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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Have Christians Lost the Desire for Holiness?

Some people (even some Christians) believe that there is no foul if you never get caught. They have developed the sports mentality of no call; no foul. Thus, we have Christians who will answer ethical questions much like the non-believers.

Case in point: I was waiting to turn left at a stop sign while an directly approaching car went straight. We had arrived at our opposing stop signs at the same time. I yielded the right of way to the approaching driver. The car behind that car didn't stop but quickly turned right without even noticing that I was waiting. I turned behind him to see the Christian symbol of a fish on the back of the car. My first inclination was to ask if he would like some help removing the fish. He didn't obey the traffic law nor did he show any courtesy in driving. He was just being a jerk. He was one of the reasons that many people will not come to know Christ. They see these symbols on cars and believe that Christ has made no difference in the lives of Christians.

Or course, there is no one to make this man drive with courtesy or obey the law most of the time. He is able to drive recklessly because others are watching out for him. Maybe he has determined that no wrong is committed when there is no foul.

Next case in point: Virginia Beach has had several traffic lights which take the picture of those running the lights. These cameras actually take a video of the driver running the light. Two of my friends whom I consider to be true believers in the faith got tickets from running these lights. Each of them were sure that they had stopped before turning right on a red light. Both watched the video and admitted their guilt.

Could it be that we assume that we are doing right all the time unless the wrong is pointed out to us? We may be more unaware of our sins than we realize unless we become sensitive to them. I believe this is a product of the understanding of what right and wrong is.

I have heard many Christians say, "It is better to get forgiveness than permission." Can a godly person ever really say that? Isn't that an excuse to do anything you want unless you get caught? Does this mean that we have lost any desire for doing what is right?

Christians were never called out to be like the world. We were called to be holy. We should stand out because of that holiness. The lack of it should send us to the Lord daily in confession. Confession is not telling the Lord of the wrong we have done. Confession is saying the same things that they Lord says about what we have done. He says it is worthy of death. We should also say that and thank the Lord for His sacrifice. We should see that our sin sent Jesus to the cross.

Yes, confession cleanses us from all unrighteousness but that is not a tacit permission to do as we please. It should bring us to humbly thank our Lord again and again for His forgiveness.

I am not sure that many Christians understand what it will be like to stand before the Lord. They do not realize that all of the good and bad we have ever done will be made known. It will be a shameful day for us to realize that we have treated our Lord with such contempt as we went through life ignoring the call to holiness.

Maybe we should stop asking ourselves whether or not we are doing right. Understanding right and wrong have become so conditional that it is really hard to define right and wrong. Whose standards determine right and wrong? Maybe we should ask ourselves if we are being holy. Is holiness the characteristic we desire? Is holiness the goal of our lives? The standard for holiness is not in any question. It is measured by the plumline God has given in His Word.

I know I am not perfect and I do not want to obsess on being perfect. That implies a set of rules that I must comply with each day. I want to be holy. This means that I will recognize and confess my sins. I will not seek to follow rules but seek Him with fervor so that I do not wish to bring contempt upon Him. My actions do not change because I try to keep the rules. My actions change because I love Him and do not wish to be called by His Name in vain.

I am nowhere near perfect. However, I desire holiness in my life.

1 Peter 1:13-19 (NIV) 13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." 17 Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.


9 comments:

high-expressions said...

Oh! We do let our indignation come forth; I am guilty too, we get upset with such traffic inconsiderate. But we must just let it go too, and just thank God, nothing hazardous has happened.

Oh, also, how I sometimes dislike those traffic lights; we see them almost everywhere in Singapore; sometimes I think there are too many of them. On the stretch of road leading to my home, are 15 such traffic lights in a distance of less than 2 km! Nonetheless, they are there for a purpose, or at least the authority think that they should be there, and that they serve a purpose. And for some of these, there are cameras to catch you if you cross on the red. Sometimes, I crossed one or two of these as they turn red, and I just hoped that the synchronization of the lights and the camera were still ok, and NOT off; in other words, it is possible that the camera snaps shots a bit earlier, and you are seen crossing the junction. Ideally, it should only shoot after the light turned red. To some of us, these moments are stressful. In Singapore, the fines and demerit points are heavy, and you can easily get suspended from driving. Of course, I was NOT intentional about crossing on the red, but rather, at times, it was a judgment call, according to circumstances, and there are, at times, where you would think you will cross one of these traffic lights with cameras, with no problem, but something happened in the meanwhile, due to other motorists, etc; you become unsure if you have made it without the camera snapping away. In Singapore, much thing goes “law by law” or legalistically, including such traffic offences.

