Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Expected to be Holy

{Ephesians 4:20-24; ESV}

But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

When it comes to following Jesus we need to remember two important truths.
  1. We are unable to live faithfully by our own efforts. Salvation begins and ends with God. He is the one who took the initiative to save us for Satan, sin, and death. Therefore we can be confident that He will finish what He started. The primary way transformation occurs in our lives is through the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit guides our lives towards a deeper faith and a greater maturity. The Holy Spirit also brings healing to the wounds located in our hearts. Through the work of the Spirit, God does for us what we are unable to do for ourselves.
  2. God expects His people to be holy. What does holiness look like? Holiness looks like Jesus. To be holy requires us to live the way Jesus lived. We are only able to do that as we surrender to the guidance of the Spirit. We cannot become holy on our own, we need to God’s help, but we have to surrender our lives to Him.
Andrew Murray wrote; “Holiness is not something we do or attain: it is the communication of the Divine life, the inbreathing of the Divine nature, the power of the Divine Presence resting on us.” (Holy in Christ)

While God expects His covenant people to be holy, He doesn’t leave us to achieve holiness on our own. God bestows holiness on us through the saving work of Jesus and by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

These two realities don't get us off the hook for the choices that we make. They do remind us that we cannot faithfully follow Jesus simply by our own strength. The work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit declare that God wants us to be holy! Since God wants us to be holy, He is going to do everything within His power to make us holy. That is very good news!

Our responsibility for holiness falls within two areas:
  1. We must put off the old. Our old way of living was nothing less than rebellion against God and His Kingdom. That is why it is important for us to declare that we are no longer part of the rebellion that started with Satan and continues to this day. I would encourage you, while you are praying, to declare that you are done with sin. Do this out loud and be specific. Name those sins that defined your old self and make it known that they are no longer a part of who you are because of what Jesus has done. We also need to take steps to remove sin from our lives, and the first step is renouncing our sins. While this action is often overlooked I think it is basic to discovering real freedom from sin.
  2. We must put on the new. The Gospel declares that when we are in Christ we are “new creations.” That is the reality of our lives, but we must believe it and live it. This begins with asking God to fill us with spiritual wisdom and understanding. We need the eyes of our hearts open so we can understand what it looks like for us to live like Jesus. Embracing the new and living like Jesus enables us to meet God’s expectation of holiness for our lives.
You and I can be holy because God makes us holy. It is up to us to live out that reality in our lives.

Questions to Consider:
  • How important is the pursuit of holiness in your life?
  • What practical steps could you take this week in your pursuit of holiness?
  • Does it provide a sense of relief to know that God makes us holy?

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