There is much warring among Christians today over any number of social issues. I’ve seen it up close and personal, and have been involved, and at times sadly, been the cause of some of these wars. I am weary from them. Do not get me wrong, I clearly recall Paul’s admonition to the Galatian church:
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9)
My great challenge is in determining what constitutes “doing good.” When I find myself in such a place, I always return to Jesus.
“Now behold, one came and said to Him, ‘Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?’ So He said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said to Him, ‘Which ones?’ Jesus said, ‘“You shall not murder,” “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “Honor your father and your mother,” and, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”’ The young man said to Him, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth.[j] What do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” (Matthew 19:16-22)
Look at the second question the rich, young ruler asks: “Which ones?” That is both a ridiculous and revealing question. It is ridiculous because either the young man did not know all the commandments, which I seriously doubt, or he already had his personal holiness checklist. It is revealing in that he represents our desire to negotiate holiness with a Holy God.
Did you notice how Jesus left off the tenth commandment against covetousness? That’s because our Lord knows our wicked hearts and He clearly knew the rich young ruler’s. This young man was a covetous materialist, much like 99% of today’s church. I’m as guilty as the next. Dang I love my stuff! But my beloved readers we must come to the point that we understand that covetousness prevents holiness, and it also causes all types of contentions.
We are chasing after the American Dream all the while forsaking heavenly devotion. Anything that gets in the way of our worship to God is an idol. And when we take our eyes off of God and focus on us, that is from where much of the warring comes. I asked you to read Hebrews 12 with a focus on verses 12-17:
“Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.” (Hebrews 12:12:17)
How long has it been since you were in the presence of God? It says in verse 14 that without holiness “no one will see the Lord.” Holiness at times seems so unattainable and at times one may wonder why such an emphasis is placed on holiness. Let me address the latter first. Holiness is important because the Bible says so:
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:13-16)
There are some wonderful teachings in that passage. I would like to take a closer look at these in the near future because I think they will be beneficial to our lives in a practical way and also help prevent much of the warring going on within the Body of Christ.
For now I want to end with a quote by Oswald Chambers that I think will help set the tone for our study on holiness and sanctification:
By sanctification the Son of God is formed in me, then I have to transform my natural life into a spiritual life by obedience to Him. God educates us down to the scruple. When He begins to check, do not confer with flesh and blood, cleanse yourself at once. Keep yourself cleansed in your daily walk… Am I perfecting this type of holiness in the fear of God? Is God getting His way with me, and are other people beginning to see God in my life more and more?
What say you dear Christian? The way we answer those last two questions will reveal much about our hearts.
What do you see?
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Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers