BURNING THE PAST
Glory and adoration unto God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has not left us in darkness and has given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness through Christ (2 Pet. 1:3). There is no other reason for this article other than to encourage and admonish ourselves to shun entirely all forms of ungodly ways of living that we were living before our conversion into Christ. As we all know, the primary purpose for the existence of man is to honour and glorify God, and to become God- like as it is humanly possible. This being so, everything that leads a man away from God is evil, and everything that brings him nearer to God is good (cf Jas. 4:17).
The golden text from which we are to learn many lessons is Acts 19:19, "Also, many of those who have practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totalled fifty thousand pieces of silver." Here are some people who burned their magic books as a result of believing the gospel. Vss 8,9 record Paul preaching in the synagogue and the response of the people that heard him. Also, vs. 18 records that many of them believed, came and confessed and showed their deeds.
These magical artists burned their very costly magic books. My brothers and sisters in Christ, you and I can do likewise, by shunning completely, all ungodly ventures, habits or ways of life in which we were before our obedience to the gospel. Maybe these acts of ungodliness are earning us prestige, popularity, material, and financial benefits. But since they are contrary to the will of God, we must shun them for Christ's sake (cf Gal. 1;10). Paul, the apostle, says, "But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ..." (Phil. 3:7,8).
Having put on Christ, we are new creatures in Christ. We are to walk in newness of life, in as much as our old man has been crucified with Christ. Were we fornicators before we were illuminated? All illicit forms of sexual encounters between men and women, men and men, women and women, humans and animals, should be done away with because it is certain that all fornicators and all unclean people will be denied of heavenly inheritance (Eph. 5:3-6; 1 Thes. 4:3; 1 Cor. 5:9; 6:18; Rom. 6;1-14; 2 Cor. 6:17; 7:1).
On the other hand, it is an established fact that all liars shall have their own part in hell. This is terrible! If it is lying that has become our habit before submitting to Christ, it is imperative to do everything possible to stop it, and to learn how to be faithful always (Col. 3:9).
"Let the thief no longer steal but rather let him labour, doing honest work with his hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need" (Eph. 4:28). Since we have become Christians, we have to do away completely with all forms of theft: robbery, pilfering and stealing.
Concerning what we eat or drink, Rom. 14:21 reads: "It is right not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother stumble". Shall we for the sake of food destroy the work of God, by causing others to fall? Let us think over this! If we continue in cigarette smoking, drinking of alcohol or eating of things offered unto idols, definitely, we will be a stumbling-block to the weak Christians and unbelievers (cf 1 Cor. 8:9-11; Isa. 28:7).
We certainly must maintain a cordial spiritual relationship with God. We must renounce the world (i.e. sin that is in the world) and come out of it (2 Cor. 6:14-18; 1 Jno. 2:15-17).
May Almighty God help us as we strive to form our lives and shape our characters in harmony with His will.
By Matthew Taiwo Oloruntoba of Nigeria in Words of Life, Vol. 7, No. 1, Jan-Mar. 1999.
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