Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Some more truth about perfecting holiness

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1

 In the last post I shed light on a mistaken idea that holiness is something we do or something me must accomplish. This concept has brought many into a struggling and striving and efforts based relationship with God. With so much positive feedback I felt impressed to continue shedding more light on this subject.

Perfecting holiness what does this mean? How do we live this out in our everyday life? I would like to, by way of illustration, reveal how we mature into who we already are in Him. In order to grow in God and His grace we must know who we already in Him.

 Look at what the Word tells us about ourselves.
By this will of God, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all, Hebrews 10:10

For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified. Hebrews 10:14
 It is repeated for our benefit. We are made holy once for all time when we receive the free gift of grace He freely purchased for us. Does 2 Corinthians and Hebrews then contradict each other then? Of course not. 

 The religious minded won't rightly divide the Word of God, therefore they see a distinction in Corinthians and Hebrews. The insecure and religious minded see us set apart only in the sense that we are saved not lost. Now we must work and strive to attain a state of being called holiness. 

 Hebrews 10 makes it plain. You who have received the Lord are perfectly made holy once for all time. It is who you already are. To perfect holiness is to simply mature into who you've been made already. The truth is there is no progressive sanctification. Jesus did a complete work. He finished it. He didn't say to be continued throughout your life based upon your efforts. 

 There is however, a progressive maturity into who we already are. 
My prayer is that our fellowship with you as believers will bring about a deeper understanding of every blessing which we have in our life in union with Christ Philemon 6
 I would like to now illustrate how this looks in our life. How we overcome habits and addictions to be who we are in Him. We will look at the life of two believers. Jack and Jill. Going uphill is the way many see perfecting holiness.

Who do you run to?

 Jack and Jill are believers in Christ. Jack secretly struggles with pornography addiction. Jill secretly struggles with bitterness. The question is who do they run to when they give in to addictions and habit?

Running to the Law

 Jack just gave into his addiction. He feels terrible. Jack runs to the Law. He pours over the Bible for the "thou shalt nots". He confesses this sin in order to be forgiven at least five times. He begins a more hardened regimen of looking to the Law to perfect him. 
 Jill has just had another episode of being bitter because someone else got that promotion. She goes to the Law and sees her faults and feels condemnation. She feels guilt will motivate her to overcome this habit. Both Jack and Jill eventually burn out trying to measure up to the standard of Law.

Running to hyper holiness, rules over relationship 

Again Jack has fallen and given into his addiction. He runs to hyper holiness. He knows he must do something. He must work and strive harder to achieve holiness. So Jack gives away his computer. He turns off cable and gets rid of his smart phone. He has removed the means to fulfill his addiction, yet the desire is still present. When Jack is out of town on business he is overcome by temptation and views porn on the motel TV. He vows to work harder.
 Jill has another episode of being bitter. Her bitterness over situations makes her unpleasant to be around at times. She realizes this and runs to rules looking for a strategy. Jill, begins to smile more and through hard work makes herself say nice things. She refuses to have an opinion. All the while inwardly she struggles with bitterness. 

Running to Jesus and His grace

 Jack has fallen again. Jack is fed up with addiction ruling his life. He runs to the Lord. Jesus reveals to Him he is the righteousness of God regardless of his actions. The Spirit reminds him continually, especially when temptation arises, that Jesus has so much better for him. Jack sees Jesus as He is now. He is not struggling with porn. Jack begins to identify with Jesus. He begins to identify with who God already made him. That addiction falls away and Jack is living free. He is maturing into who he already is.
 Jill runs to God to remove this bitterness within. God reveals how much He loves her. He shows how special and righteous she is. He pours His love to overflow in her heart. She realizing how much she is loved and how much she has been forgiven exudes that love to others now. She sees grace as the supply and rules and Law as demanding but not equipping. 

 This is maturing in Christ. The Law only reveals our inability. Rules over relationship is what the religious minded desire. Just give me a set of rules and I can function better. That is not relationship. In grace we have a living, active relationship with our Daddy God. His love within reveals how we should conduct ourselves.  
 This is the truth about perfecting holiness. It is a maturing into who we are inwardly. It is not a strenuous effort either. It is a joyous and exciting life. Aren't you tired and worn out trying to earn and achieve a state of perceived perfection? Let grace take you up and let go of Law and performance. You are accepted and loved by Daddy God. By acknowledging all we have and who we are in Christ we grow up in grace. 


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