Riotous Living

We as young people in the Church in the year 2017 of our Lord have many temptations to flee and fight against.  One major temptation is living a riotous lifestyle.  As we look at the world today we see rampant riotousness, especially in the younger generations.  The world loves pleasure and will do whatever it takes to be pleased, no matter the sin or the consequences of those sins.  Three main activities of riotous living are drinking, doing drugs, and sexual immoralities.  This lifestyle is one that has engulfed many young people, and is a constant temptation to the rest of the young people.  We have been commanded by God to follow not after the way of the world, but to follow in the footsteps of Christ.  When we walk after Christ we have joy and the Holy Spirit works in us a conviction, that we bear fruits.

Romans 13: 12–14 gives direct command of how to live our lives concerning riotous living.  Verse 13 of Romans 13 tells us that we walk “not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.”  We are commanded by God to not live in riotousness, or in other words, not to live a life of partying and reckless ignorance.  We are commanded to stay away from living a life of drunkenness, a life filled with alcohol and drugs, and the actions that proceed from using these.  We also have a command to flee the lust of the flesh—”chambering”—and flee willful ignorance of the wrong found in drugs, alcohol and sex—”wantonness.”

This command is not one to be taken lightly; we see the command of the antithesis to walk separate from the world.  The world loves to mill around the effects of drugs, drunkenness, and sex because it brings joy to them, ungodly, terrible, and abominable joy.  They revel in the moment of these sins, they enjoy them and become slaves to these sins, and because God is not mocked, he fully gives the world over to their sins.  2 Peter 2:15 tells us that the world “shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they count it pleasure to riot in the day time.”  The world loves to revel in immorality, often caused by the sins of drunkenness and drugs.  These two cause those who use them to lose their sense and consciousness of what they are doing, thus causing them to cast caution to the wind, to do as they please in the moment.

There is the great danger that our young people will follow the world, falling into these sins.  We out of love for God, with our hearts, souls, minds, and strength ought to flee these abominable sins, no matter how great the temptation.  This joy that the world finds often appeals to us, especially as young people.  We live lives dedicated to God and see the world enjoying their sins, and at times it makes it very difficult to not lust after and fall into these sins.  This calling to flee from these sins applies not only to others but to me personally.  This must be the confession of all young people, for no one is exempt from this calling of God.

There is but one option then to this temptation: flee unto the Lord, for he is our strength; we must follow Christ.  This is our command in the most positive sense.  We are commanded not to follow the world, in the negative, but are in the positive commanded to follow our perfect Savior Jesus Christ.  Romans 13:13a tells us to “walk honestly, as in the day.” This verse tells us to walk properly according to the law and word of God.  We are commanded to follow his commandments as they are our guide in this life on earth.  Romans 13:14 tells us more, to “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”  Here we see the two-fold calling: first, we must flee the lusts of our flesh, and second, we must put on the Lord, and this we do by following his law.

This also is a difficult command to follow because we are mere and sinful men, but we need to remember the words of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  Here we see that though we have a difficult command, we have the strength of Christ to assist us as he has given us his Spirit as our strength, for God never leaves nor forsakes us.

Though this command is difficult, it is one that brings great joy to us, the true joy that is unending joy, by God’s grace.  In order to follow Christ we need faith, which our Lord has graciously given unto us.  We read of this in Galatians 3:23–29 (which I recommend reading).  By faith in God we are justified, and having this faith means we follow the law of God.  Galatians 3:23–29 speaks of how faith works justification by obedience to God’s law, not by following man’s or the world’s laws.  God has graciously given us faith even though we do not deserve it and can in no way earn it. Rather, it is out of love for us that God gives it to us.  By faith, then, we can obey the law of God.

We see with great joy that God has blessed us with the gift of faith, that we might be justified, that we might follow his law and flee the devil and his demons who so often tempt us with alcohol, drugs, and sex, those sins of our lustful flesh.  God of his good pleasure gives us this gift of faith that Christ might be glorified and us in him. 2 Thessalonians 1:11–12 says, “Therefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  We are comforted, that God who counts his children worthy and gives us faith will also work that faith with power so that we may glorify his name.  This is our goal and purpose of life, to glorify the Most High God and Father, who by his grace has given us faith.

May we as young people see our calling to flee riotous living, and obey the word of God.  Then may we thank him for his grace and his love in giving us the gift of faith, and may we pray for his strength to heed and obey this calling.  May we go forth as young people who love the Lord our God in faithful and willing obedience to his name.

*Caleb is a member of Hope Protestant Reformed Church in Walker.