, and their entertainment choices. Those who reject the Christian life think of salvation as simply a get-out-of hell free card like you’d pick up in the monopoly game. Salvation for them is just fire insurance, something to pick up before they die, but completely avoid the Christian life. These are the professed Christians who refuse to belong to a church, refuse to repent from sin, and refuse to live out there faith in any visible way. These are those who claim to be healthy trees but who produce bad fruit, not good fruit.

“he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” (Colossians 1:22–23, ESV)

2. The Mistake of Legalism

An equally dangerous mistake in the Christian life is to think that the Christian life is what causes us to achieve salvation. This is the mistake of legalism. Its the complete opposite of antinomianism. While antinomianism says I’m saved so who cares how i Lives, legalism says “I care how I live, so that I can be saved”. Legalists put up rules and regulations and intensely pursue good Christian living in hopes that they might be good enough to garner salvation. Legalism rejects grace and salvation by faith in exchange for a works based righteousness. The legalist thinks that what saves him is his own goodness, not the grace of God. Paul also addressed the danger of legalism in colossians too doesn’t he?

“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—” (Colossians 2:20, ESV)

So the Christian life is not anti-nomianism meaning Jesus doesn’t care how I live at all, and the Christian life is not legalism meaning I have to live the Christian life to earn my salvation. What is the correct way to think about the Christian life?

The Correct Understanding of the Christian Life

The Christian life results from understanding who we are in Christ and we live our life out of that identity of being in Christ.

It is important we understand the order Paul gives us. He first lays out the indicatives of the Gospel, before ever giving us the imperatives. What are indicatives - Well those indicative verbs are those that express meaning and identity. The indicatives tell us who we are. So in Colossians 1–2 Paul has been outlining who we are in Christ. At the start of Chatper three he tells us “If then you have been been raised” or “For You have died”. In other words, Paul says that before we have any hope of living the Christian life we must first and foremost understand who we are in Christ.

Paul is preparing to outline for us so very practical ethical teaching of the Christian life. He is going to spend most of chapter three telling us how the Gospel impacts our life. How it tells us to put off an old sinful morality in exchange for a new morality and new life in Jesus. However, it all hinges on this important clause at the start of the chapter. Paul only admonishes us to attempt to live these things out because we have been united, and thus raised in the new life of Christ. “If then you have been raised with Christ”

So the indicatives of the Gospel - Who we are in Christ always come first. The imperatives are the commands - Do this, do that. So Paul says if you have been raised (indicative), seek the things that are above (imperative) the imperatives always come after the indicatives. This importance is crucial and the antidote to the mistake of anti-nominanism and legalism. It corrects both of the mistakes. When we are truly born again, saved by faith in Jesus it changes who we are. We have a fundamental change in identity. That identity then leads to new behavior and a new life.

So our identity in Christ leads to new action. Just what is our identity though in Christ? Who are we know that we are in Jesus?

  • In Christ, I am perfectly righteous, given the righteousness of Jesus I now stand before God blameless before him.
  • In Christ, I am a blessed given all the inheritance of heaven as my possession and given new life.
  • In Christ, I am adopted into the family of God. I live my life as a son or daughter of the king of kings.
  • In Christ, I am accepted though other people might reject me or mock me, in Jesus I have the full and permanent acceptance of God.
  • In Christ, I am reconciled through the blood of Jesus God has brought peace to my soul and I am no longer an enemy of God, but his friend.
  • In Christ, I am new. My old life has passed away and I am now a new Creation in Jesus Christ. My past no longer enslaves me because in Jesus I have his new resurrected life.
  • In Christ, I am protected from the powers of darkness and my own sin. God holds me in his hand.
  • In Christ, I am victorious as I live my life in the resurrected victory of Christ, though sorrows and defeats may come in this life, my life is sealed in the victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • In Christ, I am loved greater than I ever hoped to be because God saw me at my worst and still choose me to be his child.

You see, when we understand our identity that is in Christ, when we grasp the indicatives of the Gospel then we have the Spirit’s power to enable us to live out the imperatives of the Gospel. True change in the Christian life results of seeking to live our life out of our new identity in Jesus Christ.

  • Because I’m righteous in Christ, means that I seek to live righteously because that’s who I am.
  • Because I’ve been made holy by Jesus, this means I hate my sin and loath it and long to rid it from my life.
  • Because I’m God’s child, it means I want to live in a way that bring honor to my Father seeking always to obey his will.
  • Because I am a new creation, its foolish for me to go back to an old sinful way of living.
  • Because I am victorious in Christ, sin no longer has an enslaving hold over me and can be put together by the Spirit’s power.
  • Because I am accepted in Christ, I can live my life without fear of failure. Though I may fail in defeating my sin, God in his grace covers my failure in Christ’s acceptance.

