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Luke 3:1-9 by Robert Dean
Dunk forward or dunk backward? Arguments over questions like this have wreaked havoc in Church history as "baptism wars" rage through the centuries. Listen to this lesson to learn what the Bible teaches about two categories of baptism and about whether baptism is necessary for salvation. See how Christian baptism speaks of the changed life of the believer. Learn about John the Baptist's mission to proclaim the coming Messiah and what Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom of God mean.
Series:Matthew (2013)
Duration:57 mins 41 secs

The King's Herald. Prepare for the Kingdom
Luke 3:1-9
Matthew Lesson #010
November 3, 2013
www.deanbibleministries.org

In Matthew 3:1-17 the focus is on baptism. This is the main doctrine that is covered in those verses and we need to understand that because it is one of the most divisive doctrines of Scripture historically. There has been bloodshed over the doctrine of baptism, especially during the period of the Protestant Reformation as the true doctrine of believers' baptism was being recovered. It was viewed as a threat not only to the established church in terms of the Roman Catholic church but also the nascent Protestant churches still held to a view of a unity of church and state, and therefore entry into the church symbolized by baptism was also viewed as a civil statement of loyalty to the state. So when the Anabaptists—a term that simply means to be baptized again, because at that time most people had been baptized as an infant—came along teaching that the Bible expresses that believers should be baptized at the time of their conversion, not as infant, they were viewed as a political threat.

Baptism as it was originally practiced in the early church was a believers' baptism by immersion. But it wasn't long before that began to change. By the end of the second century and into the third century, because there began to be the beginning of allegorical interpretation and the confusion and identification of the church with Israel, all of a sudden baptism began to be compared to circumcision. Circumcision was part of the Abrahamic covenant. It was an act that was to take place on the eighth day of the life of a male infant. And it had to do with the parents making a commitment to raise the son according to the Mosaic Law. Baptism is not a commitment on the part of the parents. It is an individual statement by an individual of his own faith, his own volition, his own relationship to Christ. But because of the influence of allegorical interpretation and this identification of Israel with the church that slipped in. And also because of that identification of Israel with the church and the theocracy of the Old Testament there was the development of what became known as the Roman Catholic church they began to develop priests. There is no mention of priests for the church in the New Testament. Priests come out of an Old Testament background. So they are borrowing all of this stuff that they shouldn't be borrowing from the Old testament because they don't understand the distinction between Israel and the church.

Believers' baptism was something that was introduced by Christ and it was by immersion. But by the fourth century AD baptism had become a rite for infants, done by sprinkling because they didn't want to drown the little babies, and this was the normal mode of baptism up until the Protestant Reformation and the development of the Anabaptist movement. It is at that point historically that Protestants began to move back to a literal and consistent interpretation of Scripture and more and more doctrines of the original church began to be covered.

To understand baptism, which is the background for those whole passage, and its relationship to John's ministry and his proclamation of the kingdom—the point of the first nine verses where we are introduced to the King's herald (John the Baptist) and his message which is to prepare for the kingdom—we have to understand this concept of kingdom, and John's baptism which is not believers' baptism. John's baptism was integrally related to his message to prepare for the kingdom which was near, and that is because the King was about to be on the scene.

There are two types of baptism in the Scripture. We identify them as real baptisms, because they are not ritual baptisms. Ritual baptisms have to do with a ritual related to immersion in water, whereas a real baptism is something that takes place in terms of identification but it is a real event as opposed to just a ritual. Real baptisms don't involve ritual; they are real spiritual identifications that are made by God. There are actually five, as we have studied many times. There is the baptism of Noah. Those who were identified with Noah survived the flood; those who were not were the ones who got wet. So we see that getting wet is not the idea in baptism; it is identification. We have the baptism of Moses in 1 Corinthians 10:13, the baptism by the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:13. There is also the baptism by fire in Matthew 3:11 and there is the baptism of Christ, which has to do with His identification with our sin on the cross. This is different from Jesus' baptism which is the one performed by John the Baptist.

