Have you ever had someone look at you with contempt or bewilderment, and tell you that you are different? At one time or another, all of us may have a similar experience. Maybe we just didn't fit in with a certain group, with co-workers, or perhaps someone we knew and over time we realized we were two different people with differing likes and interests.
As we continue in our study we are going to see being different can really be positive. Today, it seemed good to look at holiness and examine it in light of the Gospel of Grace. Some tend to think holiness and Grace are contrary to one another. That is an untruth.
Grace gives us the power and desire to walk out our true identity in Christ. Grace is what actually made us holy. The challenge with holiness is that tradition and religion have defined holiness as some somber joyless life where keeping all the rules and even finding new ones to observe is what holiness looks like.
The other challenge with holiness is that the Church still believes holiness is something we aren't and is something we must obtain. Some teach Righteousness is what He did but holiness is what we do. We can't walk out holiness in our life if we don't even know what it is.
Hebrews reveals the Grace that already made us holy. Hebrews 10 details this Finished Work of Grace. Hebrews tells us those who believe are already made holy.
For by one offering He has forever perfected those who are sanctified. Hebrews 10:14 MEV
We are perfected and sanctified already because of Jesus. We are in Him.
let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse them from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22 MEV
We are already cleansed by the Blood. We are redeemed. We are His. We are set apart. This was done at the Cross. This was realized and received when we partook of His free gift of Grace by Faith.
So why do we still sin? Why do we still miss it? Why do we still have bad habits and make poor choices? These aren't deep questions that take much pondering, extended times of fasting, and isolation in prayer to search for an answer.
We blow it sometimes, we miss it, and we still deal with bad habits. Does this mean we aren't holy? Some would say yes. However, that contradicts what the Word proclaimed. We still make mistakes, but that isn't a reflection of our identity in Christ.
Why do we miss it? One thing we must continually do is renew our minds. Right believing is the key to right living. We miss it when our mind isn't renewed in various areas of our life. We miss it when we forget our true identity. We miss it when we allow legitimate needs to become perverted, and/or try to get legitimate needs met apart from God and His Grace.
The problem with religion is they consider the Christian life as an easy bake oven. That the proverbial cake should be done in an hour. As soon as one is saved they should cease all the stuff they are involved in. That's not God's way.
Our Father paid a high price for us. He recreated and reformed and refashioned us from within. We are brand new in Him. We are made Righteous, we are forgiven and sanctified or set apart for Him when we believed. We are progressively maturing into who He already made us. The focus is on our own growth and no one else's. Relax and enjoy the ride.
Now, what does this look like in daily life? How do you know you are maturing? Recall how I mentioned being different. This is the real holiness of God. What do I mean?
Where religion only focuses on rule-keeping God sees our whole life as growth in holiness. I want to encourage you and show that you're more holy than you realize. Holiness means we aren't common, we are uncommon.
Holiness practically realized is that we are uncommon people. We are different! Though we may still be overcoming in differing areas of our life, I want to show you how you are progressing.
When others are out golfing, or day sailing, or sleeping in, usually on Sundays you're found in the house of God fellowshipping with other saints, exalting God corporately. That's being different. When others are spending money on new gadgets, or the latest and greatest new thing, you're sending money to support missions. You're sending money to help feed and clothe orphans. You're funding ministries and Bible schools. That's being different!
When the doctor's report is of a negative nature, your response is one of trusting in God and not one of fear, panic, and giving up. Whereas others are feeling hopeless, you know where your trust resides. You speak the Word of Faith where others are speaking fear and dread. That is different!
Are you walking in holiness? Take a second look at your life. Examine it in light of Grace and the Finished Work. You're going to see how different you are in comparison to those without Christ. That is walking in holiness.
God is not looking for dutiful servants who mind all the rules. He's not looking for slaves, He's looking for sons and daughters. God's Love for us is overwhelming and unconditional. We speak of the first love, the amazing truth is that we are God's first love. He has a fire burning in His heart for you and me. His heart beats out of his chest when He thinks of you and me. He is Holy and He is Love.
In summation, be glad we are different. Being different is a good thing. It reveals our minds are being renewed and "updated" if you will. It serves to remind us we are the Righteous and the ones made holy because of the Blood, the Grace of God, and His Finished Work. Be different, because He is different! This is Good News!