This is why Paul gives the indicatives “You have been raised” before he gives us the command “Seek the things that are above” or “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”. As we seek to live our Christian life we must always seek to live out our identity that comes from our union with Christ.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Our Life is Christ

Another principle from this passage that is hugely important from this passage is that all of our life belongs to God. If we understand that the Christian life is a change in our identity and a change of who we are, it means that all of our life must be lived out in that identity. If we are joined to Christ by faith, it means all of our life is his!

We tend to compartmentalize our life so much as Christians. We have our life broken up into neat little segments that should not intersect with one another. I have my work life, family life, entertainment, life, church life, spiritual life, financial life all separated in individual containers that don’t interact or touch. This is not a correct understanding of the Christian life. The Christian understands that Jesus is the center of everything he does. All areas and compartments of our life come under his authority. Our identity in Christ must be evident in every area of our life. From what we say to what we watch, from what we read to how we spend our money. Christ is Lord over every inch of our lives. Christ is over all your life, not just a segment of your life. Christ is either Lord over all, or he is not Lord at all.

“If God be God over us, we must yield him universal obedience in all things. He must not be over us in one thing, and under us in another, but he must be over us in every thing.” - Peter Bulkeley

What areas of your life is not under Jesus authority?

Understanding the Christian Hope

Paul fleshes out this idea that if our life is in Christ, if we have both died and raised with him then our life is hidden with God. The idea behind this word hidden is not so much a secret, but God’s protection. When we turn our life over to God and place our life in his hands. When we by faith make him Lord over all, we place our life in good hands.

Al Parish was a professor from my college Charleston Southern University. He was an economics and business professor who garnered quite a lot of prestige in the community. But, it came to find out that Parish squandered nearly $90 million from about 460 investors in what the government called a massive Ponzi scheme. His personal wardrobe alone was valued at $2 million. His chartered-jet travel bills ran as high as $1 million, authorities said.

Many in the Charleston community had put their lives savings in this man’s hands to manage for them. The investment and trust in this man proved to be incredibly tragic.

How opposite is this from us trusting our lives to God! When we hide our lives and place them in his hands, he will not lose us and he will not disappoint us. Rather, by the power of God we will be preserved continuing in Christ as we seek to live the Christian life. When we are united to Christ it is a permanent union that cannot be separate though we fail in stumble. If we have truly been born again and if our identity has truly changed by the grace of God, our life is hidden with Christ.

When Christ appears, this Christ who is our very life, we too will also share in his glory. How amazing is this! We who were sinners, who were enemies with God have now been brought into share in the very glory of Christ. Because we are connected and united to him by faith when Christ comes again we will not only be saved from our sins but we will share in his glory.

God in his divine power will make sure we become who God says we are. As we seek to live the Christian life we struggle and its often tough killing our sin and living in obedience. Yet, When Christ our life appears this long pilgrim journey called the Christian life will come to fruition. In a twinkling of an eye we will be changed. The process of our sanctification will be made complete and those whom God has justified he will glorify!

Can We Change?

So can people really change? Yes, but true change only comes by having a change in identity. True change can only come by receiving a new heart.

Do you want to change? The first thing you have to ask yourself is do you know Christ? Have you turned from your sins and given Christ your life. Have you put your faith in Jesus and trusted him as your savior and as your Lord? If not, change will continue to be an impossible task. Sure you may be able to change a behavior here or there by your will power, but you cannot change your heart. Only God can do such a thing. If you do not know Jesus, I invite you to come and put your faith in him and experience a new identity that gives you the power of God to truly change.

For those of you seeking to live out the Christian life, remind yourself of you who are. Remind yourself of your identity with Christ, and let the incredible transforming love of God shape you and mold you into his image. Yes, the Christian life can be difficult. Putting to death our sin is tough work as we will see next week, but it is possible and it is possible only because God has given you a new identity through Jesus. Christian, Christ is your life. Do not put the imperatives before the indicatives. Today in your struggles remind yourself of who you are in Christ and rest in the fact that when Christ is your life, by the power of God when he returns your journey will come to an end and you will appear with Christ in perfect glory.

How Do We Change This World?

