RELAX – RESPOND – REST (PART 2)
Yesterday we discovered that holiness is a non-negotiable requirement if we are to see God.
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see God (Heb. 12:14).
You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own (Lev. 20:26).
But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written, ‘Be holy, because I am holy’ (1 Pet. 1:15).
The instruction is clear, but hidden in the instruction is a statement and a promise.
You shall be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy (Lev. 19: 2 – King James Version).
We have also established that God does not demand of us what He does not do for us. “Self-help” holiness will never work because we are just as incapable of being holy as we are of saving ourselves from the penalty and power of sin. God stepped in to deal with our sin by sending His Son to be our substitute. Jesus took the rap so that we can be set free from all the consequences of our rebellion and disobedience, by both taking the punishment and changing our hearts to bring us back into His family and into fellowship with Him.
What guarantee do we have that God will fulfil His requirement for holiness in us so that we are fit for His presence and for fellowship with Him?
A statement and a promise. From God’s perspective, we are already holy. He sees us, not as we are now, imperfect and in the process of being made holy but in the completeness of who we shall be when He has done the work in us. The New Testament is full of reassurances that, from His point of view, He has already finished the work and we are fully acceptable to Him. Holiness is both a finished work and a work in progress.
But when this priest (Jesus) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time He waits for His enemies to be made His footstool. For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Heb. 10:14).
Wow! With one stroke of the pen, the writer to the Hebrews sweeps away all the misconceptions and misunderstanding of “self-help-holiness”.
So, then, how are we made holy. Although God is doing the work, we cannot sit back and do nothing. Being made holy is a co-operative venture. The work of being made holy requires us to respond actively to what He is doing in us. This means that, first of all, we must understand what God is doing and how He is doing it.
- Get rid of the baggage.
Our minds are cluttered with false ideas and beliefs about God, ourselves and the world around us, accumulated from our childhood by the adversities and the rejections we have experienced. God’s solution is twofold: forgive those who have hurt you and be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Forgiveness gets rid of the poison in our souls. The Word of God cuts deep (Heb. 4:12), exposes the baggage and gets rid of the clutter of lies and unbelief by replacing it with truth.
- Let the Word of God wash you.
God cleanses our hearts and makes us holy through His Word
Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth (John 17:17).
You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you (John 15:.3)
Paul encouraged husbands to be to their wives what Jesus is to the church – His bride.
Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless (Eph. 5:25-27).
Our job is to fill our minds with the Word because it is the “water” with which the Holy Spirit washes us, renews us and guides us into all truth.
- Stay away from the mud.
It is useless to be washed by the Word, only to return, like a pig, to the mud.
God calls us to separate ourselves from the way the people in the world think and behave. Not only are we to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2), but we are also to stay away from people and behaviour that corrupt us.
What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
“Therefore, come out from them and be separate,” says the Lord. “touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you”
“And I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty.
Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves for everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God (2 Cor. 6:16-7:1).
- Submit to God’s discipline.
This is the part that hurts the most! Dr James Dobson calls is “tough love”.
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? …Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good that we may share in His holiness (Heb. 12: 7-8; 10).
We are quick to blame the devil for our troubles. If we glibly give Satan the credit for our hardships as an “attack”, we will miss the meaning and value of the discipline. Every time we face troubles and problems, though God may not be the author, He uses these experiences to expose a weakness or flaw in our faith in God.
Instead of playing the victim, He wants us to trust His perfect love because He is the real Father. Even the questions: why? or why me? are evidence that we fear punishment because we do not understand that God punished Jesus once for all for our sin.
Discipline is necessary to bring us to the point where nothing will move us because we have absolute confidence in the perfect love of our Father. He has a purpose for everything.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestines to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers (Rom 8: 28-29).
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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