Then we have the three ritual baptisms, which do involve immersion and they depict some sort of identification. The object that is immersed is identified with something and the picture is a picture with water of cleansing, of purification. There were several kinds of baptisms that occurred in the Old Testament ritual, usually washings or immersions that were done by a person for himself. Ultimately these were not just rituals but an identification with something new. The word baptism, even though its literal meaning is to dip or plunge or immerse, signified something. It had a literal meaning but it also had a metaphorical or symbolic meaning, and what it symbolized was entrance into a new stage of life, a new period of life, entrance into something that was new, and it indicate also an intrinsic change of character. That is important to understand in terms of the background of baptism because we don't often hear that taught.

But if we think about what we have learned on the baptism by the Holy Spirit—Paul develops it in Romans 6:3ff—it is that spiritual identification with Christ on the cross that is part of the destruction of the tyranny and power of the sin nature over our lives. We still have a sin nature after we are saved but that tyranny we had prior to salvation is no longer there. We have studied in Romans 6 that prior to salvation we were in bondage to sin; we were slaves to sin. At the point of our salvation we get a new position in Christ and we are now said to be slaves to righteousness. So there is an ethical dimension to what happens at the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We are now identified with Christ so that we can now live a new life in obedience to Him. It is not just a matter of positional cleansing; it is positional cleansing with a view to a changed life.

This is important to understand because what we are going to see in John's message, when he confronts the Pharisees by verse 8 he says that they are to produce fruit consistent with repentance. We usually don't emphasize the fact that as a result of baptism there is supposed to be a change. It is not, as the lordship crowd emphasizes, an automatic or inevitable shift. But it is an ethical mandate. A new spiritual life should result. So ritual baptisms are visualizing for us something that is to transpire in the spiritual realm, the non-visible realm, and it is emphasizing some sort of identification with a view toward a change in the object. 

The term baptism (bapto) was a term that was used primarily in the fuller's art or industry where they would take a raw cloth and firstly immerse it in bleach so that it would be pure white, and then they would immerse it in a dye so that the cloth is changed intrinsically. That is the imagery that is behind this word baptism. It definitely implies or suggests that there is going to be a newness of life following baptism.

Of the ritual baptisms there are three. There is John's baptism, which was a baptism of repentance because of the nearness of the kingdom of God. That was limited in time to the period from the beginning of John's ministry until the Pharisees, Sadducees, the religious establishment rejects Jesus' claims to be the Messiah. From that point on this baptism for repentance for the kingdom is no longer in effect. Then there is the baptism of Jesus, which is unique. Jesus was baptized by John but Jesus did not receive the baptism of John. John's baptism involved repentance in relation to sin and Jesus as the God-Man was not a sinner. He was perfect and therefore did not have anything to repent of. There was no change there. Jesus' baptism was like the washing of the priest at the inauguration of his ministry. It was something Jesus in His humanity submitted to as a public, visible identification with God's plan in His life to inaugurate His public ministry on the earth. The third kind of ritual baptism mentioned in the New Testament is the believers' baptism (Matthew 28:19, 20), which is commanded for every believer. It is not really optional. Jesus doesn't make it optional. Every example we have of conversion in the book of Acts is always followed by believers' baptism.

In the early church this they never would have thought of the idea that you could be saved and not baptized. Not that baptism conveyed any grace to you, not that baptism makes you a better believer, not that baptism does anything in addition for you spiritually. Those who are baptized are not more saved or anymore spiritual than anybody else, but this was a visible, physical symbol and representation of what transpired in the spiritual realm in terms of our baptism by the Spirit and identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. If baptism had been taught correctly historically and its significance taught in terms of its representation of the baptism by the Holy Spirit then we wouldn't have a lot of confusion about the spiritual life, because people would actually understand how the power of the sin nature is broken at the point of our justification.

