Do our actions reflect our words? We’ve all herd the expression “do as I say, not as I do.” Is that an ok attitude for a Christian to have in God’s eyes? In Matthew 23 we hear Jesus begin the chapter by describing the pharisees in this manner when He says:
“The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” – Matthew 23:2-3
He then proceeds to spend the rest of the chapter telling the Pharisees off, calling them hypocrites seven times, fools twice, blind twice, dead, unclean, serpents, generation of vipers, and children of hell, all in this one chapter! Jesus also tells them in this chapter that they will receive a greater damnation then most. Why? Because they know what they should be doing, but chose not to do it.
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” – James 4:17
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” – Isaiah 59:1-2
Those that know what they should be doing yet choose not to do so are held to a higher standard of accountability by God. If we know what we are to do, as the pharisees did, yet do it not then it is sin according to God. Also according to God, sin separates us from Him. This verse in Isaiah also implies that a constant refusal to do what God tells us when we know better, will lead to a state of being reprobate. It clearly states in this passage that, though God’s arms are not too short that He can not save us, when we choose to refuse to hear Him, He can choose to refuse to hear us as well. There are many accounts in scripture where God told a believing people that if they continued in their willful sin, He would turn from them, send judgment (which ultimately is simply the removal of His protection), and would no longer hear their cries for help. If we refuse to turn from our sins with the full knowledge of God in our hearts, there will come a point where God will turn from us. This may not be the comfortable love, grace, God of a million chances message you hear in most churches these days but it’s the truth, it’s the Word of God. When it comes to the conditions that will keep you from an eternity of torment in hell, totally broken, separated from the love of God and all that is joyful, who’s word are you going to take? The world’s or God’s? God’s word says, that though God desires that none should parish (2 Peter 3:9), there is a point that if His commandments are not heeded, He will have enough. He then gives us what we have shown by our actions, to really want, sin, which is separation from God.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” – Romans 1:28
“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” – Titus 1:16
So know this, we must choose to serve God with our whole hearts, our whole obedience, and our whole lives. We must come to Him by faith, but we must stay with Him by choice serving Him with our every work and action. Understand that God and sin are like two powerful repelling magnates. They can not be brought together. You can not hold them both, which ever one you cling to will be repelled by the other. Our faith must be in God alone and our works (or actions) must serve God alone. If we refuse to let go of our sin, then by default, we choose to let go of God.
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” – Matthew 6:24
“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: (James says sarcastically) the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” – James 2:19-26