Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Following in His Steps

In my article, What Jesus Did Not Do on the Cross, which I highly recommend reading, I highlighted twenty-one things the Lord did not do during His betrayal, passion, and crucifixion. One of those was that He did not sin. Today I would like to focus on that one in particular, since He did not sin at any point during His earthly life. Let's see what the Scriptures say:

He Did Not Sin
We know for certain that the Lord did not commit any sin, because the Bible tells us so. It says:

"For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin." (Heb 4:15)

I have highlighted in my article, The Temptation of Christ, how He overcame all the devil's temptations in the wilderness and committed no sin. What was true of that experience was true of His entire life. He never sinned.

The apostle Paul affirmed the sinlessness of Christ when he wrote: "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2Co 5:21)

The apostle Peter wrote: "For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth." (1Pe 2:21-22)

We learn two important things from this passage. First, that Jesus committed no sin, and secondly that He left us an example that we should follow in His steps.

He Suffered for Righteousness
Another important point that Peter made in verse 21 was that we have been called to suffer. This is clearer when we read it in context with the verse before it:

"For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps..." (1Pe 2:20-21)

Later in that same epistle, he further emphasized this aspect of participating in Christ's sufferings, when he wrote: "But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." (1 Pe 4:13, NIV)

The apostle Paul affirmed this in his epistle to the Philippians, when he wrote: "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him..." (Phil 1:29, NIV). For more on that topic, please see my article, The Fiery Sufferings of the Believer.

Follow Him
As I have just mentioned, Peter said that Jesus Christ is your example, and you must follow in his steps (1 Pe 2:21). Truly in all things, Jesus is our perfect example. The apostle John also said the same thing in his epistle: "Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did." (1 Jn 2:6).

This is what Jesus Himself taught His disciples. He said: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me." (Mt 16:24, NIV). When He said we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him, He meant just what He said. We must follow in His steps in every aspect of life.

These are the requirements in order to be a disciple of Christ. He said, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be My disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple." (Lk 14:26-27, NIV 1978).

This is a daily requirement: "Then he said to them all: 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'" (Lk 9:23, NIV)

On another occasion He said, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Mt 11:29, NIV). This also speaks of learning from Him the way to live and doing what He did.

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
As that old hymn I Have Decided to Follow Jesus says, "The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back, no turning back. Though none go with me, still I will follow." According to Wikipedia, "...the lyrics are based on the last words of Nokseng, a Garo man, a tribe from Meghalaya [India] which then was in Assam, who along with his family decided to follow Jesus Christ in the middle of the 19th century through the efforts of an American Baptist missionary. Called to renounce his faith by the village chief, the convert declared, 'I have decided to follow Jesus.' His two children were killed and in response to threats to his wife, he continued, 'Though none go with me, still I will follow.' His wife was killed, and he was executed while singing, 'The cross before me, the world behind me.' This display of faith is reported to have led to the conversion of the chief and others in the village."

The article goes on to say that "The formation of these words into a hymn is attributed to the Indian missionary Sadhu Sundar Singh. The melody is also Indian, and entitled 'Assam' after the region where the text originated. An American hymn editor, William Jensen Reynolds, composed an arrangement," which we now know as the wonderful old hymn I Have Decided to Follow Jesus. It aptly describes the point I am making in this article.

No Turning Back
As that hymn says, once we have decided to follow Jesus, we must never turn back, no matter what happens. As Jesus said, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." (Lk 9:62, NIV). For more on this, please see No Turning Back and Remember Lot's Wife.

Putting it All Together
Since Jesus committed no sin, then we should follow in His steps and follow in His example, which means we should also commit no sin, as I explained in my article Aim for Perfection. Just as He denied Himself and took up His cross, we also must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. And just as He suffered for righteousness, we must participate in His sufferings, too.

I hope this has helped to encourage you in your walk with God to seek Him with all your heart. Fight the good fight, keep the faith, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus! The cross before you, the world behind you, no turning back, no turning back. Though none go with you, still you must follow Jesus without turning back.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. Other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®. Image from Christ Lutheran Church, which may be subject to copyright, used according to Fair Use Act for educational and commentary purposes only.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like Aim for Perfection, Called to Be Blameless, Christian PerfectionWalking in the Perfect Will of God, For the Glory of God Alone, Crucified with ChristWhat Jesus Did Not Do on the Cross, Sins That Will Keep You From HeavenThe Glory of Martyrdom for Christ, The Obedience of Faith, Restored Truth, Ask for the Ancient Paths, Pleasing the Lord, Clean Hands and a Pure Heart, Salvation with Fear and Trembling, Righteous Deeds and White Robes, The Ways of Life, The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, Is Tithing Required for Christians?, Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Having a Servant's Heart, Alcohol and Cigarettes -- Ten Divine Revelations, Divorce -- Three Divine Revelations, A Warning for Married Christian Couples, Separation from the World, and Standing in the Gap. My daughter has also written a lovely poem called Cross Bearing. You can access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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