As we get into our passage we begin in Matthew 3:1 with a very brief introduction to John's arrival. Luke gives us a little more detail but Matthew gives us the abbreviated version. Matthew 3:1 NASB "Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea…" "In those days" is just a generic term for stating a particular time John the Baptist came preaching. It doesn't identify the time at all. But Luke, who is much more concerned about historical detail and precision is writing not simply to the Jewish believers about the kingdom, has a broader focus for his Gospel in terms of the salvation of all men and that the Messiah came not just for Israel but for all men, gives us a little more detail. He locates this chronologically for us and this give us an idea when John's ministry began. We don't have any kind of historical note like this in terms of the beginning of Jesus' ministry but there seems to be a fairly close proximity in the arrival of Jesus to the beginning of John's ministry. So we can ascertain from this when this ministry began.

He lists seven different rulers here, moving from the broadest authority in terms of the Caesar Tiberius, down to regional authorities, and when we date these authorities we can conclude that John's ministry began somewhere between AD 26 and AD 36. We can be a little more specific than that because in the first verse Luke tells us that it was in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. It may surprise you to know that there are actually six different views as to when that occurred. That is because people come up with different ways in which they calculate when a reign began and a reign continued. According to Roman reckoning Tiberius became Caesar in August of 14 AD, and so 15 years later would be 29.    

If you have been around Christianity very long you know that there are different people who have taken a 30 AD date for Christ's crucifixion, a 31, 32 or 33; but it seems that the best solution is that Jesus had a ministry that lasted a little over three years and that He began His ministry when He was baptized by John the Baptist sometime in AD 29. So fifteen years after Tiberius became Caesar would put us in AD 29 and this would be the beginning of His ministry.

Tiberius was the adopted son and successor of Augustus and under his reign the empire begins its first slide. It had been in ascendancy through the reign of Augustus and begins to slide down from Tiberius on, not that it slid that much but it is definitely a time that is marked by power plays and by some of the most sex-based religions that history has ever seen. Slavery was prevalent throughout the Roman empire, there was nothing that protected the slaves and they were treated quite brutally and cruelly, and there were many other things that were done in the Roman empire that were quite horrible. So this is a time that while there was political stability it was a particularly brutal period in which to live, and there was a hope for something better. The world religions and philosophies were relatively hopeless in their views of the future.

Pontius Pilate is called governor here, which is a general term. Often people will read that he was a procurator but actually the term procurator did not come into usage for about another fifteen years during the reign of Claudius Caesar during the mid-forties. The correct term at this point was that he was the prefect. Governor is just the general term that would have included any of these other titles. Then we have two sons of Herod the Great mentioned. Herod died not long after the birth of our Lord and his kingdom was divided amongst his sons. The eldest son Archelaus received Judea and Samaria until he was banished in AD 6. Herod Antipas inherited Galilee.

Then there is mention of the two high priests Annas and Caiaphas. It is interesting that grammatically Luke uses a singular term. He doesn't say as the English translates it, Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests. That is inaccurate. The Greek uses a singular noun: they were high priest. The reason is that as Rome dominated the area of Judea they kept a lid on any possible insurrection or revolt, and they controlled the high priesthood. They allowed Annas to be high priest for only nine years before they yanked him out. They tried two or three others as high priest before they settled upon Caiaphas, a good yes man, and he was high priest for about fifteen years. But Caiaphas was Annas's son-in-law and Annas was the real power behind the throne. According to Scripture a high priest was appointed for life and so in the view of the people Annas was still the high priest whereas the Roman appointee was the functional high priest. Luke has been quite correct and sly here by referring to them both with the singular "high priest." He is indicating his understanding of the political realities related to religious leadership at that time.

It is at that time historically that John the Baptist came. The name "Baptist" simply means the one who is known for baptizing. Luke 3:2 NASB "in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness." Matthew just gives us a more general statement that John arrives on the scene. Luke gives us the more detail that John's arrival on the scene wasn't generated by John's own volition; the Word of God came to him. That means there was a revelation to him that it was time for him to begin his ministry. "Word" here is the Greek word hrema. logos is a broader word. It can mean a written word or a spoken word, but hrema means spoken word. That tells us that John begins his ministry as a result of God giving him an audible command to begin his ministry.

