Monday, September 26, 2011

Whatever Happened to Holiness?

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 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 Peter 1:13-16

Being holy sounds so lofty, so impossible, doesn’t it?  And in ourselves, it is.  But when we received Christ’s sacrifice as payment for our sins, we are at that moment, in Him, free from the law of sin and we are made holy, called out from the world to become His bride. 

The same word used for holy in the above verses is the same word for saint in Romans 8:27-- “Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

We are now saints, temples of the Holy Spirit. So we are holy, but we still have a choice to behave in a holy manner.

God’s Word tells the story of Hosea who was commanded by God to take a wife, Gomer, who had either already lived as a prostitute or who God knew would leave Hosea multiple times to commit adultery.  It was a picture of Israel who had turned her back on God, gone back to the world and by that, effectively committed adultery against her Betrothed.  Hosea continued to forgive his wife and take her back, and God was saying He would do the same with His people.

Is the bride of Christ any different today than Gomer or Israel? 

We, as individual believers, wander back into the world, back to our former lovers, if you will (or never come out from them altogether), leaving the Lord behind, taking up our former ways and attitudes.  We continue to let greed, unforgiveness, sexual sins, etc. dominate our lives and we become lazy in the things of God.  We hate our enemies instead of loving them. We adopt worldly attitudes about divorce, abortion and homosexuality instead of searching God’s Word and living by His truth.  We think nothing of going out and partying with the world.  We keep the world’s view of members of the opposite sex and look on them in lustful ways. We watch too much t.v. and go to bed at night never having cultivated our relationship with our Heavenly Husband that day.  The list of choices to give our time and energies to anything other than God is endless. 

And God sits and waits for his bride to come to Him. 

Even in the church, holiness is not always a popular theme.  Some who have leadership roles in the church try to use human logic and the world’s ways to reach lost souls.  They entice people with flashy music or programs.  They try talking about Jesus in a dark bar over spirits instead of being filled with the Holy Spirit and letting His power bring salvation.  Nevermind that the Christian leader could be giving justification for drinking to a lost soul who may be an alcoholic or stumbling a fellow believer.  

I’ve even heard some so-called ministries laugh at Christians who are conscientious about being too physically close to members of the opposite sex so as not to stumble them. 

We’re all in a struggle with our flesh every day to remain completely faithful to our Bridegroom, foregoing those worldly lovers.  But God has called us to live a holy life.  He has freed us from the power of sin and His Holy Spirit indwells us to give us the power to do so.  The choice is up to us.   

Gomer was a married woman, but she didn’t behave as though she was married.  She was disrespectful, to say the least, to her husband and to her marriage vows.  And when we choose to live impure lives as if we aren’t the bride of the King of kings and Lord of lords, we disrespect Him, we cheapen His grace and we bring shame to the Name of Jesus in the eyes of a lost and dying world. 

Jesus died and rose so that we could have a relationship with Him and fulfill the high calling of being His hands and feet on this earth, encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ and making disciples.  But why would unbelievers think they needed Christ if they see those who call themselves Christians acting no differently than they do?

Our Bridegroom’s return is near.  I’m convinced that the more we’re willing to call our sin for what it is, walk away from it and the death it brings and focus instead on the joy of His return and fall in love with Him the more we’ll want to deepen that relationship and keep ourselves pure for our heavenly wedding day. 

May God bless you as you seek Him!

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Thanks for sharing!