â€œFor I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth. For I am the LORD who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.â€ (Leviticus 11:44-45)
The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesian church warned them against conducting themselves in the manner of lost people, aka â€œthe Gentilesâ€ (4:17-19). Lost people are blind in their heart and separated from God because of their sin so God has given them over to a sinful lifestyle.
Paul reminds the Ephesians that they, and in turn we who call ourselves born-again Christians, are not such people. We are new:
â€œBut you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.â€ (Ephesians 4:20-24)
Is it my heartâ€™s desire to be holy? Am I satisfied with being saved and half-heartedly seek holiness because the Bible tells me I need to or do I desire holiness because I want to be more like Jesus? Why, if at all, do you want to be holy?
The great error we make as Christians is trying to make ourselves better. Weâ€™re trying to improve on the old man; thatâ€™s like trying to turn Adam into Jesus. Paul does not say to improve the old man, he says to â€œput on the new man which was created according to God.â€ That means Daveâ€™s idea of holiness had better be Godâ€™s will for my life if I truly want to be holy and sanctified. I like how Oswald Chambers explains it:
God does not build up our natural virtues and transfigure them, because our natural virtues can never come anywhere near what Jesus Christ wants. No natural love, no natural patience, no natural purity can ever come up to His demands. But as we bring every bit of our bodily life into harmony with the new life which God has put in us, He will exhibit in us the virtues that were characteristic of the Lord Jesus.
â€œ…no natural purity can ever come up to His demands.â€ Wow! That explains my dilemma. IF I am actually desiring to be holy, I am usually trying to do so in my own righteousness, through the virtues that exist in my natural man. That is a dead end street.
â€œBut we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.â€ (Isaiah 64:6)
When will I stop trying to earn my righteousness? When will I stop trying to sanctify myself? When I allow the penetrating work of the Holy Spirit to wrought the renewing â€œof the spirit of your mind.â€ If Iâ€™m going to have the stinking thinking cleansed from my mind, I have to stop thinking from my old point of view. I can no longer rely on who I was but who God wants me to be.
The question is…do I want to?
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Copyright Â© 2011 David Jeffers