And he comes preaching the Word of God. There are different words used to describe the pulpit ministry of a pastor. One word is kerusso; another word is didasko. didasko means to instruct, explain, to teach; kerusso means to proclaim, to announce or to herald something. I ran across this quote the other day by Archibald Hunter in his work on The Message of the New Testament. He comments that in the New Testament the verb kerusso does not mean "to give an informative or hortatory or edifying discourse expressed in beautifully arranged words with a melodious voice." This is how most people think of preaching—as a certain style, as a rhetorical style. This is dead wrong and this is one way the modern church has perverted Scripture. He goes on to say, "kerusso means to proclaim an event." It is not the format or the structure or the style, it means to proclaim an event and it is different from teaching. And so usually what we call a sermon on Sunday morning or any other time involves both—a proclamation of a truth as well as the explanation and instruction of the meaning of that truth. But preaching is not what Umptee-dump church does on Sunday morning. That buys into a non-biblical use of those terms. We have to be so careful about our vocabulary because we get sucked into using biblical phrases in non-biblical ways by our culture and by the dumbed-down Christian culture that we are a product of. So preaching simply means he is proclaiming an event.        

" … in the wilderness." This isn't a forest. This really should be translated desert because this is what this area of Judea looked like at the time. John has to come to the desert. He doesn't come to Jerusalem or the temple, the center of Judaism at the time, because the legalism of the religious leaders of the time had basically removed truth and the Word of God from the temple and from Jerusalem. So John comes to the desert, not to the religious leaders because they are in complete apostasy at that time. He has to go out into the desert and it is the religious leaders that come to him.

He has a message, a very brief message. Matthew 3:2 NASB "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." The word repent is the Greek word metanoeo. Unfortunately this word was translated into English with the word "repent", which does a tremendous disservice to John the Baptist and his message. Because the English word repent has the idea of being sorry for something, having a certain amount of remorse for something. But that is not what this word emphasizes. That is another Greek word, metamelomai, which means to regret. But metanoeo—noeo comes from the noun nous, meaning the mind—refers to a change of thinking or a change of attitude. It is not talking about being sorry for sin but a change of attitude toward the message of God. So John isn't calling upon the people to have remorse or to feel sorry but to change their thinking, their mental attitude in relation to the Word of God, and to turn from disobedience to obedience. In fact, there is really no one English word that captures the meaning of the Greek word repent. But it goes back to a message that is given in the Old Testament. Remember the background for what John is doing is the Old Testament. He is the last of the Old Testament prophets.

In Deuteronomy 28, as in Leviticus 26, God warned the Israelites through Moses that there would come a time when they would turn away from God and that they would worship false gods. When they did that God promised a series of judgments that would come upon them, the most severe of which would be that God would remove them from the promised land. In other words, their continued residence in the land God promised was based on their ethical behavior, their spiritual obedience to God. That is important to understand for where Matthew goes in the next few chapters. That is why John says to the Pharisees that they must bear fruit that is consistent with their repentance. Just turning to God and saying, "Okay, now I am going to worship God" and then just going through the formalities of faith isn't enough. There has to be a change internally and obedience. This is why God says to the Israelites that if they didn't conform in their moral, ethical, spiritual obedience to the Law, then they would be removed from the land. It is not enough just to go through the external formality, which is what the Pharisees emphasized.

So in both Leviticus 27 and Deuteronomy 28 there is the warning that God will eventually remove them from the land and scatter them to the four corners of the earth. Then there would come a time, though, when the people would eventually turn back to God. This is the Hebrew word shub, and that is the counterpart of metanoeo. Deuteronomy 30:1 NASB "So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call {them} to mind in all nations where the LORD your God has banished you, [2] and you return to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons…" Notice it is not just a return, it is an obedience as well. [3] " … then the LORD your God will restore you …" God will restore them to the land.

This is the message we hear in Joel 2:12 NASB "Yet even now," declares the LORD, 'Return to Me [shub] with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning'…"

Isaiah 55:7 NASB "Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return [shub] to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon."

Ezekiel 33:11 NASB "Say to them, 'As I live!' declares the Lord GOD, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?' … [15] {if a} wicked man restores a pledge, pays back what he has taken by robbery, walks by the statutes which ensure life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die." This is not talking about eternal life or eternal death; this is talking about living and enjoying all the blessings in the land. That is based upon an assumption that the people would walk in obedience.