What can we learn here: Well, first, I always remind myself to thank God that nothing hazardous happened, whether it was due the fault of the other motorist or my own. Second, I have learned I, too, at times, can be guilty of offences, and so, I got to be careful, and I got to be forgiving. Third, when I am guilty, I accept the punishment meted out to me. Fourthly, I accept all reasonable rationale of rules and laws in place, even if, if I have the say, I may not have them in place, including some of the so many traffic lights and cameras. Fifthly, I remind myself that orderliness is always necessary when community is involved. The whole psychology of it, is: I better be happy to accept and live by the laws of the place.

The “Kingdom” of Singapore is different from the “Kingdom” of USA; the (traffic) laws and rules, and ways of the two are different, in many of the junctions in USA, the approach is based on understanding and courtesy, less of traffic light or laws, but in Singapore, it is almost always traffic lights and laws; the color is all and what matters, as to who has the right of way, and who is on the wrong side of the Law! But one thing for sure, if you are in this “Kingdom”, you abide by the laws and ways of this kingdom; if you are in that “Kingdom”, you abide by the same, of that kingdom, there is no two ways about it. If you want to be in the Singapore “Kingdom”, no drugs, please! You cannot have peace and joy, if you have drugs with you in Singapore; you sure can get high on the drugs, but you are NOT going to have peace and joy; it is as simple as that.

What am I getting at? It is this: As a believer, you are a citizen of, NOT Singapore, NOT USA, but the Kingdom of God. The authority in Singapore or USA prescribes laws and rules and ways for her citizens to follow; so, why can’t God, as the authority for the Kingdom of God, prescribe the same? What must you and I do, as a citizen of the Kingdom of God? Must you abide by the rules and regulations and ways of God? Yes.

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high-expressions said...

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In Singapore, if you are found with a little bit of drugs, gallows you go! Do you think there is no consequence to breaking the rules and regulations and ways of God? None at all? Just tell the Devil, you are righteous, is the only thing you need to do? Is there no rationale or purpose for the rules and regulations and ways prescribed by God for His Kingdom? It cannot be-right? God would NOT have them for fun-right? God would NOT have them just to make your life miserable-right? Right. If you think nothing about a particular political leader and his party in power, that is one thing (although Scripture tells us, we cannot assume that attitude), are you thinking nothing about God, the Ruler of the Kingdom you are in? You are in the earthly phase of His Kingdom; and you do want to get to the Heavenly phase, don’t you? Please chuck those teachings of preachers who tell you there are no laws, and regulations and prescribed ways that we have to abide by, as a Christian.

I am NOT saying there are no limitations for mere laws. There are; and one example which I commonly gave, to illustrate, is that of laws prohibiting sex with minors. Now, many countries have this law, but there are also countries where there is NOT this law, or there is literally no enforcement of this law. Singapore has this law, and Singapore is a “law by law” country, don’t try it, don’t bring drugs here or have sex with minors here, you will face the strong hand of the Law. But does it mean that with the presence of such “strong“ law, there will be no citizen of Singapore who would engage in drugs or have sex with minors? No, because there are still those who would NOT “touch” drugs and sex with minors in the Singapore land, but would engage in them in another “Kingdom”; because there are no such law there or the law there is NOT enforced. Of course, in more recent days, we are saddened further, to read of accounts of sex with minor in the land of Singapore, involving officials in government related organizations. A couple of things to think about, here:

One, the law, per se, are NOT evil, and are NOT wrong, they did NOT cause minors being abused. We should NOT make the law or the prohibition as the scapegoat, purportedly arguing that prohibition is what caused people to sin. When we have law against having sex with minor, a person sins overseas; if we do NOT have the law, he would have sinned here. The law is NOT the problem; the Apostle Paul said it in Scripture, in 1 Tim 1:8, that “we know the law is good if one uses it properly.” The law merely tells us that according to the authority, such-and-such is NOT allowed, and the authority has its rationale or reason. Neither Jesus nor the Apostle Paul chucked the call to abide the laws, generally! Read Matt 5:17-19 for Jesus’ words on this. The Apostle Paul only specifically call NOT to abide by the law that require circumcision, for circumcision was the mark for having entered into the Old Covenant, which we NT believers are asked to do; we entered the New Covenant; in other words, circumcision has been set aside by the works of Christ Jesus, and therefore NO longer applicable.

