Skin Deep

Describe your salvation experience. Testify! Talk about the new and improved you. What’s different in your life now that you have placed your faith in Jesus? What changes has the Lord brought about? How does 2 Corinthians 5:17 play out in your life? “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Don’t let your salvation experience seem like skin deep.

General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, prophesied in part over 100 years ago that among other apostate practices, the end time church would be characterized by “…forgiveness without repentance, and salvation without regeneration.”

I clearly remember my salvation experience. When I repented of my sins, the Lord put a new heart inside me. I was changed! What does the word repent mean? Simply put, repentance involves a change of mind. In other words, we live according to a new set of rules. We march to the beat of a new drummer. We take on the nature of our Savior. We are no longer sin driven. We are His righteousness. 

No one had to tell me that premarital sex was wrong. No one had to remind me not to swear and use vulgarity. No one had to tell me not to hate. No one had to tell me that drunkenness was sinful. These were Introductory 101 issues the indwelling Spirit taught me. I’m concerned that many in today’s church have overlooked the believer’s responsibility to guard his testimony. This is not a judgment issue, it’s a sanctification issue. Christians are epistles known and read by men”.

Often, I hear, “You’re judging me. This is just who I am. Quit trying to change me.” Another argument insists that grace covers our sins to the exclusion of personal holiness. Believers in Jesus are to live set apart from their “former ways.” Yes, some convictions are slow to develop, but if the Bible clearly forbids a certain activity or sin, then our response to obey is non-negotiable. 

For some, salvation is only skin deep. They reject and refuse to obey specific principles found in God’s Word. Sadly, many become victims, while developing a “poor me” mindset. Others excuse their behavior, claiming that God understands. Believers who don’t understand the community of faith and the absolute necessity of guarding their testimony, often bring reproach on the gospel. No one should expect perfection – no one can deliver perfection – but this does not negate the believer’s responsibility to walk in holiness before the Lord. 

Holiness has taken some bad raps over the years, but the necessity of living above the reproach of sin, the flesh and the devil has never been eliminated from Christian living. Ask yourself, “What habits, even sins, have I embraced that directly conflict with Biblical teaching? If any, am I willing to repent? Have I brought reproach on my beautiful Savior, by the way I speak, how I treat others, or lifestyle habits? For, I never want to make my Savior sad. “And now, little children, remain in relationship with Jesus, so that when he appears we can have confidence and not be ashamed in front of him when he comes” (1 John 2:28). 

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