So the message that John was giving was one that resonated with the Jews if they understood the Old Testament message of the prophets, the last of which was John. He says, "Turn, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

This is where we get into an understanding of the kingdom. There are a lot of distortions on the kingdom. People think there is a spiritual form of the kingdom, the kingdom is inside you, and all of these other things that don't do justice to the Scripture. What John is announcing is something very simple. That is, that the Davidic kingdom that was promised and prophesied in the Old Testament is here. God is going to give it to you now under the condition that you turn to Him and walk in obedience. It is here if you will accept it. And when they heard the term "kingdom of heaven" they knew exactly what was being talked about. This is a term that was used in the Aramaic of Daniel chapter seven.

There are four reasons why we think that this is the promised Davidic kingdom. First of all, both John and Jesus assume that the people know what they are talking about when they showed up. They don't ever explain it. They assume that the people know from the Old Testament what the kingdom is that they are proclaiming. Secondly, they only give this message to Israel. This isn't a message that goes to the Gentiles. When Jesus sends out His disciples in Matthew chapter ten He says, "Only go to the house of Israel." Third, we see that the disciples later on expect a literal kingdom in Matthew 20:20, 21. Then after the crucifixion and the resurrection and the Lord is teaching them for forty days, and He taught them about the kingdom of God. And right before the ascension they said, "Lord, is it at this time you are going to restore the kingdom?" They understand it as a literal, physical kingdom. Fourth, in the passages we are talking about in the early parts of the Gospels the kingdom can't be identified as the church because the church hasn't been announced yet. There is no indication of a coming church age or church, or something different from the Jewish people until late in Christ's ministry, and that is only a hint. It is not really revealed until after the ascension. So this must be the prophesied Davidic kingdom.

There is also confusion about the terminology: the kingdom of God versus the kingdom of heaven. Some of you have been around long enough to have heard some pastors say that the kingdom of heaven refers to one thing and the kingdom of God refers to something else. This is completely false. This was typical of a lot of dispensational teaching in the early to mid part of the twentieth century. However, it is a failure to properly observe usage of the terms. Only Matthew uses the term kingdom of heaven. He uses it thirty-one times. In parallel passages in Luke and Mark the phrase kingdom of God is used. Matthew uses the term kingdom of God only four times. When we read in Matthew "the kingdom of heaven is" and we read the same event in Luke and it says the kingdom of God there is a reason. Matthew is an observant Jew who is being sensitive to the sensibilities of his Jewish readership who don't want to use the name of God. It was typical in that age to substitute heaven for God, just as today if you go to a synagogue and they are reading Scripture and come to the name Yahweh, they will read either Hashem or Adonai. They don't pronounce the name of God, but it means the same thing.

Kingdom of heaven was a term that referred to the kingdom of God and was popular among the rabbis in the rabbinical literature at that time, and it meant the same thing as the kingdom of God.

In the other Gospels only the term kingdom of God is used. In Mark, Luke and John. It is used forty-seven times in total—31 times in Luke, 14 times in Mark, and interestingly only 2 times in John. The word kingdom by itself is used 19 times in Matthew, only 4 times in Mark, 13 times in Luke, and one time He comes announcing the coming of the King in John. Note that John only mentions the kingdom of God twice, kingdom once. The other Gospels talk about the kingdom a lot. Why? John writes his Gospel at approximately 90 AD. The temple has been destroyed since 70 and the kingdom is not being offered anymore. The kingdom is not an issue anymore after the temple is destroyed. So John barely mentions it—only in the episode in John 3 with Nicodemus and in one other place does he use the terminology.

Kingdom of God is the same as kingdom of heaven and both refer to the literal, physical rule of Messiah upon the earth. Matthew uses the term kingdom of God four times and it is to stress the divine character of the kingdom. When he is talking about the kingdom of heaven he is talking about the fulfillment of the kingdom prophecies in the Old Testament. The four times he uses kingdom of God he uses that to specifically stress the divine character of the kingdom.