This world is broken. If you've watched the news at all the past few months it seems to be more evident than ever.  This world needs change.  How are we going to do it? It seems like everyone has a cause this day. Everyone is fighting for change. Young people in particular seem to have a zeal for social issues plaguing our day – world hunger, sex trafficking, racial injustices, poverty, and the list goes on and on. It is amazing to me that so many have a zealous desire to make a difference and to make this world a better place. I too have that same desire and passion. I want my life to make a difference. I’d love to see so many of the social issues plaguing our society to be transformed, yet I am a pastor. Many have a bad taste in their mouths when it comes to pastors and many consider the church and its theologizing to be a distraction (at best) or the cause (at worst) of the social ills that plague our society.

As a pastor one of my chief tasks is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all people. Why bother proclaiming the Gospel when there are so many hurting people and social woes? Isn’t proclaiming the Gospel an inefficient use of time to make a difference in this world? Not only do many non-Christians think this way, but unfortunately many Christan’s do too. The Gospel of Jesus is not a distraction from changing the world, but rather it is the only catalyst and hope for humanity. If we want to truly transform the world in which we live, there is no better way to do it than through proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus and calling people to believe in him. Let me give you three reasons why.

1. Only the Gospel Deals With Sin

Our modern secular world has no concept for sin. As we look at a broken world that includes child abuse, sex slavery, and mass murder the secular world has no terminology to explain what is happening. The reason for the broken of the world is the evil of sin, brought about through the rebellion of humanity. The fundamental problem of this world is not poverty or slavery or rape, the greatest problem is human sin. All these other social justice issues are just simply axils to the center cause of it all – sin.

Only the Gospel gets to the core of whats wrong with us. Education reform, gun control, and other political reforms cannot transform the depraved human heart. Only the Gospel of Jesus riches down to us in our core and causes us to be changed from the inside. Only in the Gospel are we born again as new creatures in Jesus Christ. That leads us to the second point.

2. Only the Gospel Changes People

Sure we may be able to modify our behavior with therapy or will power, but only the Gospel changes who we really are. True change happens as the Spirit of God brings new life within. If we really want to see our society change it will happen as God brings revival within the hearts of people as the Gospel spread to the ends of the earth. What can change a murders heart or who can transform a child molester? Only the grace of God.

3. Only the Gospel Advances God’s Kingdom

As the Kingship of Jesus advances throughout our world in the spread of the Gospel, then society transformation will follow. Social reform follows the Kingship of Jesus, it does not cause it. As more people turn from their sin and make Jesus the Lord of their life, the kingdom of God will spread. As God’s people begin to fill this earth then and only then will society be changed.

God’s kingdom will not fully come until Jesus returns again and establishes his kingdom here on earth. Until he returns the society woes will continue to plague us as the painful throbbing of our brokenness continues. Yet, until Jesus returns the proclaiming of the Gospel should be the chief work of every Christian (not just pastors). If you really want to see the world change seek to advance the Kingdom of God.

Only Jesus can bring racial reconciliation.

Only Jesus can help us channel our sexual desires in a way that glorifies God.

Only Jesus can give the spiritual riches of his inheritance to those who are poor.

Only Jesus can fill the stomachs of the hungry with the all satisfying bread of life.

Only Jesus can take the adulterer and offer forgiveness.

Only Jesus can penetrate the darkness of this world with the light.

Jesus is the hope of this world. As we fight for social causes – and we should – lets make sure we keep the Gospel in the forefront of all we do. Lets seek to advance the kingship of Jesus through the preaching of the Gospel and as that happens by God’s grace may we see this world changed.

The Reminder of the Cross

Today is the day in the Christian calendar when we remember and reflect on the death of Jesus Christ. There seems to be great confusion over exactly what happened on that cross and why it is such a pivotal event in human history. Many think that the cross is another tragedy of social injustice as an innocent man was executed unjustly. Others think it is a sad case of religious martyrdom, a good man who faced an unfortunate death. Yet the importance of Good Friday is monumental. The tragedy of that day was not that innocent Jesus was hung by violent, barbaric men, but that Jesus was crushed by the will of His Father. As we reflect on the great wonders of the cross – that horrific place of shame and judgement – we must remember why it is Jesus came into this world and why it was that he had to die. As a result there are a few things we must remember carefully as we mediate on the meaning of Good Friday.

The Cross Reminds Us of Our Condemnation

In the 21st Century most of us recoil at the doctrine of sin. We don't want to believe that there is anything fundamentally wrong with us or with humanity. We live in a culture in which we hate to be told we are wrong, let alone that we are deserving of judgement. Yet, the Bible teaches clearly that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23) and that "the wages of sin is death" (Rom 6:23). Despite our modern presumption of naive optimism we have about our lives, the Scriptures speaks the truth that many of us do not want to hear. We are sinners who are condemned before God and deserving of His just and righteous wrath.

