The Christian Walk: Lesson 3 How Not to Walk cont

The Christian Walk: Lesson 3

Part 1: How Not to Walk


  1. Do Not Walk Contrary to God
    1. Texts:  Lev 26:21, 23, 27, 40; Ps 78:10; Ezek 20:16; Gal 2:14; Phil 3:17-19
    2. Principles
      1. Walking contrary to God amounts to flagrant disobedience to God’s commands as found in his word. The term “contrary” implies not merely passive neglect of God and his word, but active opposition, resistance, and refusal. One walking contrary to God is hostile to the things of God; he’s an active opponent of God. Walking contrary to God implies a stubborn refusal to obey God’s law.
      2. Even believers can be guilty of failure to walk “uprightly according to the truth of the gospel” (Gal 2:14). Paul had to rebuke Peter over his hypocrisy in this case. The words “walk uprightly” (KJV) is a single word in the original language (used only once in the NT) which means “walk in a straight course; i.e., to act uprightly.” Paul discerned that Peter’s conduct was not proper or honest. It contradicted “the truth of the gospel” and thus opposed it. Christian behavior must be consistent with the gospel and sound doctrine (cf. Titus 2:1).
      3. Paul describes “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil 3:18-19) with the following expressions.

a)                  “whose end is destruction” – They are on the highway to hell.

b)                  “whose god is their belly” – Their highest desire is to satisfy their own corrupt, evil desires.

c)                  “whose glory is their shame” – Instead of being ashamed of their wicked behavior, they glory in it (much like today’s media stars; cf. Rom 1:32).

d)                 “who mind earthly things” – Their focus and attention is on the physical instead of the spiritual. Many are secularists or even atheists.

Obviously, these descriptions fit the unsaved crowd, those who are on the broad road leading to destruction. The Christian walk contains none of these anti-Christian lifestyle choices.

  1. Any professing Christian who walks in opposition to God brings his spiritual state into question. Christians ought to be obedient to God and strive to promote God’s cause in the world, not stand in opposition to it.
  2. Do Not Walk According to the Course of This World
    1. Text: Eph 2:2
    2. Principles
      1. Prior to salvation, unbelievers live in harmony with the unsaved world in its opposition to God. Unbelievers feel perfectly comfortable in an environment of alienation from and opposition to God (cf. Rom 1:22f).
      2. The word “course” (KJV) is literally “age,” and describes the world viewed from the standpoint of time and change.[1] The “course” of this world is the spirit or sensibilities of this corrupt world. Paul asserts that “God has made foolish the wisdom of this world” (1 Cor 1:20).
      3. The “world” is that evil system of secular society set up in opposition to God, i.e., the wicked, ungodly world under satanic control. The world represents all that is opposed to God and his children. The world, the flesh, and the devil are our sworn enemies. They seek to entrap us, tempt us, and divert us from the right path.
      4. Pagans behave in accordance with the spirit of this wicked world because they are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:1), children of wrath, and without God. This is perfectly reasonable; unsaved people behave like unsaved people. They walk “in” trespasses and sin.
      5. Clearly, walking according to the course of this world describes the lifestyles of spiritually dead, hopeless, Godless, lust-filled pagans. Those walking this way fully embrace the spirit of the wicked world in its opposition to God. For Christians to walk in this way would amount to treason against their Lord and repudiation of the Gospel.
      6. Unfortunately, many professing Christians today seem to find the course of this world very attractive. Instead of rebuking the world for its “unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph 5:11), worldly Christians adopt many of the practices their pagan neighbors enjoy. They may even attempt to bring elements of this evil world into the church and into their families, much to their shame and eternal regret.
  3. Do Not Walk According to the Prince of the Power of the Air
    1. Texts: Deut 8:19; 1 Kings 11:33; Jer 7:6, 9, 8:2, 13:10; Ezek 11:21, 20:16; Eph 2:1-2
    2. Principles
      1. Forsake satanic false gods.

a)                  To “walk after other gods” is to recognize them as legitimate, to serve them, love them, seek them, or worship them. The Israelites were constantly tempted to “forget the Lord [their] God” (Deut 8:19) and walk after the local pagan deities—Baal, Ashtoreth, Chemosh, Milcom/Moloch, etc. Besides the local false gods, some of the Israelites took up worship of the sun, moon, and stars. People who turn from the true God to serve idols are evil and good for nothing (cf. Ps 135:15-18).

b)                  Walking after false gods is incompatible with serving the true and living God (Ex 20:3-5). You must forsake the true God to walk after false gods. God will not share his glory with anyone else (Isa 42:8).

c)                  Walking after other gods always results in “hurt” (Jer 7:6). God will recompense idolaters for their evil deeds. The history of Israel testifies to this fact.

d)                 Walking after other gods is often mentioned in conjunction with other heinous sins like theft, murder, adultery, and lying. The false religions of the heathen permitted all manner of wicked behavior for their adherents.

e)                  Can a Christian forsake the true God and worship false Gods? Strictly speaking, no, he cannot. To apostatize in this way indicates that one was never genuinely saved in the first place. However, Christians may walk after false “gods” like money, popularity, career, sports, recreation, and the like. Anything that usurps the place of God in one’s life may be considered an “idol of the heart” (cf. Ezek 14:3-4; 1 John 5:21). We must be very careful that our hearts are not drawn away toward idols, whatever they may be (cf. Ezek 20:16).

  1. Forsake Satan, “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2).

a)                  Ultimately, those walking after false gods are following Satan (cf. 1 Cor 10:20-21). Prior to salvation, those dead in trespasses and sin live according their father, the devil (cf. John 8:44). All those disobedient to the Gospel are ensnared in the trap of the devil and are held captive by him to do his will (2 Tim 2:26).

b)                  The only means of rescue from Satan and his way is regeneration, the quickening wrought by the Holy Spirit upon believers in Christ. Once a person is saved, he can no longer walk according to the spirit of the world or according to the world’s “prince.”

c)                  Christians must “put on the whole armor of God” to withstand the wiles of the devil and his associates (Eph 6:11f). We must “wrestle” against such spiritual opponents and employ all the resources of the Christian life to overcome them.

[1] William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, vol. 7, Exposition of Ephesians, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001).

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