Matthew 3:3 is a quote from Isaiah 40:3 to indicate that John is the fulfillment of the prophecy that there would be an advance man for the Messiah. He comes announcing the coming of the King and to prepare His way and to make His paths straight. Matthew 3:4, he is unique in his dress and his diet. He is similar to Elijah in the Old Testament and he is identified later as the one who would be the fulfillment of the prophecies that Elijah would return—if Israel had accepted the offer. He eats locusts which, according to Leviticus was the food of the poor, and wild honey. Isaiah 40:3-5 is cited—either all or one by the Gospel writers—indicating that John is indeed the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy.

Luke 3:3, 4 NASB "And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins; as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, 'THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, 'MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT.'"

So he goes out and begins to proclaim the kingdom and there is a response.

Matt 3:5, 6 NASB "Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins."

He is baptizing them and they are confessing their sins, which means that as they come they are confessing their sins and are making a public statement that they are identifying with the new ethic of the King and the kingdom, that they want to be spiritually prepared for the coming kingdom. They are turning away from religion, away from the false gods and idols that they worshipped, or the atheism that they practiced, and they are turning to the truth of Scripture.

In the midst of the group there are several other different groups as Luke mentions, but among them is a team of Pharisees and Sadducees. According to the custom of the Jews at the time whenever anything significant happened that inflamed the people or got their interest the Sanhedrin sent out a team of investigators to determine if there was something significant going on because there was such a heightened sense of messianic expectation at this time. So these Pharisees and Sadducees were not coming to be baptized, they were coming to his baptism to investigate what was going on.

And John calls them a brood of vipers. This word "brood" means the offspring of vipers, as it were, the seed of vipers. I think there is a hint here that takes us back to Genesis 3:15 when God announced to the serpent his judgment. And this is the first indication of the gospel. God said: "And I will put enmity Between you [the serpent] and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel." There is an allusion here to that prophecy.

Then John says, "Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Wrath to come is a reference to the Old Testament teaching on the day of the Lord, that before the messianic kingdom would come there would be this tremendous conflagration and assault centered in Israel, and it was only the return of the Lord that would rescue Israel from all the things that were happening during the day of the Lord.

So John addresses the gut of his message to the Pharisees. Matthew 3:8 "Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance." They were to produce fruit that was consistent with repentance. He is not saying that repentance will necessarily and inevitably produce fruit so that you can tell if you have repented because you will have true fruit. He is not saying that. That is the error and the heresy of lordship salvation. What he is saying is: You can have a legitimate repentance but the next day cave in to the old lust patterns and go back to the old way of life. John is saying that if you repent you then need to be consistent with that change and carry out a lifestyle that is consistent with your change of mind. You need to stick with it.

But this is not what would happen with the Pharisees. They were not interested in internal change, only external change. They had a belief that anybody who was a descendant of Abraham automatically were ushered into the kingdom and automatically the Jews would be the aristocrats of the Davidic kingdom. But John corrects them.     

Matthew 3:9 NASB "and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.'"

So the challenge to the Pharisees is, don't just have an external form of religion and religiosity, there has to be an internal change. And this has application to us because the same message is true for Christians. The Christian life is not just a life of formality, not just a life of going through the motions. It is not just a life of saying: I have trusted in Christ, I am going to go to heaven. There is a responsibility incumbent upon us as members of God's family that we are to walk in obedience. We are to live an obedient life, not in our power but in the power of God the Holy Spirit. Paul says in Galatians 5:16 NASB "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh."

Repentance is necessary in the sense of changing one's mind but it is something that also goes on in our everyday life because it is so easy that we get distracted by our sin nature and we start pursuing the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, and we get away from it. But the Scripture constantly calls us back to a life of obedience, that we should bear fruit through the Holy Spirit in light of the new direction of our life. Not because that is what saves us but because that is what honors and glorifies God and that is where we find real, true life.

If we follow our sin nature it leads to temporal death—carnality. It leads to self-induced misery. It leads to divine discipline. We need to turn, just as God commands again and again, and consistently walk by means of God the Holy Spirit.