The cross is a reminder of our own condemnation. As we remember what Jesus went through on the cross we must remember he did so in our place. It is my sin that nailed him to that tree and it was my judgement that Jesus endured. As we look to the cross we are reminded of the wretchedness of our sin and how costly and deadly the punishment for our sins truly are. Our sin was so detestable and horrid that the only way it could be paid was through the death of His son.

The Cross Reminds Us of our Redemption

The cross not only stands as a reminder of our condemnation but as a reminder of our redemption. It was God's great plan before the foundation of the world to redeem a people for his own possession. It was God's zealous desire to spread his glory through a people that led him to send His son Jesus on the greatest rescue mission the world will ever see. Jesus entered into this world not to be just a moral teacher or a great example, but the savior of the world. The way the Messiah achieved our salvific victory was through his fatal defeat.

The cross became the symbol of Christianity for good reason; it is the a constant reminder of the great love of God towards us in the crushing of his son. It is a vivid reminder of the great cost of redemption.

The Cross Reminds us of the Love of God

There is no greater indicator of the love of God towards us than the cross. The cross is the objective reality of God's love. It cannot be doubted or thwarted. We do not have to guess if God loves us; he demonstrated his love for us at the cross. As His suffocating body hung gargling blood in horrific torture he endured the suffering as joy for us. As Jesus tells us "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends" (Jn 15:13) or as John reminds us "By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us" (1 Jn 3:16).

The Sorrowful Joy of Good Friday

The response to the cross should be a sorrowful joy and a mourning worship. At the cross we see our spiritual poverty and we weep over the deadly price of our own sin. Yet we rejoice in worship that God in his unshakeable love for us sent Jesus to die in our place.

As John Stott wrote in his classing book The Cross of Christ, "As we face the cross, then, we can say to ourselves both ‘I did it, my sins sent him there’ and ‘he did it, his love took him there'". Yes, the cross was something done by us and for us. It was our sin that placed him there but it was the love of Jesus that took him to the cross.

As you reflect over these humbling truths this day, remember the treachery of your sin, the lavish expense of your redemption, and the objective proof of God's love for you – the cross of Christ.

Yet also remember that "weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning" (Ps 30:5), and that as his body lay in the grave, resurrection is coming.

A Tale of Two Kings: The Difference Between Saul and David

Two of the most prominent Kings of Israel in the Scripture are Saul and David. These two men are given the most attention in 1 and 2 Samuel. David and Saul are foils of one another. Saul was rejected by God while David was a man after God's own heart. However, if you've studied their lives carefully both of the men had some incredible failures in their life. Saul failed to obey the Lord in his commands and David committed adultery with Bathsheba. If both men had grievous sin in their lives, why was one rejected and the other blessed? What is the difference between these two men? As we will see, the difference between the two Kings is in their response when confronted in their sin.

Saul's Response to His Sin

When Saul disobeyed the Lord's direct command, the prophet Samuel goes to confront Saul in his sin. Rather than owning up to his sin, Saul tries to justify his actions. (1 Sam 15:15) He makes excuses for his disobedience. Rather than owning his sin and asking for forgiveness, in pride he follows the foot steps of Adam and argues that his sin is not that big of a deal. He points the finger at everyone else rather than pointing it at himself.

Saul started out with a bright future. He was the first King of Israel. His anointing was cause for great celebration. Yet due to his sin and refusal to repent the Lord would leave Saul and reject him as King.

David's Response to His Sin

David too would commit some horrific sins, but his response is very different from Saul. Just as the prophet Samuel confronted Saul in his sin, the prophet Nathan would confront David. When the prophet calls David out for his adultery and conspiracy of murder, David immediately responds "I have sinned against the Lord". (2 Sam 12:13) David took ownership of his sin rather than making excuses. However David describes in detail the thoughts and emotions he was experiencing during this time in a beautiful song, Psalm 51.

David writes calling out to God for mercy. He owns his sin singing, "For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me". (Ps 51:3) David owns his sin and is truly broken. He lays himself bare before the Lord asking for forgiveness and restoration.

A Model of True Repentance

David serves for us as a model of true repentance that is accompanies saving. David sings "For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise". (Ps 51:16-17)

What God desires from us is true brokeness. Not self-justification and not even penance. He requires broken and contrite heart. In Matthew 5:3 Jesus kicks off the sermon on the Mount with the beatitudes. The first beatitude rings a powerful truth "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven". Those who enter into the kingdom of heaven are the Davids, not the Sauls.