Two, ultimately, it is NOT the law, per se, that determine if one does or does NOT do a wrong or sin. Again, in my “law and law” country, Singapore, if you litter, the fine is (can be) $500.00. So, many citizens don’t litter in the Singapore land, but do they litter overseas? Some do, some don’t, even when there is no such punitive law in those overseas countries. For those who do, for some (NOT all), yes, the absence of laws, “free” them to litter, but for those who would still NOT litter, the presence or absence of a punitive law does NOT make any difference. Now, this scenario, illustrated the Apostle Paul’s position on law – 1 Tim 1:9-11 –

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high-expressions said...

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9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

The law is NOT for the righteous. Littering is a wrong, let us for simplicity, say, it is a sin, too. The 2nd category of citizen above is the righteous ones, they need not the law to determine if they will or will NOT do the thing (wrong or sin). Now, this also explains how Paul came to say, there is the righteousness apart from law; or there is the righteousness that does NOT come from the law.

Which is of a superior level, the righteousness by the law or the righteousness apart from the law? The answer is obvious; if it is NOT obvious to you, think back to the littering example – righteousness by the law needs the law to be in place, but the righteousness apart from the law, have no need of the law. It was with such understanding that Paul discouraged believers from going back to righteousness by the law, but it is NOT that laws are no good, or that we are NO longer required to obey laws. This too, was in the mind of Jesus when He spoke in the Matt 5 passage I gave above. Jesus was saying, we need righteousness greater than that coming from the law. This is what Jesus said in Matt 5:20 –

“ For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

The Pharisees and the Sadducees, their righteousness are wholly righteousness by the laws. Jesus said that kind of level is just NOT enough to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Now, what many fail to note is that Jesus was emphasizing the level of righteousness, NOT saying righteousness from observing laws are abhorred! Jesus was saying, “Not enough”; again using the littering example I gave, “NOT enough, because the moment a fellow like that, lands in USA, he litters!”

Three, when one does NOT need the written law to determine if he will or will NOT do a thing, it means his righteousness is no longer external, but internal, or an internalized righteousness; or in the words of Paul as in 1 Tim 1:9, the law is NOT made for him - law or no law makes no difference to him. You and I need to possess this level or degree of righteousness; it is over and above the law. Again, I repeat, people mistaken that the Word was talking about a completely different kind of righteousness; no, it is NOT. If you have the righteousness that has surpassed the law, it cannot be that you will break the law, if the law is before you. In other words, the presence of a law cannot be that which can cause you to break it. Or it is NOT tenable to say or argue you are righteous, having righteousness that surpassed that by the law, but you would break the law, due to you having NOT, the righteousness to keep the law, but have the righteousness that surpassed the law.

This brings us to the issue raised by Ps Prentis concerning “getting caught and NOT getting caught”. “Getting caught or NOT getting caught” does NOT come in for people who are righteous (1 Tim 1:9), or for people whose righteousness have surpassed that by the law. Those who go by whether or NOT, there is law, or whether or NOT “I get caught”, are living with righteousness only to the level of righteousness by the law. If you are thinking in your heart that, that no one is looking, I can do this (a sin), remember, the words of Jesus in Matt 5:20, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

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high-expressions said...

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Is there or is there no level of righteousness to talk about for the believer? You have to decide for yourself, concerning righteousness, whether or NOT, this is the only angle we have to approach the subject, the angle proposed by the overly grace preachers: “Oh! You are fully righteous the moment you gave your life to Jesus, and you are forever righteous, and you can never be any more or any less righteous, even if you sin by breaking a law? In my view Jesus was NOT referring to the imputed righteousness coming from our acceptance of Him as our Lord and Saviour, when He talked about righteousness in Matt 5:17-20. The author of the Book of Hebrews and the Apostle Paul both talked about the life of a believer like that of a race, and that we need to run with perseverance to win the race. Is a non-believer also running the race alongside us? Or is the race only for believers? What is the difference between the non-believers and us, the believers? Yes, we are justified or qualified to take part in the race. But we still have to run the race. We may have the imputed or passive righteousness, but we still have to live righteously or practise righteousness; until so much so that our righteousness surpasses that by the law, at which point, law or no law matters no more. (The non-believers are running a different race from us, believers; in what ways is it different? One thing for sure, although we are to run the race, but we have someone to follow, and he is Jesus; the non-believers, NOT so.

