Sunday, 6 March 2016

Why Holiness Matters ~ Ganeida

                                                                         Benedict Olorunnisomo:The                                                                                                          Last Supper

Everyone say hagiasmos with me. Now say holiness.
Hebrews 12:14 tells us for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Holiness is important. Without it not only will we not see God ~ we cannot!

I have told you again & again holiness is not some imprecise, woolly word that doesn’t mean 
anything much.  In fact it has a very precise meaning.  It means to separate or consecrate for a particular use.  For us it means we separate ourselves unto God for his special use & purpose for us.

For us Jesus is not only Saviour, He is also Lord. When He is Lord He is the Master & we obey Him.  If He is only saviour we treat obedience as an optional extra if we feel like it.

We are not talking about salvation here Romans 4: 5 is very clear:  But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.

There are two parts to holiness.  Firstly there is our position in Christ.
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. Eph 1:4
This is part of the free gift of salvation, the righteousness of Christ imparted to us. There is absolutely nothing we can do to earn this gift.  It is freely given because He loved us from before the foundation of the world.

However there is a 2nd aspect of holiness.
1 Peter 1:14~17 says  So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then.  But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.  For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

We must not confuse the righteousness of Christ with self~righteousness.  When we are self~righteous we rely on our works rather than on the finished work of Christ & our works will not save us.  However according to scripture our works will be judged.

There is an aspect of holiness that involves our works, what we do.  Last week, we spoke about authority & submission. We talked about lining up under the Holy Spirit’s authority with Christ as our Dux Bellorum, or War Leader. Like good soldiers we do what we are commanded without question. Our obedience demonstrates our love.

Some people think they have to work very, very hard at being *good.*  Nothing could be further from the truth!  Jesus said Abide in me.  When we abide in Christ, & He in us,  obedience flows naturally & spontaneously out of a heart overflowing with love.

If our salvation is not dependent on our obedience then why pursue holiness?

Hebrews 12:14 says pursue holiness [diōkō] ~ meaning to enforce, to put in rapid motion because without holiness no~one shall see God. The clue is in the Greek word see: horaō. Now horaō can simply mean to see as in to see this table, this chair, this person.  It can also mean to perceive spiritual truths.

This is a communion Sunday.  It is especially at this time we are to remember Jesus for Luke 20:19~20 says And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.

We are meant to see Jesus in communionThere are spiritual truths we are meant to perceive in communion.  Anyone can look & see that there is matzo, juice, water.  If that is all we see we have missed the point. 

Jesus said This is my body, broken for you. Do you see the cross?  Do you see the Lord hanging there for you & for me? Do you see the stripes for our healing? The crown of thorns for the redemption of the land from the effects of sin? Do you see his blood for the new covenant?

From the moment God revealed Himself as *I Am*, Everlasting to Everlasting, He has been revealing more & more of Himself to mankind: Healer, redeemer, saviour, provider, Our Banner, Our shield, Our Protector until He finally revealed Himself in Jesus Christ.

Paul goes on to say in 2 Corinthians 3:18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

The pursuit of holiness changes us into the likeness of Christ. The more Christlike we become the more clearly we see Him for who He is.  The more clearly we see Him the more we strive after holiness. The holier we become the more clearly we see.

We do not love holiness as we ought.  Our flesh still craves the things of the flesh.  What is born of the flesh will perish.  Only that which is birthed of the Spirit brings life. We do not walk as we should because we do not see clearly.

Obedience is not an optional extra, not if we love the Lord.  We obey because He first loved us & gave His life for us.  Here is bread, here is wine. These are the first things but no~one can out give the Lord. As we continue to walk in obedience, as we pursue holiness the Lord will manifest Himself to us & in us. 

This promise is not to all believers.  It is only to those who walk in obedience.  We are saved already.  Nothing can be added to or taken away from that. What we shall be no man can imagine.

So as we come to communion I encourage you to look for Jesus, to ask for a greater revelation of His love, a deeper awareness of His presence.

Acknowledgements: John Bevere.


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