The Bible says, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:20). "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23a). But, when we are saved, we no longer have to fear the penalty of sin because "the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23b).
Because Jesus died in our place, we no longer have to pay that penalty. He paid it for us, and through His grace, He gave us forgiveness so that we would not have to die for our sin. And the Bible says that because we have His grace, now, we will never, ever have to face our sin. Oh, you'll stand before God some day as a Christian to give an account of the works you have done in the flesh as a believer in order to receive your crowns, but you will never be judged for your sin again. You know why? Because God judged your sin in Jesus on the cross. Once and for all, He paid the whole penalty.
God's grace has been given to us to teach us how to renounce sin and worldly lusts in our lives. Titus 2:11-12 says "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age . . ."
The grace of God has been given to us so we can live our life "in this present age." How do we deal with the power of sin in the world today?
We are to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts in our lives. The word "deny" actually is a word which is sometimes translated in the New Testament by the word "disown." The Bible says that when we become Christians and we understand what God has done for us through salvation, there comes a point where we say, "I'm going to disown that. I'm going to deny that. I'm not going to live like that anymore." The Bible says that when we are saved, God puts a desire within us to live a life that's different than the life we used to live.
In our culture today, there is a great emphasis on grace, but it's not the grace of the Bible. It's the grace of toleration. It's a grace of acceptance. It's a grace that says all truth is truth, no matter what it is, even if it is contradictory. It's a grace that says, "You have your truth, and I have my truth. Can't we all just get along?" That's sort of the grace we have today. And grace today to so many people means, "I can do anything I want. I can live any way I want. I can walk any way I want, and I'll still be OK because thank God for His grace!" That's not the grace of the Bible.
The Bible says that the grace of God has been given to us in order to teach us how to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. My friend, if you are a Christian, the Bible says that God has put His divine nature in you, and there is something about the divine nature of God that doesn't get along with ungodliness and worldly lusts. And it's the grace of God that teaches that.
The best illustration I can give you goes back a few years to "The Passion of the Christ." After seeing that film with several staff, there was no talking. It was a profound silence. "The Passion of the Christ" overwhelmed us. The awful suffering of Jesus, especially the beatings that were shown in the film. We recognized what He had given in order for us to receive God's grace. Do you remember that?
I carried something away from that that has had a long-lasting effect on my life. I remember thinking in the days following that, "Lord God, don't ever let me do anything that would hurt Your heart. Don't ever let me do anything to bring shame upon Your name. Lord God, help me to live a life that in some way expresses my gratitude for what Jesus did for me."
You see, the grace of God teaches us how to live godly. The more we understand about God's grace, the more we want to live for God.
The grace of God teaches us that we should live soberly. It teaches us to rule our self. To be sober minded -- to think clearly and carefully, to have a disciplined mind, to see things as they really are, to be tough-minded.
First Peter says, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (5:8).
When it comes to temptation in our world today, you really need to think straight because the enemy is really smart, crafty, and he’s already setting traps. He wants to devour your influence and mine, to destroy the church, to destroy pastors. He wants to destroy all the church leadership. You know why? To drown the influence of the church and the influence of Christ. My friends, we've got to start thinking straight about temptation, not putting ourselves in positions where we are vulnerable, understanding that we have to stand up and be who God has called us to be.
I once heard a TV preacher say: "Men of God, God isn’t going to make all the women in the world ugly just so you can be faithful to your wife." What he was saying is that you've got to be sober minded about that kind of temptation, right? You've got to think straight.
The grace of God has been given to teach us how we are to renounce sin and how we are to rule our own spirit by the grace of God.
I'm glad you asked.
Number one: Everything you and I need to be godly, we already have. Here's what the Scripture says: "As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:3-4).
How do you get godly?
First, through this Book. The Bible is God's tool to make us like His Son. God's Word is the manual on godliness.
The second thing is that a life of godliness is attained through hard work. The Bible teaches that we are not saved by good works. We are saved for good works.
We are saved by faith, but we are not saved by faith that is alone. When we are saved, God gives us a desire to be godly. How can you be godly? You have to work at it.
I Timothy chapter 4 spells it out in real clear detail: ". . .exercise yourself toward godliness." How? "Reject profane and old wives' fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come" (verses 7-8).
He's saying yes, it's good to stay fit. But remember, in comparison to being spiritually fit, physical fitness is not even in the same universe. For spiritual fitness not only helps us in the life to come, but it helps us in the life now, the present age. And there isn't any way to be godly apart from the discipline of reading the Bible.
Well, you say, "I usually don’t feel like reading the Bible."
Do it anyway. Do you work out in the gym because you just love every minute of it and you can’t wait to get there? You know when I feel good about working out? When I'm driving home from having done it. You get into the Word of God, and God helps you to become godly because you begin to discipline yourself in prayer and in reading the Word of God.