Why do we need, or Jesus said that we need righteousness that surpassed that by the laws (Matt 5:20), to enter Heaven, where God dwells? We have said that this righteousness is an internalized righteousness; a righteousness that has become part of you, meaning, with or without law, your course of action is still the same, only righteous. Why did Jesus say we need this? It got to do with the way God is, that He is holy.

When we say God is holy, what does it mean? It means God is set apart for something, after, about the only way Scripture has talked about holiness in relation to us. When we are to be holy, it means we are to be set apart for God or for God’s use. The action word commonly used is “sanctification” or that we be sanctified. When we say that we are set apart for God or for God’s use, it means exclusivity. But what are we to be exclusive about? Is it we are to be exclusive for God or for God’s use? Yes, and it is reasonable to infer such, from narratives of OT when references were made to articles, or even the children of God (Israelites as a nation). Articles sanctified for use in Temple, for examples, were for exclusive use for ministering to God, and cannot be used for some other purposes, meaning people could NOT, on an occasion use an article, like a goblet, for ministering to God, and then on the next, use the same for serving drink in a party. You just cannot do that; there is the exclusivity demanded. When we do NOT observe the exclusivity, we defile the article, and we can say that the article is no more holy. To be set apart FOR, implicitly means that there is a setting apart FROM. When the goblet is set apart FOR God’s use, it is set apart FROM all other use.

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high-expressions said...

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As applied to us, men, of course, it is more difficult in our view (man’s view), for we have legs and move away, and we have a mind, and we can turn away, but the notion is the same, at least, starting with the key aspects, we must be exclusive. For example, worshipping has to be exclusive, and exclusively for God. You and I cannot worship another. Actually, God does NOT say, in some aspects, exclusivity is NOT required, for Deu 6:5 and the NT famous Scripture of we are to love God, and to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, are pointing that exclusivity is indeed demanded of God of us. It is only when God permits it, that it is ok for one to engage in a matter. Even Jesus did say something along that line, when He talked about divorce; He said God did NOT intend it, but Moses allowed it (we can believe with God’s agreement), under certain circumstance. I will NOT make this too long, and so, I will jump a few thoughts, and ask the question, “When God is holy, what is God set apart TO/FROM?”

There is no God apart from God; I make it clear, first. If there is any that God hold Himself to, is holiness; in other words, figuratively speaking, the God (or “otherness”) of God is His holiness. God is set apart TO holiness; and God is set apart FROM evil. Now we are formed in the image of God, and we want to dwell with God in Heaven (in time to come), so, is it so difficult to imagine that we have to take after God; meaning we are to be set apart to God or for God. In other words, we too, are to be set apart to holiness or for holiness. That being the case, it also means that we are set apart from evil, taking after God. Unless we too, set ourselves apart from evil, how can we go and live with a holy God? Unless we are set apart from evil, we cannot go live with God. Scripture already hinted it with such verses as (1) Only those with pure heart will see God, (2), Be holy as I am Holy, and (3) Who shall ascend the mount of the LORD; he who has clean hands and a pure heart. Many people do NOT know that although we could consider a dimension of “fear of the Lord” as reverent awe, there is a precise meaning ascribed to the phrase, and it is this: to have the fear of the Lord is to hate what God hates, and that is evil (Pro 8 :13, read also, Pro 16:6). The man said by God to be the man after His (God) own heart, David, clearly understood that meaning of the fear of the Lord (read Ps 34 by David). Now, you and I cannot be said to be like God, if we hate NOT evil; we cannot be said to be like God if we love evil.

Truly, holiness is topmost, as the nature-attribute of God. Is there such a thing as absolute goodness? Jesus said, “Why you called me good (teacher)? Only God is good!{Luke 18:19}” Yes, absolute goodness is God in His holiness. Of absolute goodness can only be wisdom. That is why Scripture tells us that God is wisdom. And Bible tells us that “the fear of the Lord” is the beginning of wisdom (Pro 9:10). In other words, setting yourself apart from evil, and therefore, embracing holiness, is the beginning of wisdom. Putting it another way, only in this way can we begin to acquire godliness or God-likeness.

