Holiness

Dear Fellow-Disciple:

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:22)

We make a big thing of eternal life with God, and we should, for the alternative is eternal separation from God, which is death. But Scripture says also that our slavery to God leads us to holiness. Why does God bring us to a state of holiness?

Slavery to God does not involve chains and bondage. Christian slavery is a type of bond-slavery, in which the bond-slave submits himself to his master of his own free will.

Love is the motive behind slavery to God. We are touched by His love for us, we are overwhelmed that the Creator of all things loves us, and we love Him in return (1 John 4:19). This is our introduction, our initial encounter with unconditional love.

As we express our love to Him, He draws us closer. The closer we come, the more He imparts His holiness to us. We begin to flow by direction of His Spirit. The stronger our relationship, the greater our obedience. In this way, we fulfill His purpose.

It becomes clear that he freed us from sin and bondage to the world, and set us apart to fulfill what He prepared beforehand (Ephesians 2:10).

He has an intention for our lives. By submitting to His slavery we are in position to fulfill that intention.

Unbelief is our first reaction to the revelation that God wants to use us. It is not that we don't believe there is a Godly purpose for our lives, we just don't believe we can possibly fulfill it. We are most aware of our weakness, and it is beyond our comprehension that we can accomplish anything worthwhile for God.

This natural reaction comes because we are ignorant of the fact that God always asks us to do what is naturally impossible. Unless He asks us to do the impossible, we would not have to depend upon His supernatural power.

He never tells us what His ultimate purpose is for our lives. If we had the answer to that question, we would rush out and immediately get to work on it. He realizes if He told us His goal for us we would no longer keep our eyes upon Him, we would be consumed by our efforts to accomplish the goal.

This is frustrating (if you doubt that, just listen to your fellow-Christians constantly ask God to tell them His will for their lives), so we busy ourselves with worthwhile projects, hoping to get a pat on the head from our Lord.

Sooner or later, it dawns on us that God is not project-oriented. He isn't interested in our spurts of "good work" activity. As we mature, we see that the knowledge of "good" acquired in the garden at the fall of Adam and Eve, keeps us separated from God more than our knowledge of evil. Scripture is clear, our "good works" are as filthy rags in His eyes (Isaiah 64:6).

God's purpose takes shape in direct proportion to the consistency of our commitment. As we focus upon Him, waiting for His direction at each step, He unfolds His revelation moment by moment. We can look back and see how He has directed our steps to bring us to where we are, but we can look forward only as far as He can trust us.

Victory over life depends upon His intervention, and He never forces that upon us. If we slip into self-will, depending upon our own schemes to conquer life, we find ourselves crying to God to deliver us from our self-imposed oppression. But as we submit to His kingship, He makes us overcomers.

It is a constant battle to stay in proximity to God to receive His holiness. Even the Apostle Paul wrestled with the problem (Romans 7:14-25). Fortunately, he passed the solution along to us: Jesus Christ. The battle rages because servanthood doesn't come easy to our flesh, and because there is no rationale to Christianity.

We cringe at the illogic of God. The Pharisees had God figured out, then along came Jesus. His behavior was a radical departure from everything that made the Pharisees comfortable. Though some of them thought He might possibly be the Messiah, they crucified Him. They simply could not stand His simplicity and His contrary approach to the Law. The foolishness of God is always beyond the comprehension of men.

When we walk in holiness, on our way to fulfilling God's purpose for our lives, our focus changes from our own physical, emotional and spiritual problems. This is because God frees us from ourselves. Our perspective increases as we burst free from our limited selves and begin to see life from God's perspective. The sorry state of the world seems to be overwhelming, but we realize that somehow, in some way known only to God, we have a part in God's restoration process.

Scripture begins to sink in: For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created by him and for Him. (Colossians 1:16)

It dawns on us that the Spirit of Christ we received at salvation exists within us to fulfill God's purpose. We can't accomplish this on our own, but Christ in us has no problem, because He does only what He sees the Father do.

He has set the standard for obedience; therefore, when we give Him dominion, He accomplishes the will of the Father. This makes us His disciples, and the Father is glorified, because we bear much fruit (John 15:8).

As this takes place, there may be no conscious effort on our part of what is happening. It is simply the inevitable result of our abiding relationship with Jesus. This makes us useful vessels.

God lets us see His divine principle that all things function through Christ (Romans 11:36). This is true in the creation, in the perpetuation, and in the ultimate solution. Anything not done through Christ is temporal, it passes away. Christ is the reason for our holiness. He overcomes everything natural within us, so the will of God is fulfilled in our lives.

Jesus is King!

P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?

Question for today: Do I filter everything through Jesus, or do I filter Jesus through everything?