In our sin, we must most own up to our spiritual poverty. We must confess our unworthiness and fall on our face. We must own our filthy rags that cloth us. Brokeness is the only proper response to our sin. Yet, brokeness is not only the proper response to proper, it is the only saving response. Where there is no sorrow over sin there is no genuine repentance. Those who have not recognized their spiritual poverty and their need for grace will not inherit the Kingdom. If we are not broken over our sin, then what need do we have of a savior? Only those who embrace the shame of their transgression can share in the glory of the cross.

Those who cry out "Woe is Me!" will find that God is more than gracious to blot out our transgression. By God's grace he sends a savior to spiritually destitute sinners, and rather than asking us to make up for our sins through good works (which we could never do) he sends a savior to die in our place.

Are You Saul or David?

The question is not "Am I a sinner". You are. Both Saul and David were great sinners. Yet one was broken over his sin and the other was apathetic. One was a man after God's own heart, the other a failed and tragic king. As you look at the sin in your life are you responding like Saul or David?

Do not attempt to justify your sinful actions. Own up to them and fall on your face before your God. Plead for mercy and grace. Confess your spiritual poverty. It is when we are broken that God will heal. He will take our filthy rags and give us the riches of Christ. He will forgive our sin and clothe us in the righteousness of Christ. The bitter tears of brokeness are quickly covered by the sweet blood of Jesus.

The Prostitution of Idolatry

We have whorish hearts. Every human being has a sinful nature that lusts for creation rather than the creator. Rather than embracing God, the lover of our souls, we run into the arms of false lovers. The heart behind all our sin is idolatrous adultery.  Hearing that we are all spiritual prostitutes might sting a little, but sometimes the truth does. Yet the good news is that there is a relentless lover of our souls who seeks after us.

The Rebellious Whore

In the Bible the book of Hosea describes and illustrates the spiritual prostitution that comes so naturally to our hearts. Hosea 9:1 states, "Rejoice not, O Israel! Exult not like the peoples; for you have played the whore, forsaking your God. You have loved a prostitute's wages on all threshing floors." Hosea goes on to describe how the people of God whore themselves out to food, drink, and pleasure in idolatrous worship.

Not only was this the heart of Hosea's message, Hosea's life was a living illustration. His own wife Gomer continually whored herself out to other men. Hosea not only preached about the heartbreak of adultery that God experiences in our own idolatry, he lived it.

Where are Your Idols?

Where are your idols? To which lover do you whore yourself out too? Are you fully and completely devoted to God? Although many westerners think we have progressed beyond the place of worshiping gods of stone, our society is just as pagan as ever. You can just watch a commercial break on TV and identify the idols we worship.

Sex. Money. Pleasure. Drunkenness. Partying. Ease. Comfort. Security. Success. Work. Fashion. Romance.

The list can go on and on. Although our idols are no longer carved out of wood does not mean that we are not an idolatrous culture. Despite the ways we whore ourselves out to these false gods, there is a God who is a loving husband and the greatest lovers of our souls who will not be content till we find all our joy, hope, and pleasure in Him alone.

The Lover of Our Souls

The God of the Bible is the great lover of our souls. He is the broken hearted husband who wants to love and cherish His bride. He is a jealous God who is not pleased when his children bend their knees to worship fake gods. He is a God who seeks us, who pursues us, and who resiliently chases after us. He made a way to purchase our freedom from the the spiritual sex slavery in which we find ourselves.

God purchases our redemption from the chains and control these idols have over us. He did it by laying down his life for us. He is the husband who came and took on the punishment, shame, and wrath that you and I deserve. His name is Jesus and on that cross the great lover of your soul provided a way for you to find true joy, peace, and pleasure in the warmth of His glorious presence. Where those false lovers disappoint and seek to use and abuse us, God loves us unconditionally. Despite our sin and disobedience He washes us and makes us clean in Jesus Christ.

Run to the Arms of Jesus

I do not know how you stumbled across this blog, but if your reading this the great lover of your soul longs to have you for himself. Turn away from the false lovers in your life that leave you empty and unsatisfied. Run to the arms of Jesus and grab his nail pierced hands. Stop prostituting yourself out to idols and turn to your savior and place your faith in Him. The great news about God is that not matter how great our sin may be, His grace is greater still. He extends His love to all, even to whorish spiritual prostitutes like us.