Recently, I have heard an overly grace preacher said, as a believer you can be more holy, but he has held onto a believer’s righteousness does NOT change, implying that a believer cannot be more righteous; and he is one who has questioned the call to righteous living (as far as I know he still does). I supposed he cannot wriggle himself out of Lev 19:2 and 1 Pet 1:16 that said, “Be holy as I am holy”. Now, what is the link between holiness, and righteousness? Are they the same thing? If they are different, how different are they? Are they apples and oranges, so to speak? To say that one can grow in holiness but NOT righteousness, is necessarily saying the two are apples and oranges, so to speak.

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high-expressions said...

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Without making things very complicated, holiness is the state of being holy; and righteousness is the state of being right or correct. Righteousness is essentially the outworking of holiness and wisdom; the righteousness of God is therefore the outworking of His holiness and His wisdom. You see, God is always right, for His righteousness is the product of His holiness, absolute goodness (no evil in God whatsoever; God is set apart from evil – God holds Himself to it, and we can envisage such a notion, for Scripture did revealed that God could take oath on His own name) and application of His wisdom which cannot negate His holiness. Scripture often talked about righteousness of man, NOT on its own, but visa-vis that of God.

In the earlier paras, we have talked quite a lot about righteousness. We touched on righteousness by the law, and the law there of course is the law of God. Even when no law is needed; i.e. the person is righteous (1 Tim 1:9), the internalized righteousness must be visa-vis that of God. A person is said to be righteous; it means he is in agreement with God; his thought or action is in agreement with that of God. Or he is thinking or doing what God would, Himself, like, done.

Let say, for 10 times, you are 8 times in agreement with God; and for another (believer), only 2 times. I think is right to say you are right 8 times, and accordingly, as a state of being right or correct (visa vis God), you are quite righteous. And the other person, not so righteous. Some people may say, “No, you cannot say a believer as being, not so righteous!” To me, it is simple, if every believer is equally righteous, why say such a thing in Bible, “The prayer of a righteous one avails much”.

But holiness is more than just being right. Being righteous does NOT give rise to holiness; it is holiness giving rise to righteousness. Increase in the fear of the Lord or hating evil and embracing holiness will be accompanied, by the grace of Lord, wisdom. With holiness and wisdom, the outworking of which, in us, leads to us being right or righteous with God. Get it right, it is holiness (leading) to righteousness, NOT righteousness (leading) to holiness. And so, the argument that one can grow in holiness but it does NOT lead to increase in righteousness is quite untenable.

In practice, how do we “be holy as God is holy”? How do grow in holiness? Holiness in the nature of God, in fact, we have noted it is the most fundamental nature of God. In other words, to know holiness we need to know God. How can we know God? We can know by looking at what He has revealed of Himself to us, in the written Word, as well as by the revelation by His Holy Spirit. Our experience of God helps (a lot), but we must remember our experience will NOT contradict the written Word.

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high-expressions said...

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The relationship of righteousness and holiness can also be looked, similar to that between right answers and wisdom. Right answers points to possibility of wisdom, but wisdom is NOT from right answers; wisdom gives rise to right answers. Similarly righteousness points to holiness, but holiness is NOT from being right or right answers; holiness (with wisdom) gives rise to righteousness or right answers. However, in practice, we learn holiness of God from prescriptions in the Word. The laws, commands, precepts, statutes, and guides and instructions of God collectively formed the Word of God. When we internalize these, we grow in the holiness of God. The idea is NOT so complicated; yes, it is NOT because we study and applied what we study through vigorous tests that we become a genius, but studying sure help us to be knowing more of what to do. The genius stuff is NOT of us, but when we study hard and apply what we studied, through tests, we grow in knowing what to do; similarly, holiness is NOT of us, but when we study God through his Word, and apply what we studied in our life (lots of tests), we grow in holiness, for we will be knowing more of what the demands of holiness are. This pattern of thinking is it biblical? If you pay attention to Lev 19, the pattern is reflected there:

Lev 19 begun with this, “1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy. Then a whole list of do and don’ts and prescriptions were given by God, including we are told to love our neighbors as ourselves in verse 18 (many, I am sure did NOT realize this was already in the OT!). The last verse of Lev 19 reads as, “37 “‘Keep all my decrees and all my laws and follow them. I am the Lord.’”

In other words, in Lev 19, God was saying we have to be holy because He is holy, and then instructed us to keep his decrees and laws and prescriptions, as a way to be holy”. Sure, “Do not steal” (Lev 19:11) by itself is NOT holiness, but it is a demand of holiness; and so, when we subscribe to the pool of the demands of holiness, we get a better picture of the holiness of God.

When Scripture speaks about we be having the mind of Christ or mind of God, it is really referring to, how to think like God thinks. How God thinks, in a large part, is dictated by His holiness and wisdom (there are other attributes of God that do come in play, in God’s thinking). I am sorry, don’t listen to jokers (mostly overly grace preachers) who tell you that the moment you accept Christ, you have the full mind of Christ. It most commonly does NOT work that way. You are NOT weird, the joker (the preacher) is, and he does NOT have the full mind of Christ, obviously! God does NOT zap you into “God” right away, and you are NOT God running around! I sure do NOT think it is wise to listen to those who tell you, you have been zapped already with full mind of Christ, you are just to bask more, purportedly when you are “cooked” enough, the full mind of Christ manifests! I tell you, that sure is NOT the prescription in the written words of God.

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high-expressions said...

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If you refuse or ignore the call to holiness and righteousness (please, if your reaction is immediately that you are fully righteous, and you need heed no more, the call to righteousness, you have been captured by the skewed teachings of the overly grace preachers; for your own good, please turn back), you are putting yourself in opposition to God, for God is set apart FROM all that is NOT holy; he is holy; and there is no righteousness for God except His own righteousness. To me, it is that simple: Now, God is living in you and I, by His Spirit (indwelling us), if we want NOT his holiness, and want NOT to be right with Him, how do we expect God to have us living in Heaven with Him! I know all of us are short in varying amounts, and we do need the grace of God if we were to make it, but the Word is clear that we have to persevere in the right direction, towards holiness and towards righteousness. Many believers and preachers even keep insisting it is all about the love of God; but I tell you, even the love of God is subjugated to His righteousness and holiness, for God love for Man is love unto righteousness. Why does Jesus need to come as Man and die a gruesome death? It is because the love of God needs to satisfy the demand of holiness of God. The sin of the first Man, and therefore the whole of mankind cannot be just loved away by God without the righteousness demanded by the holiness of God being satisfied.

One of the redemptive works of the Cross is: if an “X” was placed on Man by the demand of holiness of God, for the Sin of the first Man, then the justification of the Cross, through the death the Sinless One, Jesus Christ, erased that “X”. Now we are under no more condemnation from the Sin of our Forefather, Adam; but God is still God, the same God who has set Himself apart from all that is not holy (evil or wicked); the same God who is absolute goodness, he changes NOT. God is still with His holiness, and the demand of holiness is still there. Now that you and I are free from the Sin from Adam, and are with the aid of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, we now, have no more excuse, and we can blame our Forefather, no more. We are now to work with the Holy Spirit, and using the Word, to be holy and righteous, so that we may truly return to (to redeem is to bring us back to a previously existed scenario) the original paradise scene shown us in Genesis, God and men having fellowship in the Garden.

Jesus said in John 15, in the Parable of Vine and the branch, that God HAS LOVED each of us (He has, He sent His Son to die for us), NOW to remain in His love, OBEY HIS COMMANDS. When we understand that God’s commands are for teaching us about His holiness, and therefore, His righteousness and justice, so that we may grow in holiness and so, be able to see, and eventually to live with God, it is NOT burdensome. In fact, Pro 19:7 said this concerning the laws of God:

The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

The rest of the verses (Pro 19:8-14) of that Psalm explained how good the law of God is; no the law of God is NOT burdensome (1 John 5:3). Who says the Apostle Paul said law is NOT good; no, apart from 1 Tim 1:8, given above, he also said this, in Romans 7:12:

“So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.” (Romans 7:12)

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high-expressions said...

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You and I have to get it through our thick skull that to learn and internalize God’s holiness is the most important thing for us to do. Where can we find the information about the holiness of God? In his Words, and in His commands. Don’t look at the commands of God as “sticks” but as that used by God to teach us about the demands of His holiness (and so, His holiness). Holiness is for life, and so are the Word and His commands, for life. Jesus said, “Man shall NOT feed on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from mouth of God.” (Matt 4:4). In other words, the Word of God is food. In other words, the Word of God is for life. Obey it, use it to gain holiness. Today, if you know NOT what the holiness of God is, I say unto you, the Word reveals the demands of holiness; pay attention to them, receive them in, internalize them, and they shall help you to be holy as God is holy. Don’t chuck the laws, love the laws as the means for you to learn God’s holiness.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions
PS: My apology, Ps Prentis, this one is really too long!